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Report on OSS Morale Operations in the European Theatre of Operations

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As the Office of Strategic Service Morale Operations branch in the European theatre of operations was liquidated in the summer of 1945 following Germany's defeat, the Chief of the branch wrote this final report outlining the branch's propaganda activities run from London since late 1943. OSS-MO in the ETO worked closely with the British Political Warfare Executive in the development of "black" propaganda. It contributed all the entertainment programming on the Soldatensender West clandestine medium-wave radio station, supplied editorial staff for the production of the "grey" daily airdropped newspaper Nachrichten für die Truppe, and invented a large number underground rumours. The Morale Operations branch later also operated its own black radio stations and produced its own subversive propaganda literature for infiltration into Occupied Europe. In the foregoing report some of the later sections regarding personnel and the annexes have not been included here. The illustrations have been added by www.psywar.org.

 

SECRET

OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES
MISSION TO GREAT BRITAIN
United States Forces European Theater

APO 413

29 August 1945

SUBJECT:a. MO Branch, Liquidation of
 b. Chief, MO Branch, Request for the Relief of
TO:Chief, OSS Mission to Great Britain

 

1. The writer was named Chief of the MO Branch by order of Colonel  Forgan on 14 May 1945, having served as its Executive Officer since 15 December 1943. He was specifically charged with the implementation of the agreed plans for the liquidation of the Branch, the return of its supplies and equipment, the satisfactory disposition of its personnel and the winding up of such personnel administrative items as awards and decorations and battle participation credit.

2. Without trespassing on the work already done in the Branch's War Diary, it seems fitting at this time to review with great brevity the operations in which the Branch has taken part and to couple the review of each such operation with whatever appraisal of its success can now be measured from the vantage point that hindsight gives. There will also be found attached, and they will be referred to from time to time, annexes setting forth the disposition of personnel which will serve as a final record at any future date and as an answer to questions which may arise.

3. Without touching then on the trials and tribulations which were as usual part and parcel of every attempt to secure a directive or to get an operation underway, the following sub-headings with a word on each will sum up the activities of the Branch in this Theater from an operational standpoint:

OPERATION "PANCAKE"

In the early spring of 1944 an agreement was reached with the Political Intelligence Division (sic) of the British Foreign Office whereby MO Branch would become responsible for a share in the entertainment features of the transmitter "Soldatensender Calais", later renamed "Soldatensender West" after the fall of the Calais area. Our participation in the entertainment features of this black radio began on a modest scale and steadily grew to the point where between recordings sent from the United States and sketches and continuity items produced at Area "R", MO Branch was accounting for practically all the entertainment features on Soldatensender West.

This first agreement for collaboration with our British corollary organization immediately created the need for a country area in close proximity to their own and Area "R" was set up in the country around Woburn Abbey, Newton Longville, Aspley Guise and Bletchley in the late spring of 1944. It was in one of the buildings at this area that the entertainers, ballad singers, song writers, etc., all of whom were recruited from sources within the United Kingdom, were housed.

A subversive program of the nature of Soldatensender Calais or Soldatensender West is one of the few types of clandestine psychological warfare whose results can be easily appraised, for it was beamed at Germany and German occupied countries in the west on the most powerful clandestine transmitter in the world and it was only necessary to study some hundreds of thousands of prisoner interrogations to check the effect of the steady poison in the minds of the "customers". The effort was a tremendous success and the credit should largely go to British effort and British planning. Nevertheless, a program of this type leans heavily for its audience building properties on its entertainment features and these had never been more successful than were the achievements of this Branch in this Theater, and recognition for our share in this joint operation may be found in a letter from Major General Bishop to Captain Armour which was received after the close of the operation on 1 May 1945.

OPERATION "BEDFORD"

In the early spring of 1944, MO Branch and the Black Section of PID undertook the publication of a daily "gray" newspaper to be dropped by the Eighth Airforce Leaflet Squadron and the RAF on both special and regular bomber missions over the western front. Known as "Nachrichten für die Truppe", this paper stands practically alone not only in the field of psychological warfare but for size of circulation without identifying its origin. The purpose of the paper was principally to rewrite in newspaper form the programs of Soldatensender West. It was published daily for more than a year and dropped daily, weather permitting. By spring of 1945 "circulation" was over two million and there were two editions, one being dropped by the RAF at night and the other by the American 8th in the daytime.

Nachrichten fur die Truppe

This paper was not a "black" undertaking in that its origin was no secret to its recipients. On the other hand, it was not "white" in that it was not official United Nations propaganda and nowhere on any of its issues is there anything to indicate that it was not published in Germany. Consequently, since the need for such an undertaking seemed most urgent, and since an organization holding a directive such as that of the Office of War Information could under no circumstances officially take part in the publication of anything that might amount to deliberate falsehood, the work of organizing the project fell to MO Branch and to the Black Section of the British Political Intelligence Division.

Again prisoner interrogations are the measure of the success of this project and the categorical statement can be made that the hopelessness of the German situation was borne in upon thousands of German troops by their daily receipt of this paper. In more than one case a German western front general officer had no knowledge of conditions on the eastern front from the OKW and knew only of the Russian successes and the great pincers around Germany from the daily situation map appearing in "Nachrichten" and which was showered around his headquarters before breakfast.

To this joint venture MO Branch contributed the associate editor (later to become editor in chief), headline writers, rewrite men and the men in charge of layout. These people all were housed at the Branch's area "R" and their contribution has been cited by Major General W H Bishop of the Foreign Officer in a letter written to Captain Armour after the last issue left the presses on 30 April 1945.

OPERATION "VOLKSENDER DREI"

Two members of the MO Branch were with the OSS contingent that entered Paris on the day of its liberation. Through working with PWD SHAEF men and with French information officials, they secured agreement of the French to the use of the first powerful medium wave transmitter to come back into use after the German retreat. The transmitter referred to, whose masts and some of whose equipment was destroyed by the Germans, was located at Villebon, 20 kilometers southwest of Paris and was otherwise in excellent condition. The French used the transmitter in the daytime and MO Branch changed the frequency each evening and used it for the black radio "Volksender Drei" each night. The program purported to come from within  Germany and was on the air commencing 21 September 1944 carried on a signal which would cover the entire western front and through Germany as far as Berlin. It told the story of a German general officer who had been ordered by the SS to shoot retreating soldiers and rioting townspeople and who, in revolting against this order, had taken over a German town, placed it on a democratic footing and was waiting for the advance of Allied troops to turn the town over in an orderly manner and without further loss of lives.

It will be seen that this operation was on the air within one month of the liberation of Paris. During that time, the staff had been increased from the original two to include writers, translators, monitors, technicians, directors, radio voices and administrative personnel.

The result of this operation within Germany has never been satisfactorily measured and without  considerable breaches of security, like most subversive morale operations, it will be impossible to do so. As a guide, however, to what feeling might have been in Germany, it is interesting to point to the French press, which unlike the British press could not be placed under D-notice, and which headlined the first broadcast the following morning throughout Paris. No French paper made the assertion that the broadcast was of Allied origin and each pointed to breakdown in Germany with this first indication of open revolt of the army against the Party. To greater or lesser degree, verbatim quotes from "General Hoffman's" first broadcast appeared in the 22 September issues of "France Tireur", "Resistance", "Liberation", "Combat", "Front National", "Le Figaro", "France Libre", "L'Humanite", and in the 23 September issue of the Paris edition of the Stars and Stripes.

As the only further measure of the success of the program, but it is nevertheless a good one, we should point to the fact that on 16 October the Germans placed a powerful program on either side of our wavelength for jamming purposes.

The operation continued through the 25th of October under our agreement with the French that the full time of the station would be passed back to them on 1 November 1944.

OPERATION "JOKER"

While the principal radio activities in the fall of 1944 were taking place in Paris or with the Soldatensender operation at Area "R" in the United Kingdom, the balance of the Branch's creative staff in London decided to resurrect a revolutionary figure and present him, or his voice, to the German people in "flesh and blood". Considerable research was done in September and the early part of October and it was decided that General Ludwig Beck, who had disappeared after the 20 July putsch and was variously reported as shot, in a neutral country, or in hiding in Germany, would be a good man to address Germany on behalf of anti-Nazi elements of the old general staff. The plan was for a "one shot" broadcast on the powerful British transmitter with enough teasers through the evening to obtain the largest possible audience. In order to lend the maximum realism to the operation, prisoner cages in the UK were screened until a major was found who had once worked on General Beck's staff and who could remember and imitate his voice and intonation. To lend further credence to the broadcast, a tremendous amount of basic intelligence work was done so that the General in his broadcast to the German people and armed forces could refer in an offhand manner to meetings in prior years with Hitler, with German staff generals and to his place during the Roehm purge, etc.

The broadcast was made on 31 October 1944 and in preparation for it our Stockholm representative was asked to arrange a plant in the Swedish papers that Col. General Beck was still alive.

Results of this program in Germany cannot be measured. The British press was not placed under D-notice and it was referred to in the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard of 1 November. On 2 November our agent in Stockholm cabled that Swedish papers carried stories of the broadcast on their front pages, one with a verbatim translation of a large portion of the talk. However, the cautious Swedes voiced some skepticism as to the authenticity of the program and since it was not repeated, there is no further word on its success.

OPERATION "CAPRICORN"

Early in 1945 arrangements were made with PID for radio time of our own on shortwave transmitters near Area "R". The necessary creative staff was moved out to the area in a large building we secured for the purpose and "Hagedorn" commenced his daily addresses to the people of Germany in the latter part of February. These programs, geared to the highest SHAEF directive, were carried on for 61 consecutive days, the last broadcast being made on 27 April 1945. During that time, the staff worked at top speed with the story line being determined in the morning, intelligence secured from British sources in the country and over the scrambler telephone linking London and the area, writing and rewriting was done in the early afternoon and waxing of the voice of Hagedorn was done in the late afternoon.

Apparently this program never broke its cover. It was regarded as bona fide in Stockholm and on the Continent. A field report from Germany has indicated complete credence by highly intelligent German listeners. A close study of the scripts and the care of their preparation and the careful conception of the entire program written, directed and voiced by former German nationals will lead almost any understanding observer to the view that this operation was the most ambitious, completely clandestine radio operation undertaken by any belligerent so far in World War II.

LEAFLETS

The leaflet section of the Branch operated continuously through almost all of 1944 and there will be no attempt here to review the many successes which were achieved out of some hundreds of items which were sent to the field for infiltration. Many items were disseminated and never heard of again. Recently, however, 12th Army Group took over a German headquarters in which was found an excellent file of Allied "black" leaflets. So replete is this file with samples of the work of this Branch that it could easily serve as the Branch leaflet file.

Of special interest from leaflet point of view is an example which shows how genuine a carefully prepared forgery can be and how far afield its influence may spread. On page 63 of the December 1944 American "Reader's Digest" magazine there is a box which includes a quotation from an article by a New York "Herald Tribune" correspondent. This article which was used by Alan Michie as proof positive for his contention that the Germans intended to go underground, quotes verbatim an English translation from a "top secret" document found in an advance German headquarters. The passage included in the "Herald Tribune" article and reprinted in the "Reader's Digest" is from an eight page circular from the German OKW to division commanders, classified with the German equivalent of top secret. It was not, however, prepared by the OKW; it was prepared in the summer of 1944 in London by MO Branch.

H.1137, Sondernummer der Mitteilungen für das Offizierskorps

The text appears to be describing this 8-page "black" pamphlet purporting to be a top secret special supplement to the Mitteilungen für das Offizierskorps newssheet. The pamphlet was printed for OSS in August 1944 by the British Political Warfare Executive's secret printing unit ran by Ellic Howe.

Carefully prepared as to form, language and typography, the leaflet was infiltrated in substantial quantities into German units in the western front by agents recruited, trained, briefed and infiltrated by the MO Field Team, it was encountered again and again by advance elements of the 1st and 3rd Armies in evacuated German unit headquarters and barracks. Insofar as the Branch can determine, it was never questioned as to its authenticity by the G-2 of any division, army or army group and was at one time brought to General Patton's attention and was treated most seriously by his staff until they were advised of its origin through PWD SHAEF. Copies shown to PsW in the UK before it was released for infiltration were accepted as completely genuine.

The most highly subversive military leaflet prepared by the Branch, it informed officers to save themselves at all costs as they would always be the cadre of any hope of another German threat to world peace. It quoted General Ludendorff's pragmatic view on the problem of surrender and was so designed as to [wreck] absolute havoc in the mind of any German non-com who might read it.

MO FIELD TEAM

In the early summer of 1944 a directive was obtained from Brigadier General Robert A McClure to put into the field a team whose object would be the implementation of psychological warfare objectives through the use of agents.

In this connection, MO Branch was perhaps for the first time in a most excellent bargaining position vis-à-vis our British corollary organization who had a three year start on us in radio and leaflet activities, for by its directive, PID could not take part in field operations involving the use of agents, whereas MO as a branch of OSS held such a charter from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The further directive from General McClure, however, was necessary since the work was to be of a psychological warfare nature and the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF had been charged with the correlation of all psychological warfare activities in this Theater whether white or black.

The members of the team were attached for administration in the field to the P&PW Detachment, 12th Army Group and became the Third PW Detachment (Provisional) of 12th Army Group. Responsible to OSS because it was undertaking "black" operations, responsible to PWD SHAEF for the broad directives under which it operated, and responsible administratively in the field to the PW Officer with 12th AG, the team which was the first of its type in the United States history, performed a tremendous service in the attainment of psychological warfare objectives and for OSS.

In a letter to the Office of Strategic Services dated 20 May 1945, Colonel C R Powell, PW Officer, 12th Army Group, commended the entire MO Field Team and listed the 40 men who served with it from time to time, officer, enlisted men, civilians, American, British, Belgian and Canadian. Said Colonel Powell in part, "...this team distinguished itself by exceptional, meritorious service. Operating over vast areas its members, almost without exception, exercised extraordinary initiative, determination, and skill. Many agents were recruited and passed into enemy territory, much useful intelligence was forwarded and thousands of leaflets distributed... Cooperation with PW Branch... 12th Army Group was superior in every respect and many special missions were performed at its request. An outstanding contribution was made in the spread of rumors designed to confuse the enemy as to the direction of advance of American columns across France in August and September 1944... The entire operation was characterized by loyal devotion to duty, friendly cooperation and outstanding performance... This team rendered a substantial contribution to the success of military operations of 12th Army Group..."

RUMORS

This was the Branch's first activity in the Theater and was commenced in the latter part of 1943 by the first few people to arrive from the States. Rumor meetings were held each week and rumors were framed and discussed at the meetings on the basis of incoming intelligence from all available sources. A representative of the Rumor Committee then sat with the OSS-PID Rumor Committee and the rumors finally selected as the best each week were cleared with military authorities and the British Foreign Office and transmitted to agents in neutral countries and German occupied Europe.

This rumor activity continued throughout the war and of the total number of rumors put out by the OSS-PID Rumor Committee more than half were contributed by OSS through the medium of its MO Branch. There were several very startling comebacks from this activity and PoW interrogation indicated that while some had been complete duds, others had produced the desire effect. One such rumor, to the effect that the firing of V-weapons was being used as punishment for German troops because more than half of them perished from flarebacks and explosions, took hold very generally amongst German troops on the western front, so much so that it was brought to the attention of a Stars and Stripes columnist in Belgium who reported it in that paper as a fact. In another instance the Branch was asked by 12th Army Group to spread in neutral countries a fictitious account explaining that the breakthrough in the Ardennes was an Allied-Russian master plan to tie down German reserves on the western front so that they could not be transferred to meet the Russian winter offensive of 1944-1945 in time to be brought back to the west after stabilizing the situation in the east. More of this type of work would be the best possible service that MO rumor operations could perform for field armies and it is hoped that the setup in the Far East whereby MO Branch reports directly to the G-2 rather than through an organization such as PWD will bring this type of rumoring to full flower in that theater.1

SIOUX MISSION

Examples of clandestine black propaganda disseminated by the OSS Morale Operations outpost in Stockholm.

Examples of clandestine black propaganda disseminated by the OSS Morale Operations outpost in Stockholm.

Two individuals were sent to Stockholm under Embassy cover in the spring of 1944 and remained there until the spring of 1945. The two men, both Swedes by birth and one of whom had most excellent commercial and shipping contacts in that country, performed a most valuable function for the Branch:

a. In acting as an outpost and dissemination point for rumors and press plants,

b. In the infiltration of subversive material prepared in London into garrisons in Norway,

c. In preparing material on their own for infiltration into Norway, Denmark and Germany by SOE-SO,

d. In acting as a listening post for the Branch's "black" radio activities, and

e. In providing the Branch with items of intelligence concerning weaknesses in the Germans as gleaned from contacts which the unit was able to create.

These men did an excellent job and proved that MO representation in neutral countries need not be numerically great but is an absolute necessity for shrewd leaflet operations, "black" radio reactions, rumoring and morale operations intelligence.

TAURUS MISSION

This mission consisted of two individuals, one of whom was sent to Lisbon in early spring and the second in the late spring of 1944. Both individuals went under cover of Universal Pictures Company. After making initial contacts and doing one or two specific projects such as obtaining German paper samples, etc., both men had to return to the United States because of complications resulting from wounds they had suffered during the February 1944 air raids while waiting transportation in London. The mission was located in Portugal for too short a time and had passed out of existence before the Branch got under way with its radio and leaflet operations, consequently no appraisal can be made.

The above described operations are all the important ones undertaken by MO Branch under its own directives and there follows an account of the remaining operations of MO Branch personnel operating on detached service and grouped under the heading:

MO BRANCH PARTICIPATION IN PWD SHAEF

No particular effort will be made here to appraise the participation of this Branch in the work of PWD SHAEF or the Psychological Warfare detachments in the field since our contribution was one of personnel and equipment and the people that we turned over to PWD in no sense operated under our jurisdiction or control, nor did they implement the JCS directive to OSS MO Branch, for the work of PWD as such was limited to the field of white or acknowledged Allied psychological warfare.

However, no review of Branch operations, no matter how concise, would be complete without mention of our contribution in personnel and brains to psychological warfare planning, policy, directives and field operations in publications and in radio.

Annex 4 lists all the personnel of this Branch who were at any time detailed for duty to PWD SHAEF. It will be noted that 78 people were at one time or another serving with PWD and, therefore, while on our strength, if military, or on our payroll, if civilian, implementing a directive other than our own. At peak, 68 of these people served with PWD at one time with a total Branch peak in the Theater of some 200. For this reason alone, a few words about PWD and our contribution are in order.

Directly dictated by both the successes and failures of psychological warfare organization and operations in the North African Theater, the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF was set up in this Theater to have staff equality with G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 and G-5 and to coordinate all psychological warfare activities conducted in the Theater. This meant that PWD SHAEF had the power to direct, integrate and control the activities of a number of organizations as well as to undertake field or other operations on its own account. Agencies coming under its jurisdiction, therefore, included the MO Branch of OSS and the Office of War Information on the American side and on the British side, the Political Warfare Executive, with both "black" and "white" sections and certain operations of both the BBC and the Ministry of Information. Control of "white" propaganda was more or less rigidly exercised; control of "black" morale subversion was "sub-let" for security reasons to MO Branch of OSS and to the Black Section of PWE (known for cover purposes as Political Intelligence Division of the British Foreign Office) and these two organizations were from time to time given relatively broad directives by PWD SHAEF.

The planning for psychological warfare field operations had gone forward prior to the formation of SHAEF and the naming of General Eisenhower as Supreme Commander, the early planning having been done under FUSAG direction, a subject amply covered in the Branch War Diary. Suffice it to say that the Branch was directed by General Donovan to lend all possible support to PWD at all levels, both at base and in the field. In the beginning it was felt that OSS should take on this responsibility only insofar as the intelligence and the "black" sections of PWD might be concerned, but by spring of 1944 the Branch had turned over to PWD for its operational use personnel that became involved in every phase of psychological warfare planning, intelligence and operations. Again, with the knowledge and concurrence of General Donovan.

Therefore, MO Branch personnel took part in PWD operations in every phase and at almost every level. General McClure's deputy for intelligence and the coordination of "black" operations was a member of this Branch, so also was the operations officer for the P&PW Detachment, 12th Army Group, the chief of intelligence for that detachment, the chief of the Third Psychological Warfare Coordination Team, which crossed the Channel under the name of "Allied Information Service" and many others in positions of nearly equal responsibility. The only civilian employee of this Branch killed in action was serving with a combat public address system in a light tank of the 4th Armored Division. Prior to his death, he had been decorated by that Division with the Bronze Star for conspicuous gallantry and for developing a technique which is now S[tandard] O[perating] P[rocedure] for all mopping up operations of the 4th Armored Division.

In recognition of the service performed by MO Personnel with P&PW Detachment, 12th AG, Colonel C R Powell in a letter to the Office of Strategic Services through Brigadier General McClure has stated in part, "It was early recognized that because of the highly specialized talents required by propaganda work such as linguistic fluency, editorial judgment and political knowledge, any psychological warfare organization must combine civilian and military personnel. Provisions not having been made in time, neither the army nor the civilian agencies could provide sufficient men of appropriate capabilities without pooling their resources. This applied equally to specialized equipment required. Both personnel and equipment furnished by the Office of Strategic Services have proved invaluable in the field... Most of the personnel provided by OSS were extremely able and talented men who rapidly adjusted themselves to the hardships and hazards of combat operations... They furnished an example of energetic, enthusiastic and loyal service which was an inspiration to all with whom they served. Many have been highly commended for exceptional, meritorious service. Many of them served under conditions of great hardship and danger and most of them under difficult and trying circumstances. One, unfortunately, was killed in action..." In passing this letter on to us, General McClure in his endorsement has added these words, "I should like to add that I completely concur and appreciate and recognize the major contribution by your organization without which the Psychological Warfare Division could not have been successful."

The foregoing certainly indicates the over-all caliber of the personnel which this Branch loaned to PWD, but before closing this section, mention should be made also of our most outstanding contribution in equipment.

The OSS MO Mobile Printing Unit of two vans and power trailers landed in Normandy with its crew of OSS technicians shortly after D-day and served with the P&PW Detachment, 12th Army Group through the battle of Central Europe. No mobile printing unit in history ever took the beating that this one took. While equipment furnished by OWI was breaking down and being again and again repaired, the MO unit was printing steadily leaflets for airdrop, for infiltration and for artillery barrage. In all leaflet operations in the entire European Theater in World War II, the MO unit produced the greatest number of those printed on mobile presses.

LIQUIDATION

4. Since MO Branch had no directive other than a strictly wartime operational directive, and since the only plans for the immediate future after the close of hostilities were embodied in an agreement reached at a meeting in the south of France in the early spring of 1945 attended by both 109 and 110, whereby MO would attach a group of no more than five people to SI Germany to examine the need for postwar "black", Colonel Forgan and Captain Armour had ordered the complete liquidation of the Branch in this Theater to commence with the closing of the last operation. The Capricorn operation went off the air on 27 April and the Pancake and Bedford operations terminated on 1 May and the Branch's detailed plans for liquidation which had already received full approval of OPSAF were set in action. The following headings indicate liquidation activity since 1 April 1945:

PERSONNEL

Branch strength on 1 April, including civilians hired on a fee basis, totaled 127 persons. By discharge, transfer to OWI, transfer to the United States for reassignment, etc., this strength was brought down to 109 by 28 April, 77 by 13 May, 60 by 21 May, 45 by 31 May, 30 by 15 June, 12 by 1 August and 1 by 6 August. It should be noted that with the exception of one enlisted man and one female civilian, foreign, every person over whom MO Branch had direct jurisdiction had been disposed of by 15 June. In other words, while Branch strength on 15 June amounted to 30 persons, all but the two persons mentioned were on detached service with PWD or were attached to SI Branch. Since, before the budget cut made termination of civilians absolutely vital, General Donovan had informed General McClure that he might keep such of our personnel as were still needed by PWD throughout the summer, we were not in a position to terminate the people on detached service but, with the two exceptions mentioned above, the Branch was able to terminate, and did dispose of in one way or another, every person not on detached service within six weeks of the close of the last Branch operation.

Annex 1 shows in summary form what happened to the people who at one time or another were assigned to MO ETO. Annex 2 gives the background of the summaries in Annex 1 and shows the name of each individual together with the disposition of that individual all the way back to Branch inception in the late fall of 1943.

CLOSING OF AREA R

The last two operations involving operational personnel at Area R ceased on 1 May 1945 and the area Commanding Officer was ordered to give the operational personnel five days in which to leave and to close the area as quickly as possible thereafter.

Area R was officially closed on 13 May, just eight days after the operational personnel had vacated. In that short time, all area accounts were closed and the final statement on the area account rendered to the Special Funds Branch, all OSS non-expendable supplies had been turned back to the Supply Section, OSS communications equipment had been turned back to the Communications Branch, recordings borrowed from OWI had been returned to that organization and communications equipment borrowed from the Ministry of Information had been returned to that organization, also the two widely separated buildings at the area had had their inventories checked and had been turned back to the British Ministry of Buildings, the transportation had been turned in to the Motor Pool in London and the commanding officer and enlisted station complement had left the area for London billets.

DISPOSAL OF RECORDS2

All pouch files between the Branch and its headquarters in Washington have been destroyed since copies of such correspondence already exist in Washington. All other files of an operational or administrative nature have been assembled, crated and returned to Washington. This applies to the files of Area R, the offices in London and Paris and the field team. Some 7500 cables have been listed by number, date and point of origin or dissemination and have been turned over to the Communications Branch for destruction. 809 Forms and balance of Branch personnel files have been forwarded to the Personnel Section for disposition.

SUPPLIES

Supplies drawn either in London or Paris by the MO Field Team and its personnel have been tallied in to the Supply Section in Paris. Supplies drawn in London for other purposes, including office equipment, etc. have been turned in to Supply Section, London. A test run-off of supply accountability by the Supply Section in London conducted in the spring of 1945 indicated that the Branch supply records could account for the disposition of all non-expendable supplies ever drawn by this Branch in the Theater with a few minor exceptions totaling less than $100.00 in value.

...

LESSONS LEARNED

There are two ways in which the operations of this Branch in ETO can be valued. They are the same two ways in which the operations of any of the branches of OSS can be valued. Both are objective. The first is to consider the successes and failures as such and to weigh the successes in part against the expenditure of government funds and human energies which made them possible. Because the results of even what we believe to be the most successful of clandestine operations are extremely hard to evaluate, this method of appraisal would produce an answer largely controlled by the viewpoint of the appraiser and such viewpoints would run all the way from the feeling that we had failed in implementing our JCS directive in this Theater to the view that we had succeeded beyond the greatest expectations.

The second method and the one to which the writer as an individual wholly subscribes is to consider not only what we did but what we learned in the way of techniques which can now be used as the people of America see fit. Up to the year 1941, America had never conducted organized clandestine psychological warfare at peace or in time of war. This Branch of OSS never received a workable and firm directive for such operations until 1943, yet in two years we have learned lessons by which the American people, if they will, may benefit and at the cost of a negligible sum when compared with the expenditures which have been made by other governments over many years. We have been good students and the writer believes that the effort would have been worthwhile if we had never even put on an actual black radio program or infiltrated an actual leaflet through the enemy lines. The fact that we did do those things while learning both from our enemies and from our Allies and produced some very signal achievements merely enhances the value of the lessons and shows that we learned them well.

In the main then, we have learned the following important skills:

a. How to recruit properly qualified individuals for base and field clandestine psychological warfare operations.

b. How to achieve that fine balance between security and efficiency that is necessary for every type of clandestine operation and which can only be learned through practice.

c. In time of war, how to mold civilians and militarized personnel, both American and foreign, into efficient working groups.

d. How to administer the operations and personnel involved in clandestine psychological warfare.

e. How to recruit, train, brief and administer undercover personnel.

f. How to prepare and disseminate rumors, how to write, voice and transmit subversive radio programs and how to write, print and circulate by clandestine means subversive leaflets, pamphlets, forged documents and other printed matter.

CANCELLATION OF OPERATIONS IN GERMANY

At a meeting in the south of France in the spring of 1945 attended by representatives of this Branch and by 109 and 110, it was agreed that MO Branch would attach a limited number of people (approximately five initially) to R&A Branch or to SI Branch in Germany for the purpose of making a survey as to the need for further morale operations in Germany during the post-hostilities period. This study was made and a report of its findings submitted. However, the budget reduction for the 1946 fiscal year resulted in the cancellation of any budget for this Branch for the current year and accordingly the group who made the study and who recommended further action has been withdrawn.

11. The operations of this Branch having been terminated, its premises, supplies, files and records having been disposed of in accordance with existing directives at the time of such disposition, its personnel having been returned to the States, discharged or transferred in the Theater or reassigned to other branches, action having been taken on Awards and Decorations and on Battle Participation credit and its outstanding financial obligations as a Branch having been liquidated, it is respectfully recommended that the Adjutant be directed to issue orders effective 1 September 1945:

a. Dissolving the Morale Operations Branch of this Mission, and

b. Relieving the writer of his duties as Chief, MO Branch this Mission.

 

[Signed] DAVID H WINTON,
Chief, MO Branch.


1 Dictated prior to 15 August 1945.

2 Most records and all cables disposed of prior to Memo #10, dd 13 August 1945.

 

[Source: NARA, RG 226, WN#13404, transcribed by www.psywar.org]



 

 

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