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Current Combat Leaflets.

Paris : 1944 Stock Code: 113423
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Extremely uncommon internal psyops production, classified "Restricted", and numbered 36 in an unstated print-run. No records on Copac, OCLC, or KVK, but copies located at UCL in the papers of Sir Gavin de Beer, the influential evolutionary embryologist who served as lieutenant-colonel in charge of psychological warfare in the field at SHAEF, and following D-Day was supervisor of amplifier and leaflet units; Stillman Library, Lafayette College, PA, gift of Harold P. Fox, alumnus who served with PWD in Paris; Ray W. Barker papers in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS, Major-General Barker was a key member of COSSAC, and was Deputy Chief of Staff of the European Theatre from 1943-4, and Deputy Chief of Staff for SHAEF 1944-6, the library also has a similar piece in the Walter Bedell Smith papers; and in the William Harlan Hale papers, Yale University Library, a career journalist, Hale was on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, Washington Post, and Fortune, during WWII, and for a time afterwards, he served as an analyst and writer with PWD.

The introduction - which has the printed signatures of Capt. Martin A. Herz, chief, Combat Leaflets, Brig-Gen. R.A. McClure, chief of PWD, Richard Crossman, "Civilian Deputy, P.W.D.", and the live signature of Frank A. Kaufman, chief of the Leaflet Section - sets out the purpose of the publication, tying it specifically to the fast-changing circumstances following D-Day; "Leaflets appearing in this booklet are produced by the Leaflet Section, P.W.D.-SHAEF and dropped in the combat areas on the basis of available target and morale intelligence the majority of previous leaflets have been superseded by the changing military and moral picture The current, more or less 'timeless' leaflets shown on the following pages are available for dissemination by heavy or medium bombers The comments appearing under each leaflet are a guide in the selection and explain the reasoning, experience and policy on which they are based". In his postscript to this rubric, Brig.-Gen. McClure emphasises the need for secrecy; "The policy background and psychological reasoning behind our leaflet program and the attempted co-ordination with the prevailing battle situation, are matters which we wish to keep from the enemy, as they would be useful to his propaganda activities".

Each leaflet is mounted on a separate page with a printed description giving its identification number, together with a concise analysis of the psychological rationale behind its construction, and instructions for deployment. In the majority of cases English translations are provided in a format and layout that precisely parallels the German originals, offering a sense of the intended impact. This booklet contains an exceptional collection of the propaganda leaflets "distributed" to German forces in the five months following the D-Day. The first section contains the then current leaflets, showing the range of specific scenarios catered for. These include two variations of ZG45 - "probably the most successful single combat leaflet of the Western Campaign, judging from the returns of prisoners" - together with translation; "It is a 'battle-type' leaflet, designed for hard defensive fighting (from the German point-of-view). Its lack of any political appeal, and its short-term soldier-to-soldier language may have been responsible for its success The surrender instructions on the back of ZG73K are now the standard instructions for similar leaflets, based on the best available intelligence on surrender, capture and desertion": ZG69 - "Ihr seid jetzt abgeschnitten! You are now cut off!" - "Tactical 'Contingency' leaflet for enemy troops who are surrounded, cut off or (in the strategic sense) encircled. The unattractive letter-press printing is deliberate, creating an impression of urgency. This leaflet must NOT be dropped unless the situation described in it prevails. It would boomerang dangerously and jeopardize the credibility which we have achieved with our leaflet campaign so far": and ZG75 - "Frontsoldat: Frage die Heimat Front-line Soldier: ask the people at home" - "a 'double-purpose' leaflet for areas in which German soldiers are fighting under the eyes of German civilians. As this situation becomes more and more common, leaflets are more and more designed to appeal both to soldiers and civilians".

The appendix contains leaflets "that are no longer being disseminated", in order to "round out the picture of P.W.D. the combat leaflet operation, and because they represent propaganda lines which have been demonstrated as successful in the particular situations in which they were employed": ZG34 - "Generale Proklamieren Friedensregierung!" "'spot' treatment of the General's putsch" which reached "German soldiers in many cases well before the official German version of the event, and were the subject of considerable discussion on the part of Germans in Normandy": ZG36 - "Sir fehlt" - which emphasised the ineffectiveness of the Luftwaffe in Normandy and in the East, which was discontinued "when intelligence reports brought out the fact that the absence of the Luftwaffe is more or less an accepted fact now among German soldiers", as in one other case here there is an inked annotation to this page noting that this is an "Artillery Size" leaflet: and ZG57 - "Falaise: Das war das Ende". which graphically presents "the sickening slaughter of the Falaise Kesselschlacht in all its horror, as the result of holding out in a hopeless situation. Quantities were dropped on the beleaguered Brittany garrisons and strongpoints in the way of our advance. Returns from prisoners indicate that this leaflet successfully fulfilled its function". An interesting footnote on the printing of this booklet is that the presses of Georges Lang, who was forced to flee Jewish persecution in France in 1940, were used during the occupation for the production of the French edition of the German propaganda magazine Signal.

A fascinating, and genuinely scarce, piece, offering detailed insight into the increasing refinement of the weapons of psychological warfare during World War II.

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Quarto (268 x 207 mm). 24 leaves triple hole-punched and cord-tied in the original pinkish textured card wraps, titled in black on the front panel.


18 tipped-in original aerial propaganda leaflets, including two variants, 9 of them with specially printed full translations, mounting leaves with printed explanations of each.


Wraps a touch rubbed and a little sunned, some offsetting from the leaflets, and slight marking from the use of self-adhesive cellophane tape to attach them, but overall very good indeed.


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