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Research Unit Y.4 – Za Staro Pravdo: 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.4 – Za Staro Pravdo, broadcasting to Solvenia.


Events in Italy have radically altered the main original objective of the Y.4 RU, namely to undermine Italian morale by means of stories and rumours via the Slovenes of N E Italy in their daily contact with the Italian population. With the surrender of Italy, the RU has switched round in an endeavour to obtain maximum Slovene/Italian collaboration against the Germans and to instigate Italian resistance by reporting via the Slovene listener news of Italian resistance in other parts of Italy and stories of German persecution of Italians in the occupied cities.

The secondary objective was and is to unite Slovenes in their resistance to the enemy occupier and encourage them in their struggle.


The RU’s attack on the Fascist regime in Italy and its present appeal for collaboration with Italians in the fight against Germany are made under cover of an extreme Slovene Nationalist appeal. The Slovene listener is encouraged to listen to propaganda aimed in fact at his Italian acquaintances by being provided with exactly that open expression of Slovene national aspirations which he most wants to hear. The very violence of the RU’s Nationalist Appeal has made it possible to switch over to the new objective to Italian/Slovene cooperation against Germany. It is hard to imagine that any other agency of propaganda in the Slovene language, with the exception of the Soviet ‘Free Jugoslavija’, could get a hearing among Slovenes for this line of propaganda.

The RU transmits for 10 to 15 minutes every evening with an early additional period on Saturdays and Sundays. Two writer/voices are used but one of those is very much of a second string. A good deal of repetition is resorted to but the use of records is always concealed by re-speaking the material. Great attention has been paid to maintaining a genuine clandestine character and transmissions are from time to time broken or missed. The RU began work on 21 January 1943 and for several months played in with a fictitious calling and testing sequence.


No direct reaction from Slovenia has been noted but indirect reactions include what may have been an important success. During the fighting in Tunisia the Y.4 RU ran a prolonged campaign to compromise the Slovenes in the Italian army in the eyes of the Italian authorities to such an extent that they would withdraw all remaining Slovenes from line regiments (estimated at 20,000 men) into special Labour Battalions in Italy, where they already had concentrated about 20,000 Slovenes. Information was received in June that the Italian Military Authorities had begun to call up new Slovene recruits not for the Army but exclusively for Special Labour Battalions. It is therefore most likely that they were also drawing the older men out of the Army, as it had been hoped they would. These men have of course now made their way home and are certainly swelling the ranks of the Slovene partisans in the present heavy fighting round Gorica and Susak.


Y.1 – Croatia – “Zrinjski”

Y.2 – Serbia – “Sumadija”

The RU’s in relation to the Serb/Croat question and the future of Yugoslavia

The Y RUs may be accepted as exercising no small influence in combating separatist tendencies both in Serbia and Croatia, which present such a serious problem for the future settlement of South East Europe.

Unlike ‘white’ propaganda which for obvious political reasons must adopt an orthodox ‘Yugoslav’ line of approach, the RU’s are free to approach their respective audiences in their own dialect of Serbo-Croat and from the narrow nationalist angle. In this way the RUs have sought to gain the confidence of Serbs and Croats and lead them in a Yugoslav sense, at first subconsciously, but recently more openly, as estimated improvements in the local attitude to this question permit.

Apart altogether from the technique of their approach to the audience, the RUs have sought to full a serious gap in ‘white’ propaganda to Yugoslavia, caused by the complete failure of the émigré Yugoslav Government to provide any serious constructive ideas for the untied future of the country. The Y.1 RU in particular has thrown its Croat political programme in to this breach and has had the satisfaction of observing that the programme has been widely accepted in Croatia, and certainly in Quisling circles, as a serious attempt to plan the future of Croatia on the part of the exiled leaders of the Croat Peasant Party. The Y.2 RU, though less spectacularly, has worked in the same sense and both can claim to have exerted their influence towards the lessoning of internal strife, which may yet make it possible to coordinate the various forces of resistance in the country.


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



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