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Evidence of Reception Reports

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In an attempt to ascertain the effects of its clandestine psychological warfare, the Political Warfare Executive routinely monitored neutral and enemy media looking for comment and reaction to its radio broadcasts, underground rumour-mongering and leaflets. The comments of enemy prisoners of war, captured documents and other intelligence sources were also studied. Any comebacks to PWE propaganda campaigns were circulated to interested parties through the following "Evidence of Reception" reports.

PWE Intelligence Series

Ref: L 682

18th October, 1943


Part II



Gustav Siegfried Eins

There has been less evidence than usual this month. A prisoner of war who used to listen to a number of stations at Merseburg mentioned one which he called "5 Minuten Um". Though he apparently did not remember the Chef, there is no doubt he was referring to GS. "Radio Craft" (July 1943) reports as a "new catch" the hearing of GS in Ohio. It also mentions Atlantik and says that both stations are "actually in Germany".



One of the most significant reactions yet received comes from Switzerland. The Zurich paper Weltwoche (27th August) in an article headed "Press Freedom and News Policy" advocates the lifting of censorship restrictions on Swiss newspapers in order to counteract the danger of foreign broadcasts gaining an excessive following. The only foreign station named in the article is Atlantik, and this is what the writer says:-

"I believe I am not exaggerating if I say that the Atlantik station today already plays a role as a source of information in this country scarcely inferior to that of our own press and radio. If you ask the people who listen to Atlantik why they do so, the answer is always 'because you hear news there which our own broadcasts and our own newspapers are not allowed to give'.

"Now the news of the Atlantik station, like that of other foreign stations, may not be excessively dangerous at the moment, because these stations are not attempting to carry on political propaganda directed against us or our national ideals. But imagine - and certainly this contingency may sometime develop - that a foreign station of this kind which has won the sympathies of the Swiss people, takes it into its head to exploit its position in order to do political propaganda. What would be the consequences of that?"

There has been the usual spate of Atlantik stories in the Swedish press, and in reports from Berne. They are too numerous to mention.

An OSS report at the end of August relates in some detail the discovery of a political plot in Germany, involving high officials of the Post Office. This was an Atlantik story.

The newspaper La Vigie Marocaine of 10th September under the heading "La Resistance a l'Oppresseur" gives a list of acts of sabotage and aggression which had taken place in the previous 48 hours, giving as its source the "German Radio Station Atlantik".


Part IV

Black Leaflets

"Appeal by Terboven to Germans in Norway to rally to the Führer in this time of danger". This leaflet (H.531) created quite a stir. On 16th September Nya Dagligt Allehanda, reported from Oslo: "Illegal placards in the form of a false appeal in Terboven's name to German military and civilian personnel in Norway were plastered on walls and lamp-posts in Oslo on the night of 15th September. The appeal was written in good German under the headline: 'The Führer is in danger'.

"It stated that reactionary German circles are planning a coup against Hitler and the beginning of peace negotiations. Certain circles have spread false rumours that Hitler, owing to bad health, is no longer equal to the occasion but a recent visit to German headquarters has personally convinced Terboven that the Chancellor of the Reich is confident of victory and in good health.

"The proclamation concluded by appealing to the German authorities to report any cases of rumours about Hitler. The falsification is technically clever, but the form and contents are such that it could not be accepted as genuine."

Three days later the German transmission for the Forces in Norway reported that this leaflet had been posted up at some street corners in Oslo. After giving some extracts from it, it exposed it as an obvious fraud and commented on the fact that Aftontidningen "the mouth-piece of the British" had published a description of it under the heading "A Norwegian Joke".

Finally on 26th September Reuters reported that according to the Norwegian Telegraph Agency, the police had made a raid on 17th September to search for the printing press which issued fake proclamations under the name of Terboven. No printing press was found but 30 people were arrested.



SOE reports that their contacts in the field, who are trying to stimulate activity among the Catholic peasants in Austria, have expressed great admiration for H.467 (Prayer for mothers) which they regard as a stroke of genius, and for H.488 (Catholic obituary notice for a soldier killed on the Eastern front) which they think is exceptionally good for the purpose. They also approve heartily of H.473 (a longer mother's prayers) and H.409 (a prayer to be said during air raids) which they are hoping to reproduce in various forms inside.

Also singled out for special praise was H.365, the Mariazell prayer card.



SOE also report that they have received a short message indicating that a consignment of material has reached a group of collaborators inside Greece. They say that they "used the material as directed and German troops have been seen reading it". The consignment in question consisted of a number of leaflets, all having the appearance of being official German documents.


[Source: TNA HS 6/696, transcribed by]

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