Instructional Material for the Fight Against Enemy Propaganda
High Command of the Armed Forces
for the Fight Against Enemy
This is a [formerly] secret [subsequently declassified] subject according to paragraph 88 of the
"Reichsstrafgesetzbuch" (Reich Code of Criminal Law)
(Edition of 24th April 1934.) Misuse will be punished
according to the provisions of the said Paragraph, inasfar as
other penalties do not apply.
High Command of the Armed Forces
W F St/WPr(IV A) Nr. 4500 geh.
The Fight against Enemy Propaganda
The following “Poison File” contains instructional material pertaining to the fight against hostile propaganda; from time to time it becomes more comprehensive. The unit leader is henceforth in the position to have at hand progressive specific examples for his lower officers and enlisted ranks in order to provide a picture of the methods and goals of the enemy propaganda illustrated.
In the First World War the effectiveness of the enemy propaganda attack was underestimated. Consequently, the troops learned little or nothing at all about the danger, and the enemy attained his goals without being undermined. In the current war it is the mission of all propaganda weapons to prevent the enemies from increasing. However, this time it is in recognizing the danger with which our fight can be won. The “Poison File” yields counter weapons for this fight. In addition, publishing the “Announcement for the Troops” continues with especially impressive examples from the many investigations of the enemy effort, of deception, falsification and ruse, all are methods intended to undermine the fighting moral of the German Armed Forces and the German people.
The German soldier must know that from minute to minute a continual increase of the enemy propaganda effort is at hand, and that we must be just as crafty and unscrupulous in our opposition. The English-American and Soviet Russian propagandists work hand in hand. Their goal is the same, their methods are very similar. (Comparisons about it were presented at the special conference on the “Announcement for the Officer Corps” from December 1942 or Nr. 252 of “Announcement for the Troops”.)
The Goals for the instructions concerning the fight against enemy propaganda must be:
1. that the troops know the nature and meaning of the methods and meaning of this fight,
2. that the highest effort in the fight against the repercussions of the enemy propaganda be taken. (It is essential that in the training of these troops, the order be very clear that enemy propaganda leaflets, when discovered in piles, must be destroyed.)
Deterrence Propaganda 1 There is a special involvement with the widespread investigation of the Soviets regarding their use of “Deterrence Propaganda.”- Here is an example: A few days before the assault on Sevastopol there appeared an illustrated pamphlet, “Sevastopol is Invincible”, which made an attempt to undermine the moral of the German attack through exaggerated loss numbers. The Soviet Command had from the 22nd of June 1941 to May 1943 been announcing alleged German losses totaling as high as 14 million! According to this, no more German soldiers exist in Europe. (England and France have as well worked on such a bluff. They announce from the Polish Campaign German losses of 300,000 dead - almost thirty times the actual losses! In Norway it is reported to be 68,000- against the actual 3,000 -, in the western campaign 1.5 million - around fifty times the actual losses!)
2 In Fall 1942 a pamphlet was widespread, making an attempt to instill fear for the coming winter in the German troops. But even so called official forecasts from the meteorological stations of the world do not come close to justifying this. (The claim, that the winter of 1942/43 will be colder than the previous, is well known to be easily refutable.)
Photographic Forging 3 As material evidence for their untrue assertions which the Soviets gladly employ photographically, some parts through clever tricks, some very clumsily contrived. - That returned pamphlets, especially the illustrated ones, give the impression that an immense mass of German soldiers are Russian prisoners of war and therefore the German fighting moral is broken. - One takes these to the limits of the "truth" when it is put under the magnifying glass one more time, so it stands here, given that the same groups of soldiers return multiple times - the entire picture portrayed by these methods is that the same groups of soldiers are reused (included in a photo montage). - The question at hand is, why must the enemy take this trouble to compile such a product? If he has already imprisoned us, why cant he spare himself the effort? So it is this photo montage from which evidence comes that the Russian claim can not be true, prisoner officers and soldiers are assured survival.
4 A further example of the photo tricks of Soviet propaganda: A Russian "front illustration" displays pictures of alleged German negotiators. From here we have a grossly crude deception! One observes only the Faults (= in truth: revisions) The uniforms of these men should bare evidence of coming from the thick of hard fighting. Just as it has been shown in the past, the photos of a large number of German captives should reveal according to single frame photographic rules, - as in previous surrender where it was especially clear! - it is especially revealing, with a further problem, concerning the rationing of prisoners of war. Who in the entire world would believe that in the Russia of a State ordered famine, that prisoners of war will be adequately rationed? -- It is a printed lie that prisoners of war are exchanging letters with their families through the International Red Cross. Everyone knows that in Soviet Russia any affiliation with the Red Cross is non existent.
5 Frequent use is made of photos of real operations which then are seen with misleading text. Here is the case of a British pamphlet (March 1943): which took up the issuance of a photo showing the return of German troops marching west from Voronezh, which in reality is an operation from the advance of German Grenadiers over a frozen over river in the northern sector of the Eastern Front. The original picture was printed in numbers from the 3. December 1942 D.A.Z.[Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung; German General Gazette] (Reichsausgabe) [Reichs Edition]!
As the previous examples already show, examination of the larger section of the Bolshevik propaganda pamphlet, describes in enticing colors how the German soldiers are enticed to desert and to spend their lives as prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. - For this purpose part of the “resolution” issued from the conference on German prisoners of war is extensively used, which the press should revive. - In most of the issued “passes” for the prisoners comes the promise of three warm meals a day, 400g bread, 500g vegetables and potatoes, fat, meat, fish, sugar, tea and tobacco - with only eight hours of work and wage for the work, and the work is observed, with this one can only conclude: 1. For the humane and civilized states of the world to keep up with such provisioning is not possible, even with the best intentions. The promised expenses given here in the Soviet Union are available for no one, and soldiers are silenced with no one ever becoming a prisoner of war! 2.The “promises” for only eight hour workdays is simply grotesque! The enemy agitation for the German soldiers must be virtually immeasurable and stupid as well as incredulous to behold, and such a mind boggling stunt to endure!
7 “Foreign Correspondence” Through so called “foreign correspondence” investigations of the Soviet propaganda “camouflage.” Within one of the news broadcasts, the announcements originate from neutral lands, as an attempt to make the announcement more plausible. From the left side of page 7 is for example an announcement, “General Guderian has fallen on the Eastern Front” as news from a Turkish hairdressers periodical. Naturally one will look twice at the reliability of the German reporting. Days later, after the pamphlet appeared, the entire world saw, that Generaloberst [Colonel General] Guderian was given the responsibility of Inspector of Panzer Troops Professionalism. On the right side of page 7 of the printed leaflet recounts that allegedly Lance Corporal Budzik, had a break down in the military hospital where 10,000 men lay. Every soldier knows, that military hospitals that large do not exist in Germany. The letter is naturally fictitious. On the right side of another pamphlet is the announcement from a Swiss newspaper “The World Week” publishing the claim that the potato and bread supplies in Germany, as a result of the incompetence of the authorities is endangered. Everyone knows that such difficulties in the previous winter did not exist at all.
8 Camouflaged Pamphlets On page 7 illustrates how foreign announcements are exchanged. The resulting page shows, that the enemy and his propaganda have been disguised, so that on the surface it appears to bare the face of the German press. Here is an example of the so called camouflaged pamphlet, with titles which copy exactly the style of the German, or the appearance of the German front newspapers, such as “Erika” or the familiar soldiers booklet for partying and recuperation. One knows that due to the loyalty
of the German soldiers, - one will take notice right off, that this is obviously the product of enemy propaganda speak.
9 Out of the official communication of the German High Command of the Wehrmacht comes, for example, the “Announcements for the Troops.” The “Letter for the Front Comrades” from Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels is naturally, likewise false. The announcement here “Arrangement of Leave for Soldiers and Non Commissioned Officers” is in the style of a service arrangement draft. One notices freely and immediately that this can not be a German issued decree. Printing how “Soldiers of the SS- Waffen,” “Main commander of the SS-Waffen,” or, “Armed Forces People of the Eastern Front” makes the miserable effort, entirely obvious for its stupid contents, as a work of deception without further distinguishing features.
10 Smear Campaign against Officers: From the various methods and ways investigated to undermine the trust for the German Officer Corps, page 10 of an issued pamphlet, “How They Really Think” comes an especially barefaced smear and falsification. It comes from the pages of the published views found in the diary of a Colonel Schilling, Regimental Commander I. R. 53, which holds that he is a critic of the German War leadership. How the current Major General Schilling responds, is that he has no further diary entries. Interesting are the comparisons of his handwriting on the right hand side with the falsification the left hand side. One realizes that this is all entirely a falsification.
11 From page 11 of the pamphlet “General Leiser is with Us” on the reverse side, the officers Major von Krosigk, 1st. Lieut. Albrecht, and 1st.Lieut. Schilder had proved to having been found guilty of gross cowardice. The truth is found in the printed outcome of the preliminary proceedings by the Department of Military Investigation. It is mentioned that in three especially heroic actions he fought valiantly as an infantry officer, and Major von Krosigk won the Knights Cross.
12 Horror Propaganda 1914-1918 Typical examples of the enemies horror propaganda in the First World War. The German soldiers should act despicably. The writing says that when soldiers have stopped playing artillery with children they will “naturally” hold their hands up high.
13 In the First World War the enemy propaganda paid special attention to the allegations, that the German soldiers had hacked the hands off the children in the enemy lands. The statements on the above pictures state: “Fortunately, my coat is too big; so you cannot see my hands.” In the lower picture kneels the little girl in front of a grave, in which is her hand.
[The following are individual pages depicting the individual propaganda posters and pamphlets corresponding to the numbered paragraphs in the above text. Each page has a German explanation included.]
[Taken from an pamphlet containing insanely exaggerated German casualty counts, often fifty times the true number, intended to instill fear.
Sevastopol is Invincible!
Again your High Command makes a nonsensical attempt, the stead fast, invincible Sevastopol.
The insane plans by the Hitler Generals in October and December of the previous years have cost the German Army 75,000 fallen soldiers and officers, 492 artillery, 350 tanks and fighting vehicles, 275 aircraft, and other war materials.
The current plan, to occupy Sevastopol, has already cost you:
In 10 days alone, from 7 to 16 of June, the German Armed Forces have suffered 60,000 men killed and wounded, 150 tanks and 120 aircraft.
On 12 June 3 Infantry regiments and a cavalry squad were annihilated. Your commanders are unaffected, and they are cleverly pulling out their reserves.
Sevastopol is invincible. Your attack will be crushed by the iron courage of her defenders.
[Five posters describing Winter 1942:]
Soviet Terror propaganda in Fall 1942: “The Winter will be as bad as ever”
[upper left corner poster]
“German Soldiers!” 1942 will be the year the Hitler Army is finally completely crushed.
Save your lives for the fortune of your homeland, for the future free Germany!”
[lower right corner poster]
“Frau [Miss] Hell is already there!”
In the Don steppes you see something different than in Germany.
This is not the well known good natured Frau Hell, whom merrily pours out fluffy flakes on the Earth.
The Russian Frau Hell this is.
Ice Cold Wind
Has your Frau Hell already granted you a visit?
[lower left corner poster]
“When you spare the bullet, then pack the white dead”
German soldiers! As always the inevitable return is near for you, the dreaded Russian winter.
Think of the Russian winter of 1941!
The Russian winter in which 300,000 German soldiers, freezing in snow and ice at 40-50 degree cold.
For many German soldiers their lung tissue will not stand up in the Russian ice air and will tear away. In the German positions will be found trains and companies of frozen soldier corpses…
The Russian winter that of thousands of tanks and tens of thousands of fighting vehicles, stuck with a German army fleeing in retreat.
The synthetic fuel, which the German army uses, is not forgotten by the severe cold, and the German lubricating oil will become hard as a rock.
With frostbitten fingers a German soldier writes his beloved on 28 February, to his fiancé, Herta Fug in Luisenheim by Marzell, Kandern southern Black Forest:
My dear Herta, dreadful, one can not describe it. I have 3 pairs of socks, 2 underwear, 2 shirts, 2 pullovers, 1 fur vest, the uniform and the coat, 2 pairs hand gloves. The other comrades are even worse off, no one has as much as I. We are not all living in this cold, however, worse than the cold is the snowstorm. The icy wind is terribly painful, and my frozen foot is swollen in places, and continues to flow out ooze. But one must always continue to march, march…”
The white dead have had life taken like a feather in the hand.
What will the second Russian war winter bring you all, the winter 1942?
[Official German Response follows]:
One conceals from you the weather forecasts of the meteorological stations of the world, below are the following in German,
The winter this time will be no worse than in previous years.
In this year the connecting line to your front will be extended further and will be …
Photo view taken of “massed German prisoners” in reality made up of a single group repeatedly re- printed in sections and assembled in one photo by the Soviets.
“70,000 German and Rumanian soldiers and officers have surrendered themselves!
70,000 of your comrades are living strictly according to the Red Army Order Nr. 55 of the Peoples Commissar for Defense of the Soviet Union, Stalin. This order guarantees forGerman officers and soldiers, whom have held out their weapons, life and good treatment.”
Falsified Photos portraying German Treatment
“Office like” uniform of a man, whom has supposedly just come from the front and surrendered to the Soviets in this photo.
This photo is composed of at least four different individual operations spliced together.
Concerning the provisioning of prisoners, Soviet propaganda is not clear about itself. Taken from 2 different pamphlets from December 1942.
In here one sees an art subject from a “painting” used as an original photo.
A view taken from the “German Retreat”…
… insertion taken from a real operation from the German advance from the DAZ. [Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung; German General Gazette]
Promise of excellent rationing for deserters. Every German soldier knows how much hunger is in Soviet Russia
“DIE REGIERUNG DER UdSSR”…
The Government of the USSR
…because of the gravity of all international laws covering prisoners of war. The Soviet Government Nr.1798 from 1. July 1941 and by order of the Peoples Commissar for the Defense of the USSR, Stalin, Nr. 55 from 23 February 1942, every Red Army captive whom survives will be guaranteed return to the homeland at wars end.
All prisoners of war are held in special camps, and will be visited by officials of the International Red Cross. The camps for the prisoners lay within areas of moderate climate.
The workdays for prisoners of war are 8 hours. The work will be paid.
[Red X] The prisoners of war in the USSR will receive warm food three times a day, 400g bread, 500g vegetables and potatoes, fat, meat, fish, sugar, tea and tobacco, the workers will receive 800g of bread.
The prisoners of war have the right to exchange and receive letters with their families through the International Red Cross.
[Text of poster on right hand side] Concerning: Prisoners of War Statement on the rationing of the Soviet troops and questions concerning the handling of prisoners of war by the Soviets
Nearly all prisoners of war brought in the last week say that, the feeding of the Soviet Troops as well as a mix of others is of entirely insufficient quality and amount. Already the bread rations are meager, however by chance you can occasionally see conservative portions of usually absent meat and fat and every single one costs. The few quality foodstuffs, which the Soviet troops on the whole have access to, come to the table and stomachs of the (mostly Jewish) leaders of the provisions depots, and from there, it is commandeered by their racial comrades, so at best not much makes it to the cooks.
After about 27. March 1943 members of the same company of prisoners of war reported the following: During their training time as members of a replacement defense regiment they were located next to a small prisoner of war camp with around 70 German prisoners of war. The posted service in front of this prisoner of war camp was securely held, so that the German prisoners of war with light or somewhat of an interest in employment work could be rationed better than the Soviet soldiers in the replacement defense regiment. They had made these observations and then told it to their NCO’s [sergeants], that this seemed to be a ploy of Soviet propaganda. It is in these small camps where the prisoners of war are located, that the Soviet pamphlets are widespread, and made visible to the German soldiers, intending to show the prisoners of war how good the Soviet treatment is.
Prisoners of war, members of a pioneer battalion, taken prisoner on 22. April 1943: On 24. January in Sassnowka I witnessed the following incident: 21 German prisoners of war were brought under guard by the 4th Red Army in a transport train. One of the prisoners was, as a result of hypothermia, unable to understand, and keep step with the others and halt. He was unceremoniously shot down by a red Army sentry. I witnessed another incident of prisoner of war shootings on 2. February in Jurjewo. Once a transport of more than a hundred German prisoners of war passed by. A Lieutenant gave one of the prisoners an order, which he did not follow, because he did not understand the order as he was exhausted. The lieutenant immediately pulled out his pistol and shot the prisoner on the spot. Shortly thereafter, more things were done to the prisoners by the Red Army here, and their watches, whistles, money bags, and similar articles were confiscated. The guards were unhindered, and made no further searches.
Report on the death of General Guderian, as “Foreign Press” and similar deceptions
General Guderian falls on the Eastern Front
The Turkish newspaper “Enl Sabah” announced: just reported the German General Guderian has fallen on the Soviet-German Front. The German high command still takes great pains to conceal the reality.
Is That Not Horrible?
“…We had driven a short time to where Paul was laid up. About 12 in the middle of the day we were in Arnsdorf. Lazarett is next to a large park with many housing blocks next to it. Here 16,000 men have been brought. With around 19,000 men laying within. You see that this gives a harmless picture of all you see around, and misleads only the young people. Is that not horrible?…>>
Internal Front in German Village
The Swiss paper, “The World Week” reports, from what has been seen, that the food supply in Germany is not up to adequate levels, and how it is failing today. The Germans are hoarding potatoes and other items…
The German Minister for [Nourishment ?] has given the order that potatoes be rationed…
Goering states that the agricultural efforts of the state have been sabotaged…
Front Announcements from German Front Papers and Press
Soldatenblatter fur Feier and Freizeit
Published by the High Command of the Wehrmacht
Soldiers Pamphlet for Holiday and Free Time
Order by the Peoples Commissar for Defense
23. February 1942 Nr. 55 Moscow
Comrades of the Red Army and Ordinary Sailors of the Red Fleet, Commanders and Political Functionaries, Partisans female partisans!
The 24th year of the Red Army celebration and the people of our land in the hard days of the Fatherlands fight against fascist Germany, whom in their bold and vicious attack which they have undertaken on the lives and freedom of our homeland. On the powerful front from the northern polar sea to the Black Sea march the combatants of the Red Army and the Navy in bitter fighting, to drive the fascist German invaders from our land and to defend the honor and the independence of our fatherland.
It is not the first time, that the Red….
[The Red X’s in these examples marks incorrect words and names, which have been crossed through in red. SS-Waffen instead of Waffen-SS, wehrmachtsleute [armed forces people], Ostkrieges [East war], instead of wehrmachtssoldaten [armed forces soldiers] or Ostlichfrontkampflinie [Eastern Front Lines].]
Views of a diary from a
German Regimental Commander
[This example shows the falsified diary on the left hand side of the page compared with the real Diary of the officer, Col. Schilling, on the right hand side, indicating the differences in the handwriting.]
Denigration of German Officers
[This page displays the Soviet falsified reports claiming cowardice by the officers mentioned, von Krosigk, Albrecht, and Schilder.
Details of the allegations are given in section 11 above.]
Enemy propaganda from the First World War: The Germans were ridiculous as they surrendered
[This is an example of a First World War propaganda poster from France, displaying how stupid and cowardly the German soldiers behaved.]
Enemy propaganda from the First World War: the mean horror marches from the “hacked off children’s hands.”
Related Resource: Documents Captured on German Submarine U-505
Acknowledgement: Translation of this document on propaganda from U-505 is courtesy of Stephen Paul Revai, a graduate of the Language Specialists International, Berlin.