Some definitions and explanations from:

The major developments in political warfare throughout the War, 1938 -1945

Once classified as: "TOP SECRET"

Y.M. Streatfield

Typeset by Lee Richards, London, 2002
Original document held by the Public Record Office, ref: CAB 101/131

Streatfield writes:

Joe Jones leaflet. Code 12 AG-20
Picture. Joe Jones leaflet. An american soldier explains his
motives to the German opponent.
Political Warfare is the systematic process of influencing the will and so directing the actions of peoples in enemy and enemy occupied territories, according to the needs of higher strategy.

It is not a new factor in warfare, but its importance has been greatly magnified by the character of modern 'total' war and by technological devices which have created new Instruments for political attack so that it has become the Fourth Fighting Arm. Its exploitation in modern form originated in Germany where, between the two wars, the Nazis evolved a science and strategy for political warfare based on Hitler's own Statement:
"The place of the artillery barrage as a preparation for an infantry attack will in future be taken by revolutionary propaganda. Its task is to break down the enemy psychologically before the Armies begin to function at all."

Their success is undoubted.

The democracies did not have this advantage of preparation (such preliminary measures as were taken being obviously inadequate), which made their task all the more difficult when war broke out, and it was perhaps fortunate for our political warfare agencies that their necessarily experimental stage occurred during the first two years of war when anything we did, however well, would have made no difference to a seemingly triumphant enemy. It would though, have been possible to have minimised the pessimism in occupied Europe resulting from defeat and our failure to do this when it was most needed is surely one of the worst results of the lack of any proper pre-war planning.

If you are unable to read some of these sources, you can copy and paste the texts in a free online translator. The resulting translations are sometimes not perfect, but will still give you a good understanding of what is written.

Example online translaters (opening in a new window) can be found at:

Sitemap / menu:

Propaganda definitions in literature
Back to main page

Top of page Back to main starting page:
Propaganda leaflets of the second World War

Mail to the pageowner!

Copyright 1996-2008, Hans Moonen, The Netherlands.
No part of these pages may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the writer/publisher.