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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 818
13th November, 1943
On the occasion of the 20th birthday of the German Radio, Hans Fritzsche published a survey of its work in the October issues of the periodical Reichsrundfunk. After contrasting the ideals of 20 years ago, and conditions today, he goes on: "Official enemy radio stations not only broadcast in foreign languages - that is understandable in war time - but for hours and minutes every day they hoist down their own flags and as pirates of the ether in flimsy guise try to take in fools".
The Vienna edition of the Völkischer Beobachter (21st October) quotes from a speech made by a Party official in which he refers to the "tempting promises" put out by "illegal stations, however, 'Reich German' they appear to be".
Das Reich (17th October) in an article on the call-up devotes two lengthy paragraphs to explaining how and why Party members are reserved, and why there are apparently so many of them in the home land, emphasising that practically every Party member serves at least part of his time at the front. This apologia looks like a reaction to the campaign for over a year by GS1, black leaflets, and more recently by Atlantik.
Gustav Siegfried Eins
The Chief's accusation that 47,283 persons in Germany were getting diplomatic rations which was indignantly denounced in July by Fritzsche (see July report) has now had a magnificent reaction from Dr Ley (Angriff 12th October). "We National Socialists do not know of any 'diplomat's household' such as is natural in England and the US. Everybody, whether he is Reich Minister or Reichsleiter must live on his coupons like the simple worker... But even the normal provides enough for everybody because I try it daily: I also am a normal consumer".
A German officer who left Germany in May said GS1 was much the best of all the clandestine stations; obviously it had real contacts and real inside information. It was operating in Poland. It was close to the Kattowice wavelength and very well heard.
There have been reactions from U-boat crews, the commander of one U-boat said that German submarine flotillas may perhaps learn of the loss of their boats from the anti-German transmitter called "U-boat transmitter Atlantik". The wireless operator of another U-boat accidentally tuned into Atlantik. The crew thought the music was very good; they also listened to some of the news before being convinced that it was not a German programme. Subsequently the Captain forbad anyone to listen to the news items. The commander of yet another U-boat stated that he had listened to Atlantik for the past eight months - this in spite of the fact that he called it an English station.
It is an interesting development that there have been two or three cases of German papers denying rumours which Atlantik had originated. The Tagespost (Graz, 3rd October) in an article on the field post says that the assertions that the population of the Alpen and Donau Gau are to be settled in the East is slanderous. The Königsberger Allgemeine Zeitung (23rd September) in reporting a Party speech on rumouring denounces two rumours "spread by enemy broadcasts". One is that clothes and other belongings evacuated from the town will be confiscated; the other that the homes of leading Party officials are exempt from being occupied by evacuees.
Transocean in English to the Far East (12th October) denounced the report spread by the "British propaganda radio Atlantiksender" that the Pope was to settle in Liechtenstein.
The story that a Waffen-SA was to be formed has come back through OSS from a "reliable source in Switzerland". The same story was denied in the Bremer Nachrichten (15th September).
There have been the usual number of reactions in the Swedish press.
Evidence that our black leaflets are having a much greater effect than might have been supposed from the comparatively small numbers distributed is provided by the fact that Hans devoted to them the greater part of his talk over the German wireless on 23rd October. This reaction is also a very satisfactory tribute to the present methods of dissemination. Fritzsche singled out five "samples of poisoned British-Jewish propaganda arrows"; these included Koch's letter "The Führer is in danger", a similar appeal by Terboven, a leaflet issued by the "Association of the bombed-out", and one entitled "The victims of Berchtesgaden", giving the story with photographs of a bombed-out family who were shot by the police when trying to enter the closed Berchtesgaden area. At the end of his talk Fritzsche mentioned the Aftontidningen story of Pyrosan, the drug that will keep you warm in Winter. This emanated from "Atlantik".
The Koch leaflet's arrival in Berlin has been reported by two sources. The Kölnische Zeitung (29th October) devotes a whole paragraph to it and its relations saying that it had been dropped in "almost every German Gau and the occupied countries. In France it was signed by Oberg... in Norway by Terboven... in the General Government by Frank... in the Reich usually by Koch."
There has been another come back this time from Belgium, to the sticker "Wir woollen einen Führer von Gottes gnaden und keinen Morder von Berchtesgaden". It was stuck up on the walls of Roulers.
The Leipziger Neuste Nachrichten (27th October) in reporting a speech by Gauleiter Giesler at Berchtesgaden addressed to evacuee women and children quotes him as saying that "deceitful enemy propaganda had spread leaflets in Northern Germany to the effect that no raid refugees are allowed to appear in the Berchtesgaden area". (Note: An order to this effect was made by the Reich Commissioner for housing but subsequently rescinded. It is not possible to say to what extent the black leaflet was responsible for the lifting of the ban).
There has been a report that the leaflet giving details of street damage is having quite a success.An encouraging comeback to the Ballistics edition of the malingering handbook is contained in the Swiss paper St Galen Tagblatt (8th October), quoting from an article written by a doctor in a Swiss military paper. It reviews the contents in a complimentary manner, remarking that "for an experienced person it is not difficult to guess from which kitchen this psychologically and medically adroit booklet originates". Another report says the malingering handbook is being sold to unwilling recruits with the story that it was printed for Party members to enable favoured ones to dodge conscription.
[Source: TNA HS 6/696, transcribed by www.psywar.org]