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Evidence of Reception Reports

  8 of 15   | ARTICLES
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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  1404

March, 1944

FEBRUARY 1944

Part II

GERMANY

Gustav Siegfried Eins

A bomber pilot (14th February) said that the Chef's broadcasts had always been popular, but that he had heard that the station had now closed down. He himself had heard the Chef discussing the Me.210.

 

German Priest

Direct reactions from people who had listened to the Priest have now been received for the first time. A member of a U-boat crew was impressed by the "Pastor" whose programme he had heard at sea; and an Austrian officer was a regular listener in North Africa early last year.

 

Calais and Atlantik

An encouraging report on Calais is given in a report from North Africa dated 11th March, based on the interrogation of 301 German air force prisoners. Prisoners who had listened to our broadcasts agree on the whole that they have improved of late and acknowledge in particular the efficiency of one station, the Soldatensender Calais.

The impression gained from recent prisoners of war interrogated in this country is that listening at their bases to Atlantik broadcasts is now the rule for naval personnel rather than the exception.

Included among the stories quoted, which U-boat crews say they have heard on Atlantik, are several which were never put out, showing that our information service is being credited with universal knowledge, much in the same way as Haw-Haw was here at the beginning of the war.

One regular U-boat listener was much impressed by our denunciation of GSR (radio location detector). A campaign to sow distrust in this device has been carried on for some time.

The operational effectiveness of Calais is also exemplified by a report from a Hauptman of the Luftwaffe who was sent under conditions of the utmost secrecy to interview blockade-runner captains waiting in the Gironde and was then amazed to hear us address a message to the hush-hush ships concerning their forthcoming operations.

Among reports from the Luftwaffe is the interesting statement that an airman while in hospital in Cuxhaven, listened regularly to Calais medium wave on a small "peoples'" wireless set, costing RM 35.

Evidence of listening by civilians in Germany is still scanty but a February report states that Calais is considered absolutely first-rate and amazingly up-to-date with its information. The informant is inclined to believe that though it may be operated from England or Allied territory, it may be a genuine secret station in view of the accuracy and speed of its information, for example on the subject of air raid damage.

Censorship reports show that the station is being regularly listened to in Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and New York. It is evidently monitored in Russia, as the Soviet Radio has recently used a number of our stories.

One of the best tributes comes from the Germans themselves who have started up a new programme for their troops in France, in which they parody "Soldatensender Calais". For example on 22nd February, after some syncopated music, they gave news items including: "Courageous British forces have again captured an Italian village against strong German opposition. The natives consisted of 20 people and 39 mules". This type of humour was interlarded with more or less crazy music and the final announcement was: "Here is Soldatensender West, joined to the short and small transmitter of Auntie Anna, Sherlock Holmes".

Another German reaction came from the German Telegraph Service which on 22nd February discussed at length and with some feeling, our story about the destroyer survivors aboard the Kerlogue - namely that the officers tried to organise being taken to internment in Ireland, but that the men refused to cooperate in the plan.

The story about German-Spanish trading in Wolfram has caused trouble in Madrid.

About two dozen of our reports have been repeated in the Swedish press during the last four weeks.

 

Part III

Black Leaflets

GERMANY

The Himmler stamp continues to be a subject of discussion in the Swiss press. The Berner Briefmarken Zeitung has further correspondence about it and declares that an official notice from the Reichspostminister has denied the authenticity of the stamp. The Journal de Geneve (28th January) connects Himmler's possible wish to liquidate Hitler and assume supreme power with the Koch letter appealing for support for the Führer. The Daily Mirror (29th February) gives a long story about the stamp under a Lisbon dateline, and winds up by saying that it is estimated that a couple of the stamps in good condition would fetch $5,000 in America.

The Koch letter has now appeared in the Turkish newspaper Tan.

Yet another report about the Falkenhorst desertion leaflet has been received from Stockholm. It declares that "during the night of 2nd July, 1943, an appeal signed by von Falkenhorst appeared in all German military camps in Norway enjoining German officers not to fail in their duty to their country. These appeals were immediately removed and pronounced by the authorities to be a forgery".

Enclosed with the same report was a copy of the Berchtesgaden victims leaflet.

The Swedish paper Aftonbladet (2nd February) in an article on underground propaganda among German soldiers in Norway mentions four of our black leaflets.

Reuters (27th February) reports the circulation of leaflets among German troops in Belgium, including two of ours - the list of bombed streets, and one dealing with desertion in Switzerland. Another report from Belgium also mentions that these are being passed round, as well as seven others of ours.

An Austrian deserter from Norway had on him the list of bombed streets. It is reasonable to assume that this leaflet was influential towards his decision to desert, and that he believed the possession of a Red Circle leaflet might be of assistance to him in doing so.

A Luftwaffe captain reported finding a secret document, of which the first pages were dull reading, and then came instructions on how to make oneself ill. At night one tied a trouser button to oneself until the funny bone was gradually deadened and the hand became paralysed. There was a chapter on how to feign madness.

 

Part VI

Sibs

There has been one good comeback to our story that the Scharnhorst had been sent out on Hitler's order, and against the advice of Doenitz and his staff. (This was put out about 14th February). Aftontidningen, 6th March, published the whole story, with full details of the circumstances which led up to the sinking of the ship. Apparently the editor was so delighted with this, that he hawked the story round at lunchtime with the charitable intention of giving British correspondents a chance of cabling home the unique scoop!

 

[Source: TNA HS 6/696, transcribed by www.psywar.org]

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