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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 1259
23rd February, 1944
Gustav Siegfried Eins
Although the "Chef" has not broadcast since the middle of November, he has not been forgotten. For example, Dagens Nyheter states that during last summer he could frequently be heard.
Calais and Atlantik
There is a growing body of evidence of listening by the German armed forces. An Able Seaman from the Scharnhorst has stated that he listened in every evening. This is interesting as showing that reception of it in North Norway is good. The captain of the blockade-runner sunk in the Bay of Biscay declared himself an enthusiastic Calais fan. He thought our information marvellous; we had the Berlin radio 'licked'. He had been particularly impressed by the account (19th December) of the attack on another blockade-runner. As he had come from Japan, he must have listened regularly at sea.
As is to be expected, the largest number of reports come from the German air force. It is now evident that listening among German air force units in the West is not only widespread, but persistent. The Staffelkapitän of a unit at Cognac has said that he and his brother officers listened regularly. They were obliged to stop other ranks from listening, but he knew that in fact they did so. Although the jamming was severe, he was always able to get the station, either on short or medium waves. He remarked on the cleverness and listener interest of the news, and on the accuracy of the technical information, quoting actual examples. Sometimes he listened in with naval officers whom he met in Bordeaux.
Several other ranks have reported listening, though one of them said that jamming made the talks inaudible.
The only report from the German army comes from an officer interrogated in North Africa who said:- "I have often heard the Atlantiksender, but it's not really the best. It makes itself out to be a German station, but everybody knows that it's English". He does not appear to have said which he considered the best station.
The stories mentioned in the Swedish press are as usual far too numerous to mention. Their number is however increasing. Trots Alt (7th-13th January) mentions Calais by name as a "new illegal German radio station", and then gives its time and wavelengths. Dagens Nyheter calls Atlantik "one of the most remarkable and best known of the illegal stations".
The rumour that the Pope was making preparations to move to Liechtenstein was first put out on 11th October and denied by the Germans the following day. It was put out again subsequently, and on January 24th the German Telegraph Service declared that this report "spread by the British propaganda Atlantiksender" had caused "unmitigated hilarity in Liechtenstein". Five days later a smaller denial was featured by the Italian press, quoting Berlin.
A report from secret American sources from Berne declares that, despite the death penalty, broadcasts by the USA, Britain and the Soviets are listened to in Germany. The Atlantik is most popular. Many Germans think it is somewhere in Europe, two suggestions being near Paris or in a German ship in the English Channel. The promoters of these suggestions claim that the station has the protection of high-ranking German Army and Naval officers and is in cooperation with the British.
Secret sources report good reception of Atlantik, both on medium and short wave, at Danzig in November last. The same source declares that the transmissions are regularly heard in Brest.
For many months we have been carrying on a campaign accusing Nazi high-ups of enjoying so-called "diplomatic rations" far in excess of those allowed the common man. The "Chef" discussed this on the 5th and 20th of July 1943, and Calais constantly refers to this inequality. It has also been carried out in other media. We have now received encouraging reactions to this campaign.
A special court in Halle sentenced a certain Frau Peukert to six months imprisonment for asserting in a public house that high German officials have special, so-called diplomatic rations. Although the accused had a clean record, the court passed the sentence because she had consciously spread a particularly insolent enemy lie put out by radio and leaflets by enemy propagandists. The case was reported on DNB and carried in all the principal newspapers. An article by Krische in the Ostsee Zeitung (2nd February) reads: "Which of us has not at some time or other heard about the famous maid who is said to have confirmed the existence of these rations because she was employed in the household of Dr Ley?" (Calais on 1st February, 1944; GS1 on 5th July, 1943). The article goes on to describe the insidious British propaganda war and its occasional successes and quotes the case of Frau Peukert in Halle.
The Essen National Zeitung on 3rd January strongly denies the German Priest's assertion "that children are only evacuated in order to enable the State to obtain full control of education and eliminate the influence of parents". This has been the subject of many of his talks.
It is of interest that the two illustrations in the famous fake edition of the Soir, produced by the resistance movement, were printed from blocks sent over by us. Since the last report, illustrations from our blocks have also been noted in five different clandestine newspapers.
Once again the Koch leaflet has produced reactions. The Gazette de Lausanne (21st January) quoted large extracts, and the following day Aftonbladet printed a portrait of Koch together with his appeal to people to stand by the Führer.
The wording of a similar appeal, made by Frank in place of Koch, was transmitted to the Polish underground movement, who prepared the blocks, printed the leaflet and stuck it up. A photograph showing it displayed on a notice board in Warsaw is included in this report.
According to a Berne report the Journal de Geneve declares that Himmler's influence and power have declined recently, and attributes this to the unfortunate affair of the Himmler stamp.
The Schwarze Korps (6th January) in a long article on the "nerve war" aimed at denying the efficacy of leaflet and radio propaganda, mentions the Berchtesgaden incident (H.550 and 634), and repudiates our propaganda about war profiteers carrying on the war to enrich themselves. This line has been plugged in various media including black leaflets (H.669).
DNB (31st January) reported that a woman at Halle had been sentenced to six months imprisonment for stating that high German officials receive so-called "diplomatic rations". DNB states that this "insolent lie" has repeatedly been put out by the enemy on the air and in leaflets. The report of this sentence was carried by all the main German newspapers, and by a number of local ones. We have produced three leaflets on this subject - H.623, H.641 and H.663.
Our three leaflets (H.416, H.417, H.444) on posthumous divorce have produced an indignant warning to the troops by the German authorities. An OKW leaflet dated October 1943 discusses, inter alia, posthumous divorce proceedings declaring that "the Jewish agitators of the Bolsheviks state that the State can now summarily annul the marriage after death in action in order to rob the widow of her inheritance". As posthumous divorce is in fact a Reich Government law, they continue indignantly "it is not necessary to deal at greater length with this vile piece of enemy agitation. The affair is brought to the attention of soldiers that they may find further confirmation of what a shameless rabble is at work on the other side".
They only try to deny the story by declaring that divorce proceedings are only continued if the case had already started. The Frankfurter Zeitung account of the regulation (printed on the back of H.444) clearly states that the State Prosecuting Attorney can also start divorce proceedings.
The Belgian Government have received Photostat copies of six leaflets said to be circulating among German troops in Belgium, and a seventh has been received from another source. All these are ours.
A report from France says that the Rundstedt proclamation about desertion was seen stuck up at the entrance to the station of a town near Vichy.
The Daily Mail (19th January) reports a copy of a leaflet (H.533) having been brought to Stockholm by a traveller from Germany. It tells of "a scathing attack on high Nazi officials being made in the official field newspaper of the German Officer Corps" and declares "this is the first time that the Army has openly accused high-ranking Nazis of shirking". It was also reported in detail on 18th January by Aftontidningen and Göteborg Handels Och Sköfarts-Tidning.
[Source: TNA HS 6/696, transcribed by www.psywar.org]