Nazi Propaganda Leaflets Dropped On Soldiers Are Both Nauseating And Fascinating

Here's yet one more proof that Nazis — especially Goebbels — were cunning manipulators. Or perhaps stupid manipulators. Look at these propaganda leaflets that tried to convince American and British forces to desert by appealing to their most basic instincts.

The leaflets — conserved at the US Army Combined Arms Research Library at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas — were distributed to Allied troops in France and Italy from 1944 to 1945, just at the end of the war, when desperate times in the collapsing Nazi regime called for desperate measures.

Most leaflets appealed to the soldiers' jealousy. Headlined The Girl You Left Behind, these glossed endlessly about how their wives and girlfriends were most probably screwing someone at home while they were fighting in Europe. Of course, that someone was a shady-looking Jewish character called "Sam Levy", a crude allusion to a Nazi-imagined connection between the American government and some kind Jewish power in Washington and Wall St.

The Nazis wanted to convince the soldiers that the Sam types were also profiteering from selling weapons while they weren't messing around with their women — and that's why they wanted the war to keep on going, they argued.

Some of them — titled While You Are Away — tried to turn British soldiers against the Americans, arguing that the US forces stationed in the United Kingdom were getting inside the knickers of the Brits' lasses.

They were other strategies, like appealing to motherly love, claiming that vets had a horrible future, or arguing that President Roosevelt lied to them. Some actually asked them to turn themselves to the Germans to get into prisoner camps, announcing that "all German PoW Camps are run on the Geneva Convention plan". How nice of them.

The real desertors

Fortunately, these leaflets had little effect on American or British forces. Only 21,000 US military personnel were convicted and sentenced for desertion, and that was for the three and a half years of the United States' participation in the conflict, which included the Pacific theatre.

The number is absolutely ridiculous compared to the 16 million people who served in the United States' armed forces during the conflict. 49 of those 21,000 were sentenced to death, and only one was executed.

By comparison, tens of thousands deserted the Wehrmacht alone, with 15,000 German men executed, many without trial. Most of those were in the Russian front. On that front the Soviet troops didn't need any propaganda to desert. Given the extreme conditions, many tried to run away. Stalin gave the order to kill anyone who would abandon their post by adding a second line to shoot anyone who didn't follow orders. The Soviet army finished the war killing 158,000 soldiers of their own. [US Army Combined Arms Research Library (PDF) via Public Intelligence]


Comments

    That’s actually a fascinating and fairly progressive idea on how to wage war. Even if those soldiers didn’t dessert, those pamphlets could have planted a few seeds of doubt.

    How is that nauseating? It's why it's called propaganda, and it's psychologically brilliant. I wouldn't expect anything less during a war.

    What's most interesting is that it confirms that back in the 40's there was plenty of pre-marital sex going on. This doesn't surprise me greatly, but it's different to what I and most others have been lead to believe.

    This is how most wars have been won in the modern age. Our allied forces dropped just as much propganda on their forces during the war. It was just the same. You really should dig up some of the allied Propoganda pamphlets too. This link has a pretty good collection of them. http://ww2propaganda.eu/start.html

    Amazing how close to 'modern' leftist thinking many of them are.

      Because nazis were such progressive lefties.
      *eyeroll*

        lol, "McBain to base! Under attack by Commu- Nazis!"

      I take it you're being ironic in that the extreme right wing view of the Nazis is diametrically the opposite to any reasonable person's today.

    Now lets talk about all the girls in Britain ans Australia that were wined and dined by the yanks whilst the boys were out getting killed..! The yanks had a right old time when on furlough during the War.

      I think the winners here were the women! Lots of sexy foreign men! hahaha just joking, I know that no one wins when it comes to war :/

    The people who wrote them clearly had no idea about what it was like fighting the war, and were completely out of touch with their "audience". I'm sure many of them managed to embark on successful careers with the East German Stasi - or, worse, public relations & marketing firms in the West.

      Dude how old are you, just because it makes no sense by you're standards, doesn't mean they weren't just as sophisticated as people are today.

        to clarify further - the people writing & endorsing the leaflets clearly failed to appreciate soldiers on both sides of the conflict who were too busy trying not to get shot or bombed or gassed or stabbed - fighting just so that they, and their squad mates, can all go home and bec ome human again.
        these leaflets have the same efficacy as the press releases of the former Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, a.k.a "Comical Ali" during the 2003 invasion / intervention of Iraq.

    Sadly for the most part the leaflets were true American companies were enjoying massive profits at home while their sons were dying, facts are slowly starting to emerge now and for most corporations the war was the best thing that happened to them, don't be naive or ignorant people yes the Nazis were a brutal regime but the corporations profiteering right here in our back yards were no better IBM for example was selling computers to the Nazi's with the specific purposes of processing prisoners through their concentration camps knowing full well what they would be used for. This isn't conspiracy theory this is fact look it up! and besides how many reports were there of soldiers wives getting knocked up while their husbands were away fighting.

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