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Research Unit X.2 – The Voice of New Europe: Object, Method and Effect

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This Political Warfare Executive report is an appraisal of the object, method and effect of the clandestine radio station known as X.2 – The Voice of New Europe, broadcasting to Bulgaria.


To undermine by indirect means the faith in Germany held by the numerically small but very powerful body of genuine Bulgarian ‘collaborators’ and to expose in general Germany’s unsympathetic attitude towards Bulgaria for the benefit of a wider audience.


The RU transmits every evening a 15 minute bulletin, consisting of news items and a short comment on some aspect of the day’s news or of the day to day situation in Bulgaria. It presents this in the form of a German black station to Bulgaria, playing in with the opening bars of the German and Bulgarian National Anthems. The bulletins open regularly with extracts from the German High Command communiqué, which is followed by six to eight news items, some false, some falsified, some straight for cover and chosen for their effect on the Bulgarian, as distinct from the German listener. Apart from straight creation of news, the RU uses the techniques of over-emphasis, falsification, denials, tactlessness or juxtaposition of genuine but contradictory German items, to obtain its effect. In its presentation of war news, it maintains an undertone of desperation and depression, which protrudes through all bombast and exaggerated strategic claims. It is particularly outspoken in its treatment of news of air raids on Germany.

During the recent critical period in Bulgarian affairs, the RU added a special lunch time bulleting to its output but it has not been found possible to maintain this as a regular service with the staff of three at present available, namely, a Bulgarian speaking German talks reader, who prepares news items and commentaries for translation into Bulgarian, a Bulgarian announcer who is gradually becoming a news and comment writer/translator and a good Bulgarian/English writer/translator on whom the bulk of the work at present devolves. This team has been operating the X.2 RU since July 2nd, 1943, initial publicity being obtained from the X.1 RU. Bulletins are recorded daily as near to the transmission time as possible.


Reception has been reported from Jerusalem, where it was bad, and Cairo, where it seems to be have been somewhat better although suffering from interference by Morse. American monitors in Istanbul have made several accurate reports of the RU’s news items to New York, which may indicate good reception there.

No direct reactions have been received as yet from Bulgaria but the RU has provoked unsolicited attacks on it from the staff of the Bulgarian RU in the Middle East and has been reported as a German station by the Americans in Istanbul. These also reported the X.2 RU as providing German contradiction to Radio Sofia’s first mention of Boris’ illness, with an item purporting to report his return to Sofia from Berchtesgaden at the same time. The Middle East RU on August 31st complained that “the tone of German broadcasts to Bulgaria is becoming more and more cynical. A new station called ‘New Europe’ is constantly meddling in our internal affairs and with typical Teuton arrogance offers us threats and warnings.” A private letter of one of the Bulgarian staff dated August 25th mentions that the “provocative tone of the New Europe station is unique. It is so frank and so cynical that one often wonders whether the station is indeed a German one. Its tone on the bombing of Germany is panic-stricken and it openly talks of the great number of Bulgarian workmen killed in Hamburg.”


[Source: TNA FO 898/51, transcribed by]



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