PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR ....


FALLING FROM THE SKY

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'Victims look at you'. Allied leaflet for use in Italy against German troops. Shows Hitleryouth boy-soldier surrendering. For more details, see 'Leaflet campaigns Italy'
The following pages are all about the history and the collecting of WW2 airdropped and shelled flyers and pamphlets.

IMPORTANT:

The allied air forces, USAAF and RAF, did airdrop many millions of these aerial leaflets from their B17, B24 and Lancaster airplanes over Nazi Germany. So did the Luftwaffe drop leaflets over England. The Germans even used the famous V1 rocket for this! Airdropped leaflets often contained the strategic type of propaganda (aims to influence the target in the long term).

After D-day, many of these propaganda papers were spread over short distances by firing with artillery shells or rockets. These leaflets are mostly of the so-called tactical propaganda type (aims to have an immediate effect on a close by enemy).

There are several reasons why these interesting propaganda items are rarely seen today:

-Due to heavy strain on these papers during airdrops, many were destroyed or heavily damaged. Think about strong winds, rain, snow and other weather conditions. But also ack-ack fire (anti aircraft guns) destroyed many of the leaflets.
-Shelled and rocketed leaflets were especially heavily stressed. Huge forces came to work on the paper sheets when firing the artillery gun and when expelling the leaflets from the shell or rocket with an explosive charge.
-Large numbers did never reach the intended targets. When being dropped out of a plane from great heights, leaflets tended to fall in places were nobody would be able to find them. Think about lakes, rivers, rural areas etc.
-In the early years of the war, a German spreading these enemy propaganda items on to others could be heavily punished. In the later years of the war, Germans were not even allowed to pick up a leaflet from the ground. So it is understandable that many Germans did not keep leaflets when found. Instead, they often did read them quickly and then, just like the German laws wanted them to, turned them in to the Nazi police after marking the leaflet with the word "Feindpropaganda" ["Enemy propaganda"].

These pages can be of interest to many different people. For instance:
Militaria collectors, Poster collectors, Historians and students studying subjects like psychological warfare, Psyop organizations, OSS, PWE, S.H.A.E.F. and similar.
Special parts of this site are on Italian leaflets, leaflets used by the Germans during the Blitzkrieg in Mai 1940, Black propaganda (including fakes) and women on propaganda leaflets.

You will notice that most of the propaganda shown in these pages is ANTI-NAZI (airdropped by the UK/US Allied Air Forces). But, of course, the Nazis used the same weapon of propaganda also! So to make this homepage complete, these Nazi leaflets are shown here also.
A lot of the information in these Nazi propaganda leaflets can be offensive on religious, racial or ethnic grounds. I want to stress out that my pages are NOT an endorsement OF ANY KIND of such discredited totalitarian systems as National Socialism or Fascism. They are rather a resource to make available the propaganda of such systems in order to educate the public AGAINST them. Some images and texts are disturbing. The material is produced exactly from the originals and represents the historical record. To censor it, however, would be to distort the history of World War Two. In sympathy for those distressed by such items, I ask that those particularly troubled by them not to view them. Such items ought, at any rate, to cause distress to anyone of conscience.

It is also possible that a very few of the leaflets / posters shown are not suitable for younger children. Both sides in WW2 did use (most sentimental) nude pictures in their propaganda sometimes!

German special artillery shell for spreading leaflets. Collection: 'Koninklijke Landmacht'. For more details, see 'Spreading leaflets (shelling)'

Some updates:

August 2008:

I found a few documents not directly related to propaganda. But as these are originals from WW2 and of great interest to many collectors and historians, I took the trouble to put them in my links list (menu on the right).
There is one US military document about the allied knowledge on German bunkers/fortifications. It is dated 1943.
Another is a full(?) Operations Plan for Operation Neptune - The landings in the Normandy - June 1944. The document is dated March 1944.
Be sure to visit my links section!

June 2008:

I have to bring to your attention a new book for which I provided some pictures and information. Reading the, just finished, book I felt I had to do something to promote for people reading it.
"Hidden Letters" is related to the Holocaust and it touched me as much as reading the Diary of Anne Frank did to me! It is about a Dutch Jewish boy, Flip Slier, sending letters home from the working camp he was brought to by the Germans.
More information can be found from the Sitemap / menu on the right were you can click on:
"Leaflet introduction / Special Literature".

March 2008:

Moving the site from http://members.home.nl/ww2propaganda to the this new domain at ww2propaganda.eu . Finally decided for a dedicated domain name instead of the space provided by my provider!
The old site will be kept online for a while.

July 2006:

Link to actual ww2 footage: Capturing of the German city of Koblenz in March 1945. Hitleryouth surrendering with leaflets!
For more details, see 'Example leaflets' - 'Passierschein' in the menu on the right.

June 2005:

LAST NEWS! Made a section with "definitions of propaganda" from literature! VERY GOOD READING MATERIAL! From this new menuitem in the sitemap you can visit 7 important new chapters!
Added an article from the "Daily Telegraph" from the start of the war about leaflet drops.
Includes a picture and translation of one of the first leaflets dropped over Germany.
Also made some important updates on the page "Translation of Hebrew leaflet". Be sure to read.

May 2005:

Made a few updates to the page about the 'leaflet shelling'. A few more small updates made on other parts.
Made my page work without frames. Note the new sitemap/menu at the right. Every subject is available from there.
Added a literature list on request.

August 2004:

I came in contact with a veteran from the US 5th Army. He collected a great number of allied propaganda leaflets that he had access to when fighting in Italy. When studying his collection, I felt I had to write a seperate part of my homepage on these. See menu in sitemap for the "Leaflet campaigns Italy: A typical souvenir" link. It contains many ORIGINAL translations of allied leaflets aimed against axis troops!

May 2003:

ON REQUEST OF MANY STUDENTS, I ADDED A LINK TO SCHOOL ASSIGNMENTS ON WW2 PROPAGANDA! See menu item "school projects" link. It only contains a DUTCH language piece for now.... I have to wait for more students to SEND IN THEIR WORK! So please help with that! Update may 2005: There is no response comming from students that want their work published here. Come on boys and girls! Send them in!

May 2002:

ON REQUEST OF MANY VISITORS, I ADDED A LINK TO MY PICTURES OF WW2 POSTERS! So I added a link to my ww2 (most german origin) POSTER SLIDE SHOW pages. See below (last link). A second slideshow is already placed in the menu on my main pages.

Sitemap / menu:

Leaflet introduction
Spreading leaflets
Articles
Example leaflets
and
Translations of example leaflets
Wartime opinions and law
Leaflet and poster slide shows
Leaflet campaigns Italy:
"A typical souvenir"

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Copyright 1996-2008, Hans Moonen, The Netherlands.
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