Article Daily Telegraph, September, 1939
This article gives an impression on how the English looked upon the earliest leaflet missions.
The articles text must be considered propaganda ('we have to show our people that we are able to fly missions over Germany') as these early leaflets texts were not that succesful at all. It took some time before it was realized that the texts on these white propaganda leaflets should follow certain rules in how to address the German people. The propagandists did not yet understand that propaganda, to an enemy that was on the winning hand, was not that easy.
One example leaflet as meant in the article.
Leaflet EH.276 front. Over 5 million airdropped 5/9 september 1939.
Dropped and found (for example) in:
Geestrup Danmark, 6/9/39 Trier, Neustadt-W, Braunschweig, Dessau, Erfurt,
Halle, Hannover, 11/9/39 Darmstadt, Frankfurt/M, Karlsruhe.
AIR RAID FOR PROPAGANDA
13 TONS OF PAPER DROPPED
By Our Diplomatic Correspondent.
The fact that the Royal Air Force planes, which carried out raids over north and western
Germany during Sunday-Monday night, were not engaged either by German fighters or
anti-aircraft guns would seem to throw an important light on the efficiency of German air
During their visit they scattered 6,000,000 leaflets telling the German people something
of the circumstances in which they had been plunged into a world war by Hitler.
It can readily be judged that a large number of British bombers must have taken part in
this operation since the bulk of paper carried and dropped over German territory would
approximate in weight to about 13 tons. It should not be assumed however, that the
statement that the British raiders were "not engaged" means that no effort was made to
On the contrary. It is probable that German fighters were up with a view to intercepting
the machines, but failed to find them.
The Berlin wireless admits that British planes succeeded in dropping leaflets over
Germany. It alleges that the machines flew over the Netherlands, and that they were
driven back by German anti-aircraft guns after having dropped leaflets.
The German wireless adds that according to a statement from The Hague the planes flew
so high that it was impossible to recognise to which Air Force they belonged.
September 9, 1939
Translation of leaflet EH.276
England to the German people
The Nazi regime has, in spite of the endeavours of the leading great Powers, plunged the world
This war is a crime. The German people must quite clearly distinguish between the pretexts
employed by its government so as to unleash war and the principles which have forced England
and France to defend Poland.
From the very beginning the English government has made it clear that the Polish question is
not one which can justify a European war with all its tragic consequences.
Five months after the Munich Agreement the independence of Czecho-Slovakia was brutally
trodden underfoot. So that Poland shall not also suffer the same fate, we must insist that
peaceful methods of negotiation shall not be rendered impossible through threats of force, and
that in the negotiations which are requisite the Poles right to live must be guaranteed and
honourably kept. We cannot accept or admit a Diktat.
If Herr Hitler believes that the English government, out of fear of war, will allow the Poles to
be left in the lurch, then he has been deceiving himself. In the first place England will not break
her pledged word. Furthermore, it is high time that the brutal force whit which the Nazi regime
strives to dominate the World should be halted.
Through this war the German Chancellor places himself against the unbending resolution of the
English government, a resolution which has behind it not only the resources and means of the
whole English Commonwealth, but also a union of other great Powers. It is a question of the
salvation of human freedom and the right of peoples to live free.
Up to the very last moment the Pope, the President of the United States and the King of the
Belgians, in the name of Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and
Finland, made fruitless appeals to your Nazi government, urgently requesting that negotiations
should be chosen in the place of war.
Now a catastrophe has broken out upon you in that the Reich finds itself isolated from the
community of civilised peoples, without any support save that of Communist Russia.
You cannot win this war. Against you are arrayed resources and materials far greater than your
For years you have been subjected to the most stringent censorship, and by means of an
incredible system of secret police and informers the truth has been withheld from you.
Against you stands the united strength of the free peoples, who with open eyes will fight for
freedom to the last.
This war is as repulsive to us as it is to you, but do not forget that England, once forced into
war, will wage it unwaveringly to the end. England's nerves are strong, her resources
inexhaustible. We will not relent.
Pass on (this leaflet)