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Research Unit Y.1 – Radio Zrinski: 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 Y.1 – Radio Zrinski, broadcasting to Croatia.


To destroy the authority and influence of the Quisling Government in Croatia, and more particularly in Zagreb, and to awaken the Croats to every real or imputed manifestation of Axis exploitation of their country whether military, economic or political.

The audience aimed at is that which is in a position to receive short wave radio propaganda, namely for all practical purposes, the town bourgeoisie, regardless of its political affiliations.

The RU therefore adopts a broad basis of Croat, as distinct from Yugoslav nationalism, whereby it seeks to outbid the narrow Croat nationalism of the Quisling Government. It addresses itself to the “patriotic” Croat and does not scruple to appeal to the better nature of Government supporters, while maintaining an uncompromising attitude to the handful of “Ustasa” leaders. The conducting of nerve warfare on the Italian and German occupying troops through their Croat contacts was, and in the case of the Germans, remains, a major object.


The RU transmits for a quarter of an hour every evening and has done so since May 31st, 1941 with few breaks. These transmissions take the form of connected talks on a chosen aspect of the general or internal situation, which is considered to provide a suitable basis for propaganda to Croats with the above objectives in mind. The RU uses stories, rumours, satirical jokes, appeals, threats to the ‘ungodly’, and reasoned argument to get its message across to its Zagreb listener.

A feature of the RUs output has been its political programme for the future of Croatia: this was devised and publicised in an effort to fill the gap in white propaganda to Croats left by the political failure of the émigré Yugoslav Government. It was agreed with responsible Croat politicians in this country and issued virtually on the authority of the ‘leadership’ of the Croat Peasant Party, though as a national as distinct from a Party programme. Transmissions are recorded daily or a day in advance. Two writer/voices are employed.


The Y.1 RU has been reported as clearly audible from New York, Marseilles, Fiume, Zagreb, Belgrade, Bucharest, Kuibishov and Cairo. Its early scandal and ridicule campaign against the Ustaso has been confirmed as successful not only in Croatia but even in Belgrade. Numerous early reactions pointed to the fact that even in Croat Government circles, the RU was accepted as a local transmitter. From 3 separate sources, search for it in the Zagreb Cemetery by the Ustaso was reported. More recently, however, Government propagandists in Zagreb have spoken and written of the RU as connected with the Yugoslav Government in London – a misapprehension which may considerably have enhanced the local prestige of that body. Nevertheless, the element of doubt seems to persist since the German writer of a propaganda pamphlet on Allied propaganda in Yugoslavia in the spring of 1943, wrote “On the basis of technical investigations and on the evidence of witnesses it has been as good as definitely established (so gut wie einwandfrei festgestellt) that these secret stations (Y.1 and Y.2)… are, in fact, only other names for English… stations. In this and similar ways enemy propaganda has worked to create… that confusion which has driven a considerable number of the anti-social elements of the remains of the Balkan nomads into the woods…”


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



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