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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.
SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER 1944
G.3 [Gustav Siegfried Eins]
This station, defunct since November 1943, has earned three retrospective mentions. A report from Switzerland of the 30th November 1943 mentions that Gustav Siegfried is being generally missed, and later reports from the same article bears out its great popularity. On the 15th September 1944 a German youth leader from Danzig interviewed in Paris said: "We have had a few good clandestine stations in Germany. The best of all was Gustav Eins, quite a fellow, though a little vulgar. You should have heard his language, but everybody listened and admired his truthfulness and courage". An article in the Swedish Morgontidningen of 29th September on the "Radio War Against Germany" speaks with regret of the disappearance of Gustav Siegfried I which it describes as "cheeky, biting and popular in style - a dangerous opponent".
G.7 [German Priest]
The Morgontidningen article just mentioned also notes the reappearance of the Catholic station 'Jesus Christus' and suggests that it may be situated in the Vatican. A report from Switzerland of the 4th July just to hand, praises the Catholic anti-Nazi transmitter 'Christ the King' and comments favourably on the speaker and the musical setting and suggests that the impression created is that the transmitter is in the Vatican. A later report laments the loss of influence of G.7 due to the fact that it could not be regularly heard. From Luxembourg on the 23rd September 1944 comes a reception report saying G.7 was very well received at 21:05 BST on approximately 9,780 kcs and at several other times.
G.8 [Workers Opposition]
Defunct since March 1943, is also mentioned in the same Morgontidningen article.
A very large body of evidence comes from prisoners of war taken since the western offensive began on the 6th June, and creates the general impression that Calais is very widely listened to by the civilian population and by all ranks of the three services. The accuracy and up-to-dateness of the items of news and gossip are frequently referred to. There is confirmation that vulgarisms and slippery stories go down well with the German soldier though some individual officers take exception thereto; one informant even expressed the ardent wish that a station of this kind should be continued in Germany after the war.
Evidence of listening in the Services
Before turning to evidence of the concern revealed by civil and military authorities alike at the wide influence of G.9 as shown in the stringent counter measures adopted, a few examples of individual reactions may not be out of place. German sailors in Cherbourg marvelled at the accuracy of G.9's description of how one of their boats ran on to an old mine adrift in the harbour, and they always found particular relish in accounts of the amorous adventures of their officers in Berlin, Kiel and other towns. Lieutenant General Seyfardt learned of the engagement of Hewel, the Ambassador, to Miss Elisabeth Ludwig, daughter of the great industrialist, from G.9, and, more important, deduced from G.9's description of the intended celebrations that there must exist a state of misplaced confidence and enthusiasm reigning at Hitler's HQ - and never questioned the accuracy of his description. Another prisoner of war said that listening to G.9 was a regular practice at their strongpoint in Cabourg, because it was their only means of getting real news of the war situation. The statement that "everybody knows this station is in England, it is usually credited with being independent of the BBC, though it is thought that the British Government are behind it" comes from a Lance Corporal who had spent three years in a concentration camp for listening to the BBC. A butcher's son now a Sergeant claimed G.9 was "the station for the German soldier. The whole Company used to listen with the Commander at the head and the latter said that the chief thing was to get some nice music". The same prisoner of war said that on the Service receiving set only Calais could be got. (Note: this set is a DKE for battery and mains). From a Hitler Youth Motorised Division a youngster of eighteen claimed that listening to Calais was very general, amongst all ranks. A lawyer of 30 now a Transport Officer stated that listening to Calais was the event of the day for the other ranks - it broadcast at a good time, but "everybody knew, of course, it was phoney". One man interrogated volunteered the unusual suggestion that Calais is too humane and could be more violent. A Bavarian schoolteacher of 36 now a Lieutenant listened to Calais in France, found it somewhat coarse and obvious, but said it was probably the right thing for the men. A prisoner from the 9th Panzer Division had heard six weeks before capture that the Allies "had it in" for his Division and stated that officers and men were inconsequence afraid of bad treatment in case of capture. (In actual fact Calais mentioned the 9th Panzer Division on three occasions, but without comment). The same prisoner of war described Calais as "phenomenal and phantastisch" being the last word in applying Hitler's own technique. Calais "gave the best information on the war situation during the battle of Normandy" according to one prisoner of war, while another asked for more broadcasts about the big leaders rather than the small fry. A journalist of 36 described Calais as "decisive for the formation of will and information among German soldiers" and said that all officers of a certain propaganda company listened daily, except the OC for whose departure from the Mess they usually waited before they switched on. A sensation was caused when their Colonel was congratulated by G.9 on the occasion of his birthday - about which his officers had been ignorant. The Colonel was at first surprised at the good wishes he then received, but no longer when he learnt what had prompted them. A 26-year-old Lance Corporal claimed Calais as "the German soldiers' main source of information, particularly on the invasion front". In his unit the service set was placed in the OC's dugout and there all the officers would listen whilst the other ranks stood outside and listened through the door.
A private in Italy wrote in December 1943 to the German Broadcasting Company in Berlin, quoting G.9's station announcement and asking whether or not this was an English transmission. A Colonel prisoner of war when questioned about listening to an enemy station replied "what can you do, when you switch on, all you can hear is Calais... but perhaps that is just as well". A Private working as a technician at Peenemünde built himself a radio from parts belonging to a "doodle-bug" and while knob-twiddling picked up one of G.9's character speakers. This was so funny that he and his pals took it to be a music hall turn and it was some time before they noticed anything was wrong. They then turned down the volume and continued listening, repeating the practice daily.
The German Generals prisoners of war in this country listen almost nightly to G.9.
Countermeasures by Service Authorities against G.9
To turn now to the countermeasures adopted by the Service authorities. The last few months have brought in some most revealing captured documents. An order of the 23rd March 1944 signed by the Chief of Staff of the German 1st Army is headed "Dangerous Enemy Propaganda. Warning against the so-called Soldatensender Calais" for distribution down to unit commanders. It refers to the increase in the 1st Army of listening to G.9, describes its technique of music mixed with genuine and invented news items, its broadcasting of the High Command communiqués, etc. and details of specific examples of G.9's mendacity. The order speaks of G.9's complete understanding of propaganda technique as analysed in Mein Kampf and proceeds to order instruction at Platoon or Section level of the danger it constitutes. In conclusion a "little known phrase of Clausewitz" which "shows the close integration of material and spiritual armour" is quoted: "Let us arm ourselves with a heart and mind worthy of the greatness of the moment and let us thus integrate our material armour with the spirit which will forever make it withstand an enemy full of passion". A Grenadier regimental order of the 8th August 1944 quotes Divisional Instructions regarding listening to enemy broadcasts. "It is at the Führer's orders that the troops are forbidden to listen". It details measures of prevention and punishment but insists that the ultimate cure is with the men themselves. A Corps Commander captured 20th August reported that in his Corps orders had been issued to take down everything transmitted by the Calais radio because it contained interesting war information.
A captured document from Italy shows the concern of the Admiral commanding the German submarine commandos there at effects of enemy propaganda. He details six instructions of which the first is an order not to listen to any enemy broadcasts even alone, and points out that it is even forbidden to listen to musical programme of the enemy. Disobedience will be punished.
A Lieutenant Colonel captured on the 20th August 1944 details a system designed to combat our efforts; all news broadcast by enemy stations including Calais was recorded in print. This was then circulated to the appropriate staff officers to keep them informed and for them to take countermeasures.
A special four-page enclosure to the magazine Deutsche Wissenschaft Erzichung und Volksbildung of 20th September 1944 issued by the Armed Forces, warns against enemy propaganda and complains in the following sentence of "Broadcasts by enemy radio stations including some camouflaged to make out they are clandestine German broadcasting stations inside the Reich; the Soldatensender Calais in particular which is trying to contact German listeners".
On the 25th September Front und Heimat, Goebbels' radio news service for the troops, set out to deny the story about "forthcoming cuts in the food rations at home" put out by what it calls "the enemy radio station Calais". Three more orders from Service authorities, two of July and one of August 1944 contain directions for combating enemy propaganda in terms that reveal Calais as the source of the trouble. A captured order dated 24th November 1943, mentions Calais/Atlantik as not immediately recognisable as enemy propaganda, forbids listening to them, instructs all Commanders to be warned of their existence and adds that jamming of these stations is being considered.
A report from HQ, German 7th Army, dated 10th July 1944, mentions the Allied propaganda offensive following the death of Dollmann, and stressing his differences with Rommel, and refers by name to Calais and Nachrichten für die Truppe. Yet another order under date of the 2nd August 1944 emanating from Divisional HQ level states that "troops have to be thoroughly instructed that any listening in to enemy broadcasting stations especially Calais is strictly forbidden", and an Addendum to the order by the Battalion HQ says "The above is to be made the subject of thorough instructions to all members of the Companies".
An issue of the German official Mitteilungen für die Truppe of September 1944 attacks enemy radio propaganda and in particular the "so-called Soldatensender Calais" and concludes "It must be hammered home without possibility of contradiction that the enemy never offers news for our instruction. Whatever comes from the enemy is aimed at our dismemberment". Three other issues of this organ had articles on similar lines.
In Italy the Political Officer of a Panzer Grenadier Division issued a special bulletin concerned with enemy propaganda which contains the sentence "Listening in to enemy stations is more than ever a punishable offensive".
A captured order of the 70th Infantry Division of 2nd August 1944 stipulates that one member of each company shall be made responsible for seeing that radio sets are not tuned in to enemy broadcasts.
Listening by Civilians
So much for service reactions to G.9. Mainly through the same channels, that is, prisoners of war, has come considerable evidence in the last three months of widespread listening by civilians in Germany. A prisoner of war who left Weissenfels on the 3rd August 1944 reported a growing audience for the British radio, usually in the early morning, and particularly for Calais and Atlantik. Listening in Saxony is widespread according to another prisoner of war. A former woman official in Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry from 1939 to 1943 stated during interrogation that she liked Calais. She thought our propaganda should be directed more to the woman. Repatriated prisoners of war from near Kassel report good reception of Atlantik particularly at 20 minutes to the hour. Their impression was that the local population listened fairly regularly. A letter from inside Germany dated the end of 1943 speaks of the great popularity of Atlantik with "the news-starved Germans", and attributes its success to its "German atmosphere" and its "leg-pulling tactics". Yet another letter dated 4th January 1944 is from a listener in Augsburg to the Berlin Broadcasting authorities drawing attention to Calais as an enemy station and suggesting they broadcast warning against listening to it. A prisoner of war recounted how he once heard a chatty old woman in an air raid shelter exclaim: "I always listen to radio Atlantik, it gives such splendid news about the war at sea and is so well-informed".
Countermeasures by Civilian authorities against G.9
Civilian authorities too, have, like the services, taken countermeasures. On 21st July 1944 the local Nazi leader in Stockholm transformed an intended cinema show for Stockholm Germans into a demonstration of loyalty to Hitler during which he discussed, in detail, reports monitored from enemy wireless and published in the Swedish press. He drew particular attention to Calais and Atlantik. A telegram dated 10th December 1943 from the Reich Post Master gave instructions to Directors of all German broadcasting stations regarding the pick-up and retransmission of broadcasts and stated categorically that broadcasts of Berlin-Tevel on 841 kcs should not be re-transmitted because of the risk of confusion with Calais on 832 kcs. A circular from the Propaganda Ministry which has come to us from Switzerland points out the increase in listening to foreign wireless, even among Party members, and specifies that listening to Soldatensenders, however undesirable, cannot be forbidden. A captured Propaganda Directive dated 29th April 1944 from the Party Regional Offices in the West devotes one section to a warning against Calais. It describes its main features and its attempts at camouflage, revealing thereby considerable concern at Calais' success. A circular from the Central Party Propaganda Office for Nazi officials gives detailed figures of the number of Party members and officials serving with the Armed Forces and states that 3.5% of all male Party Members are either killed or missing. It was hoped doubtless that with this information Nazi officials would combat the accusations of listeners to G.9
Reactions in the German Press
From the German press also we have incontrovertible evidence. A Cologne paper of 28th September 1944 has an article headed "Collaborators of the Kaldauen Radio", and with this vague disguise of its reference to Calais, attacks rumour-mongers who derive their information from G.9. The Völkischer Beobachter of 4th October 1944 deals with the wider issue of listening to enemy wireless, and the National Zeitung of 17th September 1944 discusses the confusion caused by widely differing reports of recent events in Germany and says "It was clear to the people with sharp ears that a well-known transmitter was poling the fire and pouring oil on it... Did it ever correct any untruth?... what did it not concoct in the way of lies which it spread to our detriment? Those who pass on the wild rumours often do not know whence they come". The Heimatblatt of 11th August 1944 deals with the same problem in very human terms. In Linz, Austria, a Mrs So-and-So who has a vegetable stall, quarrelled with her landlady and she in a fit of temper denounced her lodger to the police for listening to enemy broadcasts. At the inquiry it emerged that on 27th December 1943 Mrs So-and-So heard on the German Radio of the sinking of the Scharnhorst, on which her brother was serving. The next night she switched on her set and chanced on G.9's account of the loss of the battleship and deduced from this that her brother was not among the rescued. When she realised this was an enemy station, she switched off, but later mentioned the incident to several people. (Note: A check-up on monitoring reports shows that Calais on 28th December 1943 was the earliest station to carry a detailed report of the sinking).
Evidence through Neutral Channels
So much for direct evidence. Through neutrals and Allies there is available considerable indirect confirmation of G.9's success. An intercept (20th September 1944) of a letter from Portugal to Manchester shows constant listening to "our clandestine station which always gives the latest news, and yesterday announced that they were beginning to dig trenches in the Palatinate, Rhine and Neckar districts". As in previous reports, the Swedish press has carried many G.9 items. There are some 15 to 20 excerpts from different Swedish papers available over the period covered. A report from our Stockholm Legation of 21st August 1944 speaks of the support gained from G.9 by Zara Leander, the Swedish actress who had been in disfavour for collaborating with the Nazis. To judge from letters by three different correspondents in Switzerland to our Legation at Bern, interest in G.9 among German speaking Swiss is widespread, and one suggestion through the same channel in October, mentions a strong desire among listeners that it should continue to broadcast in peacetime perhaps under the title "Aus Aller Welt".
Evidence through Allied Channels
Through our Allies also there is revealed a widespread attention paid to G.9. Moscow Radio of 5th September repeated G.9's story of the showing at Hitler's orders, of the film of the slow hanging of Witzleben. (The Daily Mirror also used this story). On 18th October 1944 the Free German Radio in Moscow carried the story of ours of the 23rd September, reported to them from Switzerland about explosive charges having been placed in the Röchling pits in the Saar. The Soviet European Service in Hungarian on 15th October 1944 carried with a few additions, G.9's story of 13th October 1944 about German demolition preparations in several Hungarian towns. Radio Toulouse, on 16th October 1944 quoted, in Polish, and giving Berlin Radio as its source, the story of the whole Jap population of a certain island committing Hara-kiri (G.9 - 14th October 1944) together with the supposed recommendation by the Berlin Radio commentator that this was a good example for the Germans to follow.
The mass of evidence from which all the above is extracted surely gives overwhelming proof of the value of the work done by G.9. It remains to check up on the technical efficiency of the transmitter. To this end here is a summary of reception reports.
Hungary: An anti-German official who left Budapest in the beginning of September whose villa on Schwabenberg had been confiscated by the SS but who was permitted to live on in two rooms, often heard Atlantik Radio, tuned in to by the Germans.
Sweden: The writer of a letter from Malmoe to New Zealand, dated 9th August asks if addressee can get "that secret illegal German Atlantic sender which is always so very interesting. Atmospherics and jamming are reported from Stockholm.
Bolivia: A letter dated 29th August from an address in Bolivia to Leeds says "We always hear the German secret sender 'Atlantico'.
Germany: A German prisoner of war from Hamburg: Calais was badly audible in North West Germany.
France: (a) Paris: Speech at 23:40 easily intelligible on parts, on 832 kcs. (b) Verdun: The transmission on 832 kcs obtainable at varying strength (23:37 BST), 31 mb and 40 mb clear reception. (c) Charleville: 731 m and 40 mb (22:00) were easily intelligible and had clear reception. (d) Paliseul: Good reception on 731 and 610 around midnight.
Luxembourg: 40 mb less jammed than 731; very good reception 12th, 14th September; 731 at various times gave good or excellent reception, with speech very clear.
Switzerland: Monitoring reports from Arosa and Lugano during these two months show that: the 40 mb gives best reception, being unintelligible only 14 times out of 93 times monitored, of which 18 were unjammed and the signal clearly heard 37 times. The 410 metre wavelength is not so well received, but there is a marked improvement in the reception of the 49 mb since the stepping up of the power to 100 Kw on 22nd October.
Documents captured during the period under review reveal the concern of the German authorities at our black leaflets. On 9th September 1943, a special order signed by Dalmann sent to 243 Infantry Division warns against our French Desertion leaflet H.504, and orders that all copies found should at once be collected. Another order of 18th July to the 2nd Panzer Division from Freiherr von Lüttwitz announces the desertion of several troops of the Division and continues: "The enemy inundates us with a flood of leaflets. By means of lies he wants to persuade our comrades to desert. We must prevent this venomous material from falling into the hands of irresolute comrades". The order concludes with dire threats against anyone reading enemy leaflets. (This order, on the available evidence, probably refers to our Desertion Almanac, amongst others). A third captured order dated 26th November 1943, from 7th Army HQ, deals with enemy propaganda and states that a new type of seditious leaflet has been dropped. It says that they are dangerous because, printed as official news sheets, they are so skilfully made up as not to be immediately recognisable as enemy propaganda. Then follows a detailed description of our 'NS Health Chart', our 'Radical Estrangement during Imprisonment' and our 'Pseudo-Pregnancy'. Under the date 11th October a document addressed to the 1st Landesbau-Batl. 17 appears to be a warning against our 'Führer in Gefahr'. Documents captured from 15th Army include one concerning our Malingerer 'Efka-Pyramiden', pointing out its general resemblance to our 'Kriegsmarine' Malingerer, in order to make its recognition more easy. A captured order to the frontier guards on the French border dated 11th April 1944 tells of how on the 17th March 1944 a French worker left a bundle of postcards in the hands of a Frontier guard. From the exact description given, these were copies of our H.661 'German General Feldpostkarte'. The order then points our several minute details by which the forgery of the stamp on these cards can be recognised, and warns guards that attempts will probably be made to smuggle this kind of propaganda into Germany by rail and sea.
An order from 2nd Panzer Division NSFO, dated 7th July 1944, which has been captured, draws attention to the intensification of Allied leaflet propaganda, and warns the German soldiers against believing in the humanitarianism of the enemy.
Mitteilungen für die Truppe (September 1944) in its article 'Aims and Methods of Enemy Agitation' has a section about Allied leaflets in which it enumerates various examples:
(a) Highly placed German personalities being referred to as 'Bonzen'. (H.649 - 'Schluss mit der Bonzenwirtschaft')
(b) The forgery of official pamphlets purporting to be issued by the Party, NS-Frauenschaft, etc. (e.g. H.317 - the OKH leaflet entitled 'Eheliche Treue und Falscher Verdacht'.)
(c) Booklets with advice for potential malingerers under various covers, some of them educational (e.g. H.312 - Malingerer 'Ballistics Handbook'.)
(d) Our separatist leaflets addressed to Bavarians and Austrians.
One particularly interesting comeback to our 'Diplomaten verpflegung' (Diplomatic Rations) propaganda comes in an official communication from Reichsleiter Martin Bormann to the NSDAP - Gaulietung Moselland, dated 18th January 1944, drawing attention to Allied leaflets dropped in Germany saying that State and Party high-ups get 'diplomatic' rations (H.663). It categorically denies that the Food Ministry has granted any such privilege to the high-ups and carefully points out that this privilege is reserved for the representatives of foreign powers in Germany. Evidence has come to hand of reports circulating in various areas, for example, in the Deutsche Akademie in Paris, three copies of the 'Heil Himmler' leaflet were found. In July 1944 'Soldatenfrauen und Ehefrauen' was circulated among soldiers at Tirlemont; a recent report shows the 'Desertion Almanac' as being passed around among German troops in Norway; the 'Sauckel' leaflet enjoyed success in Lessay (Normandy) in late July; a private report commends packets of cigarette papers (Malingerers) which are so easy to leave about on café tables, etc; a Lt. Commander captured from a U-boat stated on the 5th September that he had seen the 'Scheisse' and the 'Six Weeks Leave' stickers stuck up at U-boat bases in Norway.
Our sticker 'The Day is Coming' was seen on the back of General Lanz's car somewhere in Greece for two days. Attempts were being made to track down propagandists and guards were doubled immediately after the trick was discovered. Leaflets recently found on prisoners are H.961 - 'Ein Wort zum Thema Etappe'; H.692A - "Behilfsgeld, 50 Pfg note; H.1059 - 'Holzhauer' Malingerer (without cover). This latter was found on a prisoner of war captured by the 3rd US Army on the 10th October 1944.
A report from 12th Army Group dated 26th October describes how a prisoner of war, after having stayed in a hospital as long as he could by opening his wound seven times with his knife, obtained the booklet 'Krankheit Rettet' and managed to return to hospital for another nine weeks.
The Swedish press gives us a certain amount of unintentional publicity. Svenska Dagbladet, 10th August, has an article entitled 'Underground Germany', and as examples of their activities, the newspaper quotes H.436 ('Malingerer Party Songbook') and also H.381 or H.443 (Malingerer - cigarette paper), H.465 ('Menschenrecht bricht Staatsrecht') and H.480 (Halder 'Parole der Woche'). According to an article in Aftontidningen, Malingering handbooks disguised as hymnbooks are circulating among German factory workers. The paper publishes a photograph of the cover of one of these booklets and gives a very full description of the contents, which leaves no doubt that this is H.691 - our 'Catholic Field Hymnbook'.
Nachrichten für die Truppe
Among captured German documents is a propaganda circular for German troops issued by the 2nd Panzer Division NSFO telling about the Flying Bombs. It deals mainly with the terrible effect of the bombs in England and the unavailing efforts to combat them and in particular it refutes the charge that these bombs use so much petrol that tanks and aircraft on the invasion front have to go short. This was the subject of the Oberleutnant's article "Da fliegt der Sprit" in Nachrichten of 15th July 1944 and of subsequent articles. We also ran a campaign on this line on G.9.
Nachrichten is also mentioned under "Aims and Methods of Enemy Agitation" in a September issue of Mitteilungen für die Truppe, as an example of Allied leaflets which present their lying propaganda under the camouflage of a genuine-seeming news sheet form.
According to interrogations of some hundreds of prisoners of war the German soldier at the front seems to be left more and more without a news service. The Wehrmachtsbericht and other troop papers as well as the radio are by no means regularly available. He is getting a good deal of his information from our leaflets and Nachrichten für die Truppe. Many prisoners of war had first heard of the attempt on Hitler's life from our leaflets. The Nazis, of course, deny that the leaflets have any effect on them, but admit that they may influence weaker characters. (Men who far are enough behind the lines to have access to radios still say that Soldatensender Calais is their favourite radio station). Prisoners from all over France report having seen Nachrichten.
[Source: TNA HS 6/696, transcribed by www.psywar.org]