SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
I have written about a dozen articles on various Allied and enemy leaflets of WWII. In general, there were two basic kinds of American white leaflets used in the Pacific. White leaflets are those that are clearly American in origin. Black leaflets are covert and hide their origin and might appear to be Japanese military or civilian documents.
The U.S. Navy used Office of War Information (OWI) personnel to produce leaflets on
. The leaflets were coded numerically, examples being 350 or 2400. The U.S. Army under General MacArthur produced leaflets that were coded with the letter J, examples being 10-J-1 or 15-J-3.The first numeral is the number of the leaflet in the series, the last numeral is the unit, so 20-J-6 would be the 20th leaflet produced for the U.S. 6th Army. In some cases the same general leaflet was produced by both the Army and the Navy, though there might be minor changes in the vignette or the text. The Army also printed some leaflets with an F instead of a J, these for the Filipinos. Readers who want to see more leaflets used in the Philippines should read my article A U.S. Army Newspaper Editor in the WWII Philippines. Saipan Island
There seems to have been some interchange between the Army and Navy PSYOP organizations. We see very similar images and text used by both, and in some of the leaflet data collected by Army personnel we find OWI leaflets. In the J. Robert Sandberg / Frank M. Hallgren PWB archives we find both types of leaflets. For example, they donated the following leaflets to the
: Universityof Nebraska
Propaganda Leaflets and Text, Nos. 500-2026 (OWI)
Propaganda Leaflets, Serial Nos. 2J1-123J1 (PWB) U.S.
OWI Leaflet 520 / PWB Leaflet 04-J-1
We are not exactly sure of the extent of partnership but there must have been considerable interchange and correspondence between the two organizations or how would Sandberg and Hallgren in the Philippine Islands have accumulated so many leaflets prepared by the OWI in
Saipan. We know that there were some OWI personnel attached to Allied headquarters to help with PSYOP planning and perhaps they were able to give the PWB propagandists some of their material to use as reference. For instance, OWI leaflet 520 Militarists oppose Surrender is found in the PWB files coded 04-J-1. OWI leaflet 518 American Generosity is found in the PWB files coded 03-J-1. The first 0 may indicate that the leaflet was also OWI.
In March, 2017, another PWB book appeared that had a great number of the OWI leaflets so there was apparently more interchange between the two organizations than I would have thought. The OWI leaflets were numbered: 104, 106, 403, 405, 407, 408, 410, 411, 507, 519, 701A, 706, 809, 2006 and 2009.
For more information on the OWI see my article OWI Pacific PSYOP Six Decades Ago.
The OWI Leaflet Newsletter dated 1 September 1945 (final issue). Tells us a little bit about the arrangement between the two propaganda agencies:
There was close liaison between the OWI representatives in PWB, and the OWI Honolulu office. Many of the leaflets distributed by the former were created and printed in Honolulu. Likewise, the Rakkasan News, a Philippines newspaper, was dropped in quantity by Superforts based in the Marianas.
An Early OWI Training Leaflet
A booklet entitled OWI Leaflet Maneuvers dated 6 October 1944 actually has an example of early OWI attempts at preparing a leaflet for
. The class was held in Japan without benefit of instruction or advice on leaflet technique from anyone with field experience. Eight new OWI agents were tasked with producing five leaflets completely on their own. They were assigned an artist named Gene Schnell, a Japanese translator named Sung Soo Whang, and a Davidson Printing Pressman named Richard Hubert. San Francisco
Richard and another agent named Vic Glasband designed and wrote the third leaflet aimed at Filipinos to encourage resistance and to urge the overthrow of the Japanese on the Philippine
Islands. They used a rather famous 1943 War Production Board Manuel Rey Isip image of a fighting Filipino already being used as a patriotic poster on the front, and added a long propaganda text on the back. The poster of course is in full color, the leaflet printed on the Davidson Press is in black and white. Some of the text in Tagalog is:
It was the dream of Rizal that one day the banner of National Sovereignty would wave over the
At the very brink of realization the dream of Rizal and the work for freedom of the Filipinos were frustrated by Japanese conquest and occupation
People of the Philippines, soon you will have the opportunity to join hands with your old friends, General MacArthur, who respects and reveres the noble flame of freedom that burns within the hearts of all Filipinos. Together we will deal a smashing blow to the Japanese and thus assure the liberation of the
The story of General MacArthurs escape from the
is well known. American resistance was crumbling, and President Roosevelt, realizing the tremendous propaganda victory the capture of an American general would mean to the Japanese, ordered MacArthur to escape on PT boat 41, 11 March 1942, and on 18 April 1942assume the office of Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area (SWPA) with headquarters in Philippines . He was now in command of American Army, Navy and Air units as well as Australian, British and Dutch military forces in the Southwest Pacific. Australia
Far Eastern Liaison Office
The Australians had been at war as part of the
British Commonwealthfor several years. Realizing the need for psychological operations (PSYOP), they began printing and disseminating leaflets in August 1942. Prior to 1944, the Australian agency known as the Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO) was responsible for disseminating propaganda to all enemy troops and civilians. FELO produced more than 58 million leaflets in six different languages and numerous native dialects. The Australian War Memorial has 2,635 different FELO leaflets in its collection.
The Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) served as Gen. Douglas MacArthur's intelligence and covert action organization from July 1942 to the end of the war. It was a combined U.S.-Australian activity headquartered in
. FELO operated as Section D of the AIB. In June 1944 when MacArthur authorized the Psychological Warfare Bureau, FELO was confined to operations involving Australian, British and Dutch forces. Melbourne
Author Martin Bennett mentions Allied propaganda booklets reaching the
in late 1942. These could have been FELO or AIB products: Philippines
Mitsuo Fuchida was in the
in the fall of 1943 establishing air bases and while in a Japanese-occupied military dwelling was thunderstruck to find, on a table, several copies of a booklet entitled I Shall Return. The issues that Fuchida referred to were from December 1942 to May 1943. Now I understood much more clearly the hostility of the local people. Such literature as this gave them hope and encouragement, assuring them that their allies had neither forgotten them now written them off as expendable. If the Philippines United Statescould smuggle these into the , it could also bring in munitions, supplies and agents. Philippines
Note: Fuchida was the lead pilot in the attack on
Pearl Harbor. He was interviewed by historian Gordon William Prange in a book entitled Gods Samurai: lead pilot at Pearl Harbor.
Stanley Sandler, in Cease Resistance: Its Good for you! A history of U.S. Army Combat Psychological Operations, 1999, lists the ten basic rules of psychological warfare adopted by FELO:
1. Be Paternal but not cold.
2. Avoid a superior attitude.
3. Do not offend or humiliate the enemy.
4. Avoid boasting.
5. Never blame the psywar recipients for the war.
6. Never corner the enemy without showing a way out.
7. Iterate that death is not the natural destiny of the Japanese soldier.
8. Be sincere.
9. Encourage psywar targets to draw their own conclusions.
10. Show that
could have a bright postwar future. Japan
There were some members of the American Office of War Information assigned to the Australians, but MacArthur wanted none at his headquarters and no Office of Strategic Services (OSS) personnel in his entire theatre.On the rare occasion when MacArthur seemed to relent, his aides who were managing the various espionage and propaganda units put their foot down. They were very protective of the General. There are some wonderful stories of the espionage operations that took place as our friendly forces tried to infiltrate MacArthurs headquarters. The
OSSmanaged to get a naval officer into MacArthurs HQ in the ; he was ferreted out and sent home. Our British Allies in M.I. 6 were so frustrated at their lack of knowledge of what MacArthur was doing that they used Ian Morrison, a reporter of the London Times in Philippines as a spy. When MacArthurs chief of the Psychological Warfare Branch submitted a plan for secret operations against Australia Japanthe criticized it. MacArthurs headquarters responded, Our experts state that your experts are obviously mere superficial observers. OSS
We find another mention of the generals distrust of the OSS in A Covert Affair, Jennet Conant, Simon and Shuster, New York, 2011:
MacArthur loathed Donovan with a monumental hatred. The antagonism between the two was so deep that MacArthur had even sworn to court martial any OSS member caught operating in what he considered his exclusive territory. Rumor had it that the feud had its roots in the fact that Donovan had won the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War I, for capturing a German machine-gun nest single-handed, while MacArthur had been twice nominated for the medal and been twice denied
Note the word rumor above. There may be no truth to the story.
Major General Charles A. Willoughby defends MacArthurs WWII decision in MacArthur 1941-1951, McGraw-Hill, NY, 1951:
In Washington, Wild Bill Donovans OSS operatives had a fixed idea that they were arbitrarily kept out of MacArthurs Southwest Pacific Theater. Actually, MacArthur had to go along without the OSS because he couldnt afford to wait for it. Unlike the war in Europe, the U.S. war in Asia was a shooting war from the start. Where the OSS in Washington had time to gather information about North Africa, about the soft underbelly of the Axis in the Mediterranean and about Europe in general, MacArthur had to improvise his intelligence from scratch with the Japanese breathing down his neck
His G2 section was handed the job of organizing an Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) to interrogate prisoners and translate captured documents; an Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) to conduct clandestine operations, sabotage and espionage behind enemy lines (a counterpart of OSS); an Allied Geographical section (AGS) to gather and publish geographical information; and a Central Bureau (CB) to provide crypto- analytical services. To help get accurate information about what the Japanese were up to, the AIB took over the Royal Australian Navys system of coast watchers.
Colonel Allison Ind gives another reason in for the rejection of OSS assets in Allied Intelligence Bureau Our Secret Weapon Against Japan, McKay Company, 1958. Allison says:
MacArthur felt that the various unorthodox units he was taking over from General Blaney [Australia] and the Dutch might submit to a certain amount of control from him there on the spot, but he was convinced that an attempt at domination by or absorption into another intelligence unit based in Washington would prove to be unworkable.
Starting about mid-1943, all leaflets had to be approved by South West Pacific Area headquarters. MacArthur was starting to realize the value of psychological warfare.
Psychological Warfare Branch
Psychological Warfare Branch Emblem
MacArthur used the Australians to help train his own people, drafted some FELO specialists and in June 1944 authorized the formation of the Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB). This agency actually existed to help MacArthur reconquer the
, a burning desire that had driven him since his defeat by the Japanese. As a result, the two organizations areas of responsibility were divided, with FELO targeting the old Australian, British, and Dutch areas while the PWB targeted the Philippines . Philippines
The PWB is mentioned in the classified report Intelligence in War MacArthurs Intelligence Service 1941-1945. It says in part:
The establishment of an American Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB) was approved by the Chief of Staff as a continuation of FELO, then operating primarily in British and Dutch territories. Leaflets were fired from 25-pounders and mortars, and thousands were dropped by the U.S. Air Force. Front-line broadcasts were developed to send messages to Japanese troops. Mobile propaganda units exploited recently reoccupied and enemy occupied territory to win native support for the Allied forces. In the battle for Manila, radio broadcasts were frequently employed in the expectation of lowering enemy morale and inducing the Japanese to surrender In the period 1942 to 1945 a total of 222 million leaflets and news sheets were produced [this would be by FELO and PWB combined].
PWB initially consisted of seventeen U.S. Army officers, and twenty enlisted men. They were joined by nine Australian members of FELO. Some OWI personnel were also attached to Allied headquarters to help with PSYOP planning. We should point out that the two organizations often worked closely together and some leaflets appear to have been dropped by both. In this article we will call all the J leaflets Psychological Warfare Branch, but it is understood that they might have been created with the help of the Australians and may have been disseminated in some of FELOs areas of operations. For instance, although a restricted document dated 1 December 1944 from The Psychological Warfare Detachment at SWPA headquarters clearly shows leaflet 6J1 (Abandoned) as a U.S. product, the Guide to the FELO Collection of the Australian War Memorial states that it is an Australian leaflet to Japanese troops. It is possible that since the Americans and Australians worked in partnership at PWB both sides took credit for the leaflet. In general the fact sheets that translated all the PWB leaflets used the following heading: Psychological Warfare
Branch, U.S.Army Forces, Pacific Area, APO500.
Brigadier General Bonner F. Fellers
Brigadier General Bonner F. Fellers was MacArthurs personal secretary and assigned as his psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) chief and thus in charge of PWB. In 1935 he wrote a paper entitled: The Psychology of the Japanese Soldier. Colonel Al Paddock says in U.S. Army Special Warfare - Its Origins,
, 2002: University of Kansas Press, KS
Fellers, a 1918 West Point graduate, was one of a very few
senior officers in the Pacific who had actually studied the Japanese military in some depth prior to the war. His Basic Military Plan for Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area, completed in August 1944, provided the Psychological Warfare Branch with its organizational structure, goals, and operating procedures. Fellers believed that the purpose of psychological warfare was to further the military effort by weakening the fighting spirit of the enemy and thus hasten U.S. 's decision to surrender. Japan
In his Foreword to the Basic Military Plan for Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area he wrote:
All commanders realize the importance of high morale as a major factor in military success. To lower morale in an enemy army is as vital a mission as to establish and maintain high morale among our own troops.
A soundly conceived, effectively executed campaign of psychological warfare is as basic a part of any modern military operation as are tactics and logistics.
Enemy armies are comprised of soldiers who are individuals - people. What these people think and believe governs what they do, how well they fight and how long they fight. The mental attitudes of enemy civilians likewise have a direct and important bearing on the duration of the war and a close relationship to the fighting effectiveness of enemy troops.
Psychological warfare is the MILITARY application of the science, which analyzes, predicts and influences the behavior of people. In this theater, it includes all activity directed against
except guerilla and orthodox warfare and physical sabotage. Japan
A properly directed psychological warfare program in the
Far Eastcould achieve objectives of far reaching consequence. A stubborn , the heroic resistance of the Philippine people, and the stupidity of the Japanese aggressors prevented a racial war. Only by winning the peace can we avert a future racial war. China
The favorable reaction of Oriental peoples to invading forces from the West is dependent upon a clear understanding of Western tolerance and liberalism. It is a responsibility of psychological warfare agencies to inform Oriental peoples of the idealistic and unselfish purposes of our war aims. Establishment of mutual respect and trust between Occidental and Oriental peoples presents to psychological warfare agencies a challenge of the highest order.
Allison B Gilmore says in You Can't Fight Tanks With Bayonets,
Universityof Nebraska Press, , 1998: Lincoln, NE
Feller's Basic Military Plan established three functional divisions with PWB: the Collation Section, the Planning Department, and the Production Section. Situated between these three sections and the Office of the Military Secretary in the chain of command was the executive officer, Colonel J. Woodall Greene. As executive officer, Greene implemented Feller's plans and policies, supervised administration, and coordinated the work of the three section chiefs and the field units. He also comprised the Weekly Military Plan for Psychological Warfare designed to achieve the organization's objectives in light of the changing military situation. Each week's plan was submitted to Fellers for his approval, and then distributed to the Collation, Planning and Production divisions to insure a coordinated effort.
The Collation Section studied intelligence reports from all over the
Asiaand the Pacific and identified Japanese vulnerabilities and ways to exploit them. The Planning Department prepared the PSYWAR operations. It scheduled leaflets drops, newspaper publication and radio broadcasts. It forwarded weekly directives to the Production Section where the newscasts, leaflets. news-letters and magazines were actually produced.
What the Japanese PW thinks of Thought Warfare
Since we mention the Collation Section we should depict one classified confidential publication that was produced by that section entitled What the Japanese PW thinks of Thought Warfare. This 3 May 1945 PWB booklet was meant to teach the PWB staff what was right and what was wrong with their leaflets. The reader will notice that we mention Japanese critiques of many of the leaflets in this article. In most cases those comments came from this booklet.
Many of the Japanese prisoners were more than happy to help the Americans. One suggested three major themes:
The Japanese soldier must be convinced that he will be treated humanely upon surrender. The Japanese soldier must be convinced that American weapons are far superior to his own.
The Japanese soldier must understand the hopelessness of his own situation, and those of other Japanese in other sectors.
Of course, it was not only the Americans who wanted to influence the Filipinos by the use of propaganda. The Japanese were also busy from their first day of occupation as is documented by the classified confidential G2 (Intelligence) report, Japanese Propaganda in the
, dated 25 February 1945. The report says that from the beginning of the Japanese occupation an extensive and systematic propaganda program was set into motion. The report quotes from a captured Most Secret Japanese military administration document. The Japanese document is over 20 pages long so we shall just mention a few pertinent points: Philippines
We must promptly revive in the Filipinos the spirit of the
Far East. We must encourage them to live and die along with us by rousing their racial pride We must study and understand the Filipinos as to their character, values, racial characteristics, racial feelings, customs, habits, virtues and faults Propaganda must be promptly adapted to the characteristics of the area, to the existing attitudes of the people, particularly where they are concentrated.
Curiously, after studying their new proposed allies, the Japanese listed their characteristics. These were not very flattering. Of the 26 Filipino traits, we note:
They are four-flushers and show-offs; they are lazy and despise labor; they are much inclined to gambling and idleness; their standard of good taste is very low; they like drinking exceedingly; they can tell lies so calmly that it is very hard to tell whether it is true or not.
With this attitude toward the Filipinos, it is easy to see why they treated them badly and were never able to win their loyalty and friendship. The Japanese Propaganda campaign was four steps.
1. The first was anti-American propaganda with the regular use of such terms as American Imperialism, American exploitation, and American tyranny.
2. The second step was the liberation of the Philippines with constant reminders that America did not liberate the Philippines, but the Japanese had every intention of doing so. The Japanese regularly used such terms as the free and independent
Philippines, the Philippine Republic, and the for the Filipinos. Philippines
3. The third step was the Greater
East AsiaCo-Prosperity Sphere. Once the Philippines were free of American influence and believed itself to be an Asian nation the Japanese would absorb it into their Co-Prosperity Sphere, a union of all Asian peoples they called, one big family of equitable give and take.
4. The final step was the use of pro-Japanese propaganda to create a willingness of the Filipinos to submit and accept guidance from the Japanese Empire.
Sixth Army Commander Lieutenant General Walter Krueger U.S.
General MacArthur had personally selected Walter Krueger as one of his commanders. He said about him:
I dont think history has given him due credit for his greatness. I do not believe that the annals of America have shown his superiority as an army commander. Swift and sure in attack; tenacious and determined in defense; modest and restrained in victory I dont know what he would have been in defeat because he was never defeated. The great mantle of Stonewall Jackson would certainly fit his ample frame.
MacArthur argued with Krueger on several occasions when he wanted the Sixth Army to race into enemy territory to gain ground at the risk of his soldiers. On one occasion he demanded that Manila be taken by his birthday, on another he moved his HQ ahead of Kruegers trying to embarrass him into an attack. Krueger was a soldiers general and refused to send his men forward with exposed flanks where they might be surrounded and killed. He believed in Special Forces and used the Alamo Scouts as a long range reconnaissance unit to find and identify the enemy. He formed his own Ranger Battalion. In the early fighting in New Guinea, Krueger had a 14 to 1 kill ratio over the Japanese troops. When he landed in the Philippines and was greatly outnumbered against a dug-in enemy, Krueger upped the ratio to 19 to 1. Near the end of the battle when he was fighting die-hard fanatics in Manila, Krueger reached a 21 to 1 ratio. Even after the arguments about Kruegers careful planning and the way he nurtured his soldiers, MacArthur chose him to lead the ground forces for the prospective invasion of the Japanese homeland. He had complete faith in his subordinate. Of course, the dropping of the atom bombs assured that invasion would never take place.
U.S. Army Tank Approaches 6th Army Headquarters in the Philippines
The U.S. Sixth Army, Commanded by Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, the son of a WWI Prussian Army officer, was deeply involved in leaflet design and production even before they reached the Philippines. Carl Berger mentions their PSYOP during the Philippine campaign in: An Introduction to Wartime leaflets, The American University Special Operations Research Office,
, 1959. He says in regard to the U.S. Sixth Army: Washington D.C.
On 11 September 1944 the G2 (Intelligence section) of the Sixth Army, which had been designated to make the invasion, drew up a detailed "Basic Sixth Army Plan for Psychological Warfare." The plan concluded that it was essential that the propaganda campaign against the Japanese should create a receptive attitude toward leaflets, to develop confidence in our truthfulness and possible dependence upon our leaflets as a source of news concealed by their own leaders.
The PWB published an 11-page booklet entitled Psychological Warfare in the Sixth Army The
LuzonCampaign. Some of the more pertinent facts in the booklet are:
The strategic dropping of leaflets on the target was begun by PWB, General Headquarters in mid-November 1944. 8,500,000 leaflets for example, being dropped during the month of May, and a total of 29,500,000 were dropped throughout the period 9 January to 30 June.
Of all leaflets, 92% were dropped by supporting units of the Fifth Air Force (the 308th Bombardment Wing, the 310th Bombardment Wing and the Fifth Bomber Command), 8% were dropped by artillery liaison planes. Artillery shells were employed to distribute leaflets on only a few occasions because of the difficulties of transporting the ammunition.
Paper Bullets How they Beat the Jap
Speaking of artillery, it was very difficult to get the U.S. Army cannon-cockers to shoot leaflets at the enemy. They wanted to send high explosives over the front lines and cause extensive death and destruction. The PWB knew that the leaflets would expedite surrenders which would lead directly to military intelligence and a more efficient method to fight the war and a quicker victory. The PWB printed the restricted booklet Paper Bullets How they Beat the Jap in an attempt to motivate the artillerymen to use the leaflet shells. The booklet even asks the rhetorical question:
What the hell kind of war is this firing leaflets at the enemy? Nobody ever got killed with a hunk of paper Psychological Warfare, thats what the Army calls it.
The 8-page booklet features one of the early I surrender leaflets aimed at the Japanese Army, explains the power of combat propaganda, and instructions on how to load and fire the leaflet shells. The back of the booklet depicts a Japanese soldier surrendering.
Headquarters, Sixth Army, produced a record of their PSYOP campaign entitled Enemy on Luzon: an intelligence summary. It says in part:
When hostilities broke out between Japan and the United States, it was the common belief that no Japanese would ever fall into our hands, much less that he would surrender to our forces. Past events have shown, however, that such belief was erroneous. Japanese prisoners were captured, and more than half of those taken on Luzon voluntarily surrendered. A total of 7,297 prisoners of war were taken during the Luzon Operation; of these, approximately 5,100 were voluntary surrenders.
The strongest and most effective of the forces which reduced the Japanese morale was hunger brought on by the disruption of enemy supply lines. This factor was exploited, as well as other motivating forces, by Psychological Warfare. Among these were the cruelty of his officers, the hopelessness of the situationaccentuated by the devastating effectiveness of our bombing and shelling.
Sixth Army Leaflet 102-J-6
This example of a tactical Sixth Army leaflet was prepared to be used against the Japanese defenders of
. It depicts the Japanese in a box and clearly surrounded. Some of the text is: Mt. Malepunyo
SOLDIERS OF THE
This is the position of the
FujiHeidan on Southern Luzon. There is no safe place where you can retreat. We have prepared receiving stations for Japanese prisoners who are crossing our lines. You can stay in your isolated positions or you can come over to us and live
By December 1944 the unit known as the
Heidan consisted of about 6,000 troops under the command of Colonel Masatoshi Fujishige. This unit was hard Corps and the Colonel is known to have told his troops, Kill American troops cruelly. Do not kill them with one stroke. Shoot guerrillas. Kill all who oppose the Emperor, even women and children. Since the leaflet mentions Mt. Malepunyo we can pinpoint its use to about the second week of April of 1945. Fuji
Another leaflet targeting the Japanese forces on Luzon was 31-J-6. It is all-text and warns the Japanese soldiers of the American approach:
The Unites States Army will occupy this area in the near future. The Japanese High Command knows that Luzon is impossible to defend. But to save the face of those high officers you are condemned to fight and die in the mountains. You will never see your homeland again. You have been warned. Cease resistance now.
The Commanding General, U.S. Forces.
Berger goes on to point out that before the invasion of the Philippines, advance leaflets were dropped including bomb warnings, messages from General MacArthur and Philippine President Osmena announcing the return of the legitimate government, and a warning to the Japanese to treat Allied prisoners properly. Just prior to the landings, leaflets were dropped as part of a disinformation campaign to make the Japanese think that the invasion would hit the beaches of
Mindanao. A week before the landings, 60,000 leaflets were dropped over Mindanaowith the title, Coming events cast their shadows, code number 3-J-6. General Yamashita (the Tiger of Malaya) later admitted that he expected Mindanao to be the target instead of Leyte.
The Leaflet Newsletter dated 1 June 1945 talks about the immediate production of propaganda when
U.S.troops landed in the : Philippines
Most psychological warfare is fought with words. But words can have high explosive power. When MacArthur finally returned with men and weapons, his landing craft also brought portable printing presses, radio equipment and loud-speakers ashore. A unit of the Office of War Information came in with the first wave and moved into Tacloban with the infantry. The OWI boys hunted up the local printer, re-opened his print shop while Jap planes still roared overhead. Within 24 hours the first Free
Leaflets were being dropped, with the banner headlines: Philippines
Americans Landin Philippines
Underground workers placed a copy on the-desk of Jose Laurel, puppet president.
In less than a day, the Voice of Freedom went on the air and MacArthur was broadcasting to the people of Mindanao, Leyte and
I Have Returned
This was part of a growing, general offensive against the pillboxes of the Jap mind.
The OWI forces in the Philippines are mentioned in the December 1944 issue of the WWII classified magazine Outpost News; U.S. Office of War Information Outpost Service Bureau. Some of the comments are:
First newspaper to be published in the
Philippinessince our men landed there October 20 was the Leyte Samar Free , which made its appearance Sunday, October 29. Its headline read Philippines s 16th Division Shattered. Japan
Romulo began making daily broadcasts October 31, President Osema has agreed to go on for us whenever he has something official he wants to announce.
Acting Deputy Director George E. Taylor adds:
Naturally, our first target is the Japanese home front. And after that, the Japanese troops in the field...One of our greatest problems is getting enough workers who speak Japanese At present we are working a PWB arrangement under MacArthur
Free Philippines Magazine - 1 August 1944
William B. Breuer mentions the Free Philippines Magazine in MacArthurs Undercover War, Castle Books, Edison, N.J., 2005:
Hundreds of thousands of copies of a pictorial magazine entitled Free Philippines were printed each month and shipped into the islands in huge cargo-carrying submarines. Splashed across the covers in huge, bold letters were the words I shall return. Loaded with pertinent photographs, the magazines reviewed the progress of the war on a factual basis. Maps, with angry-looking arrows pointing directly toward the Philippines, helped explain the true war picture and MacArthurs goal to the hard pressed natives and guerrillas.
Newspaper, Volume 1 Issue 1 Philippines
This newspaper dated Sunday, March 25, 1945
reports the landing of General MacArthur on the Philippine islands.
As soon as the Sixth Army made landfall on Leyte the first thing they printed was a copy of the propaganda newspaper Free
Sandler mentions the newspaper: Stanley
The most widespread and popular PWB Philippine news sheet was Free
. This daily journal had actually pre-dated the American landings, being delivered to waiting guerrillas by submarine Free Philippines was published in both English and Tagalog, but English was strongly preferred as being more official. Citizens would wait in line patiently for up to an hour for a copy .In all the areas through which we passed the people were famished for news. Whenever we stopped to deliver a few copies of Free Philippines , people literally stormed the weapons carrier for their copy. Philippines
The Japanese Newspaper "The Leyte Newslette"
The Japanese had their own propaganda newspaper in the Philippines printed in Manila and entitled The Leyte Newlette (sic) for some unknown reason. I have read a few copies and they are generally full of German and Japanese military victories. The headline of the 8 December 1944 issue is:
Philippinesjoins other East Asianations to celebrate 3rd Anniversary of GEA War. GEA of course stands for Greater East Asia.
Returning to the Sixth Army:
Between October 1944 and January 1945, when organized resistance on
Leytepractically came to an end, an estimated 20,000,000 leaflets had been distributed throughout the islands. In January, Sixth Army moved onto the main ... In a six month period an estimated 28,500,000 leaflets were disseminated over the island. During the final stages of the islandof Luzon Luzonfighting, the emphasis in the American leaflets was on surrender. About 4,500,000 of the leaflets aimed at the Japanese emphasized the good treatment theme; some 6,670,000 other leaflets were safe conduct passes.
Perhaps because of the leaflet campaign, 12,000 Japanese surrendered in the
. That is more than in any other campaign in the Pacific. The Sixth Army captured 7,297 Japanese troops and 70% of them came over holding surrender leaflets. Sixth Army reported: Philippines
The psychological warfare campaign during the
LuzonCampaign was the most effective one carried on by the Sixth Army and demonstrated the power of propaganda as a tactical weapon.
There was also a Basic Military Plan for Psychological Warfare Against Japan prepared by the
Joint Chiefs of Staff. This plan included the following objectives or themes: United States
Undermine morale by convincing the Japanese that:
Military defeat is inevitable. Their land and air forces are inadequate; their tactics and equipment inferior; their fleet impotent.
Their country is blockaded; their Pan-Asian dream is dead.
Their country is divided. Disunity exists among the army, navy and air forces; between the civil and military population; and between officers and enlisted men.
Continuation of the war will destroy
Charge the military clique with the responsibility of the war:
Cite their incompetence in foreign affairs and on the home and fighting fronts.
Prove that they have lied and are still lying about the war.
Explain the exploitation of racial prejudice.
Show the misrepresentation of Western people.
Charge them with the responsibility for national disaster.
Drive a wedge between the Emperor and the people on one hand, and the military clique on the other.
Encourage the people to:
Rally to save what is left of their country.
Destroy the military clique and form a peace government.
Throw themselves on the mercy of the
. United States
Sue for peace on our terms.
As you will see as we study the leaflets by theme. Almost every one of the above concepts is found in one or more leaflets.
Staff Sergeant Richard A. Cross
SSG Richard Cross was the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily collation summary of the Psychological Warfare Branch at General Headquarters. As we stated above, the Collation Section studied intelligence reports from all over the
Asiaand the Pacific and identified Japanese vulnerabilities and ways to exploit them. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his exceptional performance from 7 May to 2 September 1945. His citation states that, Through his effort, a system for analyzing enemy reactions to psychological warfare was instituted which proved of inestimable value in operational planning.
Suggestion for a Propaganda Leaflet
Richard Cross had many talents. We can see from the above suggestion that besides doing important intelligence work he also wanted to take part in the design and wording of leaflets. Here, he forwards the following comments to his superiors on 23 July 1945:
One of Americas biggest assets in this war is her superior productive capacity in relation to Japans This power has been consistently played up in our propaganda I know, but how specific have the statements been? I am again suggesting a leaflet which avoids generalization. The story of our production is so powerful that if told clearly it will do much to show the Japanese the futility of further resistance.
I suggest a map contrasting the land mass of the two nations. I would then add text comparing the production of planes, ships or tanks. We could also talk about the comparative production of steel, aluminum, etc.
On another occasion he suggested a threatening leaflet to the Japanese people:
The Japanese people expect a sharp increase in the air and naval bombardment in the coming months. Just how much of an increase can be clearly shown in a simple chart broken down into three 6-month periods.
1. From the fall of
Saipan, July 1944 to January 1945.
2. From January 1945 to July 1945.
3. Estimated from July 1945 to January 1946.
I believe that this chart, with a heading such as What can the Japanese people expect in the coming months? can be used without additional copy. However, it might be advisable to conclude, In the next six months
Japanwill feel heavier bomb loads than ever experienced by . Germany
Official PWB Product Scrapbook
Sample pages from the Official PWB Product Scrapbook
During his time with General Headquarters in the
Richard Cross kept several scrapbooks of the material that PWB produced. At the end of the war he was given permission to bring them home. The official letter authorizing the scrapbooks is dated 1 November 1945. I tell you all this because the majority of leaflets that we depict in this article came directly from the scrapbook put together by SSG Cross.This personal scrapbook of Richard A. Cross bearing 86 PWB leaflets, 29 photographs and 70 typed pages was sold on EBay in June 2012 for $717. That was a bargain price considering the historical value. A second Cross scrapbook containing 128 U.S. propaganda leaflets, 26 Japanese leaflets and 29 official Signal Corps photographs sold in August 2012 for $4050. Perhaps seeing the prices these scrapbooks were sold for, the scrapbook of Major William Taylor was offered in November 2012 for $5,000. However, this book had already been heavily picked and contained just 40 different leaflets, many in duplicate to show the backs. As a result, the book received no bids. It was auctioned again in July 2013 estimated at $400. It sold for $484. Philippines
Staff Sergeant Bill Wooley
Bill Wooley was a member of the Psychological Warfare Branch who started as a U.S. Army Private First Class with the invasion of the
and ended up as a Staff Sergeant by the end of the war. He had been recruited by the PWB about March, 1944, while in the Replacement Depot in Philippines . He was sent to Milne Bay, New Guinea where he spent the next three months learning the art and science of psychological operations. He was then assigned to the Army Air Force 308th Bomber Wing in Australia , a unit flying the North American Billy Mitchell B-25 twin-engine medium bomber. It is worth noting that other members of his unit were assigned to the Fifth Air Force, the 7th Bomber Group, the 494th Bomb Group, the 319th Bomb Group, the 11th Bomb Group and the 41st Bomb Group. Apparently every bomber organization got a PWB representative. Hollandia, New Guinea
When the Americans hit the beaches of the Philippine Islands on 20 October 1944, Bill was on an LST and arrived at
Leytethe day after the initial landings. He saw the entire battle of the Leyte Gulfand regularly dropped propaganda leaflets using C-47 Skytrain military cargo plane, B-25s and various fighter aircraft. He points out that most fighter pilots did not want to do leaflet missions (they had to fly low and slow and were targets for enemy anti-aircraft), but they always performed their mission. Apparently the fighters were P-47 Thunderbolts because a letter from 5th Air Force asks:
Your activity with P-47s in carrying out PWB missions is most interesting. Would you give me a description of the technique used in getting the leaflets out of the planes without injury to the pilot or canopy? Id like to pass this information on to the 310th Wing.
Leaflet bombs are still in the theoretical stage. If you find the opportunity to use the caps and fuse, give it a try, especially utilizing a 12,000 to 15,000 foot altitude. If the caps detonate anywhere below 3,000 feet, the result should prove satisfactory. Pin-pointing must be narrowed to an area less than a mile square.
P-47s using dive-bombing tactics or coming in at tree-top level seems to be our only answer at present.
Leaflets were also sent to
Tinian Islandfor dissemination by bombers, and Navy carrier planes dropped them on and other targets. Bill sometimes took part in the night drop of tactical leaflets on Manila Manilain support of the Army Infantry and Cavalry units. Although he had no part in the printing of leaflets he did have some input into their content. He also took part in some loudspeaker operations, including one occasion in southern Luzon where he rigged an amplifier on the wings of a small two-man Stinson L-5 Sentinel observation spotter aircraft and flew over a tough Japanese unit dug into a deep canyon and broadcast surrender appeals from American Nisei troops. U.S.
One of the Psychological Warfare Branch tents in the Philippines.
Notice that many of the leaflets hanging on the wall are also depicted in this article.
Bill received a commendation from his commander on 4 December 1944 that stated in part:
Captain Anderson has shown me your leaflet dropping report for 30 November. This is one of the finest pieces of work so far accomplished in our PWB activities and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you upon your endeavors.
Bill also had a PWB scrapbook and told me that he believed that every member of the unit was awarded such a souvenir scrapbook upon discharge. Many of the leaflets in this article are from Bills scrapbook. Bill is probably correct because a Fifth Air Force Letter dated 28 October 1945 says:
The following item of American military equipment is hereby declared to be the personal property of SSG Bill Wooley. This equipment is surplus to the various agencies of the War department and its release conforms to the rules and regulations established by superior headquarters.
One PWB Leaflet Book
Okinawa the Testing Ground
The first large-scale use of PSYOP in the Pacific was the
Okinawacampaign. More than six million leaflets were dropped on Japanese troops. The result was the surrender of 11,409 Japanese prisoners of war. Fifth Fleet carrier planes alone dropped some five million leaflets on the island. The psychological warfare teams' immediate objective was to depress Japanese morale so that the enemy soldiers would surrender rather than resist. The long-range goal was more ambitious: to promote the idea that Okinawans were ethnically and culturally different from the home island Japanese. The leaflets told the Japanese soldier why and how they should surrender and the Okinawan citizens not to be afraid, for they were not regarded as the enemy. The PSYOP campaign was considered a great success and a similar campaign was planned for the . Philippines
It is interesting to note that there were a great number of trained personnel in the PSYOP field that had studied the Japanese in depth and regularly told their superiors that a proper psychological warfare campaign against the Japanese would be successful and lead to their surrender. They saw the Japanese morale cracking and read the dairies of dead soldiers and interviewed prisoners who were generally more than happy to talk. Politicians in Washington and field commanders did not believe them. In regard to
Okinawa, according to John W. Dower in War without Mercy Race and Power in the Pacific War, Pantheon Books, NYC, 1986:
Until the final stage in the invasion of
Okinawa, psychological warfare was seldom employed against the Japanese, who were regarded popularly as too inhuman to be propagandized.
To be honest, the propaganda campaign against Okinawa was mostly carried out by the Navy-OWI unit on
Saipan. They dropped a series of leaflets coded 131, 416, 535, 536, 1027, 1050, 1055 and 2079. However, the PWB did prepare leaflets that used Okinawaas a theme. The above leaflet depicts American soldiers meeting Okinawan children and families. Some of the text is:
Okinawa, once a grim battlefield, the storm has passed and peace is returning
Under the friendly protection of Americans, reconstruction is going on. The present conditions in
Okinawaclearly refute the propaganda of the militarists.
The statement of U.S. President Truman that unconditional surrender does not mean enslavement or extermination is fully borne out by the situation on
It is very interesting to note that the Japanese also employed some propaganda against U.S. troops on Okinawa. They never had air superiority, so I assume that their leaflets were left where they believed American troops might congregate. The leaflets were apparently prepared by a band of German propagandists that worked out of Shanghai even after the German surrender. One of the leaflets had the image of a dead American soldier draped over a machine gun and text in part:
Today at the front, he died. A young American soldier, a human being, like you or I.
Tomorrow, more will be killed there will be no end to human suffering in months and years to come
Techniques are honed Formosa
It is hard to believe now, but there was a time when there was a bitter debate about whether the
United Statesshould invade Luzon on the Philippinesor the . Of course, MacArthur wanted The Islandof Formosa and he eventually had his way. However, a great number of leaflets were prepared and dropped over Philippines in preparation for a possible future attack by both the Army and the Navy. The PWB leaflets bear the letters FO for Formosa , examples being 1-FO-1 and 2-FO-1. Formosa
This leaflet depicts a Chinese War God on the front and a Chinese religious figure on the back. Formosans would recognize both these figures. The text is in Chinese and Japanese. The label is entitled Future of
, and attempts to give hope to the people awaiting their liberation. Some of the text is: Formosa
of the Solomons, one defeat has followed another. Now even Battle Manila, the heart of the Greater East Asia has been lost. The Japanese homeland and military installations on have been subject to almost uninterrupted bombing Formosa
CairoDeclaration states that s aggression and imperialism must go. Japan Koreashall have independence and Formosashall be returned to so that each race shall be able to build its own freedom and happiness China
This leaflet was also prepared to inform the Formosans of the Allied plans for their future. It depicts a dove of peace holding the propaganda message in its beak. One side is in Chinese, the other side in Japanese. Some of the text is:
On December 1, 1943, the conference of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, held in
Cairo, Egypt, made public the so-called Declaration. It read, in part, as follows: Cairo
It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific she has seized or occupied since the First World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from China, such as Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescadores, shall be returned to the Republic of China
Before we start to depict what was actually prepared for the Philippines, we should mention what the original recommendations were as found in the June 1943 report entitled General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area, Military Intelligence Area, General staff, G2 Information Bulletin Report on Conditions in the Philippine Islands. The report says in part:
The enemy has used every possible angle to line the Philippine people up for Asia for the Asiatics, Philippines for the Filipinos, and Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere.
[U.S] Printed propaganda directed to the Philippine people would be of definite assistance throughout the islands Such propaganda should be carefully prepared and lithographed in good quality work so that its having been prepared in America will not be doubted The subjects most likely to help at the present time would include short messages to the Filipino people indicating a positive plan to return to the islands to evict the enemy; messages from General MacArthur to booster the morale of the Filipino people; Messages from President Quezon and President Roosevelt Messages pointing out the actions of the enemy such as commercial monopolies by the Japanese, taking down the Filipino flag, the implanting of Japanism, etc.
Pamphlets containing messages to the people, containing news of Allied victories, with pictures They should contain messages of achievements in other theaters to indicate to the Filipino people the strength of the Allied forces and assurance of ultimate victory.
There should be included cigarettes, late American magazines, and propaganda leaflets.
General MacArthur's PSYOP staff prepared a great number of leaflets for the Philippine campaign. There were close to 200 different leaflets produced by MacArthurs PWB in
in the "J1" series. Examples are 6J1 (Abandoned), 25J1 (I cease resistance), and 159J1 (Surrender order, 38th Division, Brisbane Southern Luzon, signed by Colonel Kobayashi).
The US Sixth Army used leaflets coded J6. Examples are 1J6 (
Germanysurrenders), 33J6 ( ), and 103J6 (Japanese officers, please read this). Sixth Army PWB was established in September 1944 at Hollandia. It was made up of the X Corps, XIV Corps and the First Cavalry Division. I am aware of no complete count of all the leaflets prepared by the Manila Falls Sixth Army, but I have records of 37 different types in my own WWII Pacific files. U.S.
The US Eighth Army used leaflets with the code "J8." Examples are 2J8 (Straggler surrender) and 31J8 (Japanese Army and Navy Officers).
Other leaflets in this same series bear the codes J2, J3, J10, J11, J14, J21, J24, J38, J40 and J41. The meaning of many of these codes is unknown and most of them exist as only one or two specimens so they were probably tactical leaflets used for a specific purpose on a special occasion. For instance, we do not know who prepared the J3 leaflets (1-J-3 Officers and NCOs of the Fuji Heidan and 4-J-3 The Way to Safety), The J10 leaflets are from X Corps (1-J-10 To the Men of the 9th, 23rd and 33rd Regiments). The J11 leaflets are for the U.S. Army XI Corps. Leaflet 3-J-11 is General Patricks Surrender Leaflet written by the Commanding General of the Sixth Division, but that division was part of XI Corps. The J21 leaflets were believed to have been for the 21st Infantry Regiment of the 24th Division, but a PWB data sheet indicates that they were for the 11th Airborne. The J24 leaflets are from the 24th Division reinforcing the X Corps of the U.S. Eighth Army. The J38 leaflets are believed to be special requests of the XIV Corps. The single J40 leaflet I have seen is listed as 2-J-40 Negros Surrender. When you look at the codes you see that PWB has broken them down somewhat by date. For instance, leaflets coded 2-J-1 to 101-J-1 were printed in Brisbane, Australia, from August 1944 to March 1945. Leaflets coded 103-J-1 to 152-J-1 were printed in Manila, the Philippines, from April to August 1945. All of the other leaflets with codes in the J-6, J-10, and up to J-41 are labeled as leaflets printed in PWB field offices.
The cause of some of this confusion was that every Army and every Corps (Normally three Corps to an Army) had its own PWB unit. The Air Force bomber wings also had PWB teams attached. Each of these teams was at the beck and call of the unit it supported. So, there were 200 PWB members in units of various sizes working for commands of various sizes at different locations. Some confusion was surely inevitable. An Army division (normally three Divisions to a Corps) might request a leaflet run, discover it could not disseminate them and forward a request for an aircraft to Corps. Corps might find itself unable to comply and forward the request to Army. The people at SWPA headquarters might have no input into the division-designed leaflet and this was acceptable as long as the themes complied with the Basic Military Plan for Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area.
To make it even more confusing, the Office of War Information also worked with MacArthur as stated in the Office of War Information Leaflet News Letter dated 1 September 1945. The leaflet codes were all PWB, but apparently the OWI quietly helped in the background:
Long before American forces landed in the Philippines, leaflets played a vital role. Prior to the first Philippine landings, the OWI leaflet unit in Brisbane produced some 56 million leaflets. In Leyte, from November through February, 4 million more were printed, many of them being of the surrender type and beginning in March, production in Manila mounted steadily, nearly two million being put out that month, in spite of the difficulty of obtaining supplies and equipment in the ravaged city. Distribution figures for the period 20 October 1944 to 12 May 1945 totaled 53,360,150 leaflets.
Leaflets for the Filipinos included texts of official proclamations, news leaflets, messages to guerrillas, and instructions for helping in the liberation. Later, there were warnings of American landings, instructing Filipinos how to avoid death or injury by our bombings and shelling of beaches and military installations, and finally, the red, white and blue leaflet proclaiming that "MacArthur has returned."
For the Japanese leaflets of two general types were produced: news leaflets designed to give troops the facts about the progress of the war, and leaflets devoted to a single theme appeal, designed directly to reduce the morale of the enemy troops and induce their surrender. The "surrender pass" gave instructions on how to surrender and bore in English on one side instructions to American troops on how to accept the surrender and turn the prisoner over for questioning,
Themes included the threat of terrific pounding by artillery, promises of good treatment for prisoners, news of the new American landings, explanation of the superiority of U.S. weapons, explanations of the fact that U.S, forces had cut off supply lines, the truth about Japanese leaders, the lack of support for ground troops from the Japanese navy and air forces, and surrender passes.
One starts to see the complexity of this operation. Headquarters has a general list and surplus of leaflets which was regularly sent down to Army and Corps for their general use; and at the lower levels leaflets are being produced as needed for tactical operations. There were a lot of leaflets moving back and forth between the various combat units in the
. PWB teams and combat officers at the lower levels could refuse to use a leaflet if they felt it was at cross-purposes with their mission. Philippines
William E. Daugherty and Morris Janowitz discuss the SWPA PSYOP arrangement in A Psychological Warfare Casebook, Operations Research Office, Johns Hopkins Press,
, 1958. Baltimore, MD
At the (SWPA) headquarters a quasi-special staff section (actually called a Branch) was established under the direct supervision of the Military Secretary to the Commanding General (Fellers). In this unique setup the Chief of the Psychological Warfare Branch enjoyed direct access to the commanding general of the theatre.
In the lower echelons of this command in the Sixth
U.S.and the Eighth Armies special teams composed mostly of military personnel were dispatched on limited liaison-type assignments from the theatre psychological warfare staff agency. Where coordination or supervision of the psychological warfare teams were attempted by the lower echelons, it was usually through the Intelligence Section (G2) rather than through the Operations Section (G3) of the command involved. U.S.
The Propaganda Leaflets
PWB Members Producing Propaganda Leaflets and Posters
The photograph above depicts members of the U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Branch preparing propaganda leaflets and posters. Some soldiers are seen working on text; others appear to be drawing images. On the bulletin board in the background I can identify a standard "I Surrender" safe conduct pass and leaflets 2-J-1, 3-J-1, 3-J-6, 4-F-1 and 13-J-6.
Since there are probably well over 200 leaflets in the SWPA J1 series it is not practical to depict them all. Therefore my plan is to list some of the various propaganda themes and show some leaflets that use that theme in each category. The reader should understand that if I depict one or two leaflets that use the theme Continuation of the war will destroy
, I might have a dozen more of the same type of leaflets. In general I will select the most pictorial and colorful leaflets to show the reader. Japan
Theme: Military defeat is inevitable.
The theme of Five minutes to twelve is interesting because this was used by both the Allies and the Germans in the European Theatre. Both asked, Why die now in the last few minutes of the war? Here, the PWB asks the Japanese the same question. The reader sees all the islands that have fallen to the Allies and is told that the next to fall will be
. 50,000 of these leaflets were dropped on 21 November 1944. The American name for this leaflet was simply Clock and the text on the front is: Japan
The Hour is Drawing Near!
The back is all text and says in part:
Japanese away from home
Here are some typical statements from
, where the high authorities know in detail the war situation: Tokyo
With the present conditions, it is by no means impossible to meet with a final defeat. Radio Tokyo, 31 July 1944.
I can say that the general war situation cannot be regarded as satisfactory. The nearer the enemy approaches the inner defense ring of Japan, the more difficult the position will be for us.
Navy Minister Tonai, 7 September 1944.
We must consider the possibility of the Allies landing on our home soil.
Premier Kioso, 7 September 1944.
What do these
statements mean? They mean that despite the future bravery of your comrades in the pacific Tokyo Islands, the great Allied offensive continues to advance on schedule toward the Japanese homeland
This general image was so popular that it was used again on leaflet 118-J-1. The text on this leaflet discusses the meaning of unconditional surrender and points out that the Japanese military warlords are spreading propaganda when they claim that the term means enslavement of the Japanese people and their extermination.
German leaflet 655 SK 1a
As mentioned above, both the Allies and the Axis prepared anti-morale leaflets that made use of the propaganda theme Five Minutes to Twelve. An example is the German leaflet prepared by Scorpion West, the organization tasked with the production of German propaganda against Allied troops in
Western Europe. This leaflet appears in several different sizes and was dropped starting about March 1945.
The front depicts an American soldier stopping another from stepping into a grave, a clock reading five minutes to twelve, and the text:
STOP, WATCH YOUR STEP,
ITS FIVE MINUTES TO TWELVE.
The back is all text and says in part:
Five Minutes to Twelve
Luftwaffe down and out. German war industry smashed. Russians threatening Berlin, The end is in sight.
Five Minutes to Twelve
And so nobody wants to be killed in these last five minutes. Thats Common sense.
Watch your step!
Theme: Without raw materials Japan is lost.
This leaflet tells the Japanese about the American landing on the Philippine Islands. The front depicts several Japanese magazines and quotes from the articles inside that discuss the importance of supplies from the southern regions. Some of the text is:
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PHILIPPINE LANDING
As the Pictorial Weekly, edited by the Cabinet Information Bureau says: The war of supply is the key to victory. As you know, a supply of oil, tin, rubber, and other essential war materials is absolutely necessary to carrying on modern warfare. What does the recent advance of Allied forces into the Philippines mean in regard to Japanese supply of these materials?
It means that Allied planes and ships, not only from various bases in the South Pacific, but also from air fields and advanced naval bases in the Philippines, are far more able that ever before to sink Japanese ships laden with raw materials on their way from the rich southern treasure chest to the Japanese homeland. A few ships may still get through, but it is correct to say that for all practical purposes the life-line has been cut .
This is another in a long line of leaflets that talks about the inevitable defeat of
as the Allies slowly tighten the noose around the home islands and cut off the raw supplies needed for the war effort. The leaflet depicts American B-24 Liberators bombing the inaginary "oil pipeline" from Borneo to Japan . At the lower right a Japanese pilot is trying to squeeze out a last drop of fuel for his Betty bomber. Some of the text is: Japan
WILD EAGLES AND OIL
Americas advancing attacks in the Philippines, cannot help being hit hard in the matter of oil supply. The supply lines which tie together Japan and the South Pacific are being cut. Allied planes, ships and submarines based in the Japan , are steadily sinking Japanese ships filled with oil and other essential materials. Philippines
When your Wild Eagles do not deliver any counterblows against the relentless bombing by the Allied forces, may it not be that they are concerned with conserving oil?
Six Japanese prisoners were shown this leaflet and none believed the message. Some of their comments were:
In Burma we were worried because our Wild Eagles did not appear, but I dont believe that we have no oil in Japan.
One drop of oil is one drop of blood. We have to save the oil. I believe that Japan will have abundant oil when the proper time comes.
I cannot believe the statement. Maybe our military leaders have some plans and purpose for saving fuel.
This leaflet is entitled Southern Treasure House. The art depicts the Allies cutting off the southern supply lines. Text on the front is:
After establishing strange bases in
New Guinea, the American forces made their advance to the Philippinesand finally cut the supply lines which link with the Southern Regions. Japan
The back says in part:
The successful operation of American forces in the Philippines made possible the severing of the sea routes between Japan and the Southern Regions. The power of the American forces in the Philippines is growing stronger every day. The American Navy is reaching its might across the sea as far as Thailand and French Indo-China. The Air Forces cover the area from the Ryukyus Islands to Saigon, and is bombing shipping and military installations almost daily
As long as these conditions continue to exist, it is impossible for
to reopen the sea rotes to the Southern regions. Japan
The Treasure House of the
South Seas which was so depended upon by the military, now becomes useless. can continue her war only as long as she is well supplied. Japan
Theme: Their fleet is impotent.
Leaflet 2-J-1 and 5-J-6
One of the earliest Army leaflets dropped on Japanese troops is 2-J-1 entitled Japanese soldier sitting in a rowboat. The U.S. did not want to antagonize the Japanese so they used a technique they call soft-soaping to point out their predicament without appearing to gloat. The leaflet depicts an unhappy Japanese soldier alone in a rowboat near a barren island. It appears that the 6th Army liked the leaflet so much that they reprinted it and used it in their section of the Philippines. The text on the front is:
Left Behind With Only Small Boats, an Army Chokes With Grief!
The back is all text and says in part:
Soldiers and Officers of Japan.
We wish neither to insult nor make fun of you. Because at Bataan and Corregidor we faced the same miserable conditions you are now facing, we cannot but sympathize with you
Where are the ships that brought you and your supplies here? Where is the Navy which escorted your transports?
When ships can no longer reach an island garrison, do you not realize for the first time that the island has been abandoned?
Leaflet 5-J-1 depicts the lonely position of Japan, attacked from every direction as its allies Germany and Italy fade away. This is an excellent image and even an illiterate could understand that the attacks are coming from every direction and Japan is helpless to resist. I should mention that when Italy capitulated, many Germans were happy, glad to be rid of what they considered a weak and needy ally. It would be interesting to know if the Japanese considered the loss of their allies an asset or a liability. The American name for this leaflet was Lonely Japan and 50,000 were dropped on Japanese forces on 19 November 1944. The text on the front is:>
How can one Nation resist the World?
The back is all text:
Is Japan not lonely?
In any country the authorities decide all important matters. Soldiers are educated and trained to follow their orders and devote their entire effort to performing their duties. But what happens if their leaders give out an incorrect order? Isnt it so that on such a mistake may hang not only the individual soldiers fate, but even the welfare of the country?
The results of the mistakes committed by the militarists have become so obvious that it is beyond the slightest doubt.
The leaders knew very well that if they embarked on a war against both England and America alone, there was no chance of victory.
For this very reason they went into an adventurous military alliance with Germany and Italy. They thought that while Germany and Italy were fighting the Allies, drawing enemy strength to Europe, the enemy strength opposing Japan would be very small.
But what has happened? Italy crumbled some time ago and Allied troops are on German soil.
Japan now faces a crisis, in which the full strength of the Allied nations will soon be concentrated against her. Does she not feel lonely?
A great number of Allied leaflets were aimed at Japanese on bypassed islands. MacArthur decided early not to fight the Japanese wherever they were. He picked his fights on selective high priority targets and left the Japanese defenders in his wake to starve on many bypassed islands. As a result, MacArthur had relatively low losses in his various island invasions. The text on this leaflet is:
Where are our Ships and Planes? What is Going to Happen to You?
General MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the South pacific, recently paid high tribute to the brave actions of the Japanese soldier:
We cannot help giving our sympathy to you promising Japanese soldiers who have been forced into such miserable conditions as today. Your wild eagles, upon whom you depended so much, hardly show their faces, leaving you unprotected against the never-ending bombing of our air force.
The Japanese Navy is withdrawing its ships from their bases and
troops are successively pouring into the Japanese naval bases. As a result, you are cut off from supplies and reinforcements and now you cannot even expect to be evacuated. U.S.
If you attempt to establish yourself in the mountains and make a last stand there, all that can happen is that disease will eat your flesh and hunger gnaws your bones, and your plight becomes worse and worse. Your comrades-in-arms, who were left behind in the
Solomon Islandsand , died hoping that friendly ships and airplanes might come to their rescue. New Guinea
Why must you die a futile death with this vain hope in your hearts?
The Leaflet News Letter of April 6, 1945 reports that leaflet 6-J-1 proved very effective, primarily because the condition of some of the units upon which they were dropped coincided with the conditions described in the leaflets. The picture of a Japanese soldier on an isolated island emphasizes the hopelessness of his cause and his abandonment by the Japanese Navy and Air Force. Some prisoners attributed the deterioration of the morale of their outfits to the fact that Allied leaflets were dropped at just the right moment.
This leaflet shows a lonely Japanese soldier standing on a bypassed
Islandas he sees the flames of battle on another island. This leaflet targeted Japanese troops, especially on Luzon. The purpose is to demoralize troops by telling them that they will never be re-supplied. Some of the text is:
You fought hard and courageously. But within three months after the Americans landed in the Philippines they had advanced to the very heart of the Island Manila. It is obvious that support and reinforcements have failed you, and you are forced to fight against hopeless odds.
Why is this?
Isnt it because the large forces of Japanese troops in the Southern Regions have been outmaneuvered, immobilized and rendered useless? This is because
has completely lost control of the sea and air. Japan
These large bi-passed garrisons look on idly, like men watching fires across a river, while you fight your
(Sekagihara decisive battle) Waterloo
A Japanese prisoner of war said about this leaflet:
This would not mean much as the Japanese do not expect reinforcements anyway.
Theme: Their country is blockaded; their Pan-Asian dream is dead.
This leaflet is interesting because it shows General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz pulling a rope that is tightening a knot on
s supply line. The text is: Japan
The Key to the Outcome of the War
The Domei News Agency said on November 7, 1944:
"The Japanese loss of
Leytewill disrupt sea lane transportation of our vessels in the Southern Regions, and it will endanger the transportation of our various raw materials from the Southern Regions to the Homeland."
Just how accurate was this prediction is shown by the successive military developments themselves.
The entire strength of the Army, Navy and Air Force under General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz is now able to operate freely from newly captured bases in the Philippines. The sea route which connects the homeland of Japan and the Southern Regions is gradually being compressed.
The day is not far off when this sea route, which is called the Life-line, will be cut; and Japanese shipping will be nailed down.
Will there not soon be a shortage of the fuel that airplanes need? The supply of rubber, tin and other vital materials needed for the implements of war will fall into great difficulty.
No matter how strong a soldier may be, when even the very supply lines cannot be protected, how can he satisfactorily perform his task?
One Japanese soldier surrendered with this leaflet and said that after seeing it he realized that they were fighting for a lost cause. A Japanese officer surrendered and said that the leaflet was written in such a way that any man with common sense could not help but see the truth of the message.
American C-47 Dropping Leaflets
We mention November in the paragraph above and that reminds me of a Diary entry by Louise Fillmore Blancaflor, dated 4 November 1944 and mentioned in the Philippine Diary Project:
Last night at 8:00 p.m. a Japanese plane circled over us three times. At 3:00 a.m. this morning we heard a drone, and in the early morning light we saw three planes flying very high over us.
This morning at 10:00 a.m., we counted 16 American planes flying overhead. We always wonder and fear whether they will bomb or not. We are so close to the Japanese garrison.All the Japanese soldiers went to their shelters. At 2:00 p.m. one beautiful, silver plane (American) flew overhead and dropped leaflets. The Japanese will not allow the civilians to pick them up.
Report on Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area 1944-1945
Declassified September 1958
This copy of the declassified report sold at auction for $202 in 2015
This leaflet seems to have worked. In Report on Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area 1944-1945 we find the comment:
A prisoner who surrendered with a leaflet showing General MacArthur standing in the Philippines and Admiral Nimitz standing on a battleship pulling taut a noose around the Japanese lifeline to the Netherlands East Indies claimed that they realized they were fighting a lost cause and that the sooner a stop could be put to the war the better.
This leaflet depicts the Philippine Islands surrounded by Allied ships that blockade Japanese shipping coming down from the north and crucial supplies like oil and rubber heading north to Japan from her occupied territories. The text on the front is:
The South Seas are the South Seas;
Some of the text on the back is:
In a speech before the Diet on last September 7, War Minister Marshall Sugiyama said:
It is most regrettable that the various Japanese front lines are being handicapped by the deterioration of our supply lines and bases.
Allied planes, ships and submarines based on the
surround the islands and are able to search out and destroy Japanese ships from southern regions laden with oil, rubber, tin, etc. Philippines
However hard you try, how is it possible to fight properly without adequate supplies?
Theme: Trust the Americans to be kind and to provide good treatment to prisoners-of-war.
There are many leaflets showing happy prisoners in American POW camps. I like this one because it seems to acknowledge that the Japanese might hate American cooking but it then tells them that they will get used to it. An interesting use of propaganda text. The front features dozens of Japanese prisoners of war enjoying American chow. The text is:
Yesterday we were Enemies. Today we are Friends.
Occidental food tastes good too, when you get used to it.
Back of leaflet
The back depicts the same prisoners taking part in arts and crafts. Although hard to be sure, it seems they are carving and painting buses or railroad models. Some of the text is:
Busily engaged in handicrafts.
Your comrades who came over to our side are guaranteed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and recreation, in accordance with international law.
The eyes are covered since it was American policy to protect the prisoners and their families. However, this also allowed the Japanese to say that they were not true Japanese prisoners, but American actors. Later in the war many Japanese POWs were shown without the eyes being covered.
In a confidential study on the effects of American propaganda in the Philippines, a Japanese Domei correspondent admitted that It could be said that one of the biggest problems facing us is to minimize the effects of food propaganda on Japanese soldiers. Branding this type of appeal as contrary to the soul and spirit of the Japanese, the author added that the mere mention of good food and the picture in the leaflet undoubtedly caused some impression on the average Japanese soldier who has been suffering from short rations. Then, as if to minimize the statement, he concluded, But, of course, no Japanese will submit himself to the thought of surrender, for to the true soldier of the Emperor privation and death are more honorable than surrender.
The following X Corps report also reveals the demoralizing effects of hunger on the enemy:
The Japanese soldier saw several American leaflets and decided to surrender in spite of the fear that, he would be killed upon capture. He had already started in the direction of the American lines. On the morning of his capture, he was cooking bananas when three guerrillas approached him. Since he was already to surrender, he ran out to meet the trio with his hands over his head and handed them a surrender leaflet. He stated he would never have surrendered were it not for the leaflet. He thought they were effective, and was particularly impressed by the American offer of food and medical aid.
Australian Leaflet J-306
I thought the reader might be interested in where the PWB got its inspiration from. Australia was fighting the Japanese before the Americans joined the war and had already printed and disseminated hundreds of propaganda leaflets. When the Americans came, the Australians pitched in and helped bring them up to speed. Here is an Australian leaflet showing happy Japanese being fed. Note that the eyes are covered to protect the identities in the Australian leaflet too. This leaflet tells the Japanese that they have fought a brave and courageous battle even though they are in grievous need of everything. They will never receive supplies or be reinforced. It tells them that if they come over to the Allies they will be well-treated, fed and receive medical attention. The promise is made in the name of the Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces.
Several American leaflets show the Japanese playing games such as Chess, Chinese checkers or Go. This leaflet shows some happy prisoners playing pool in an American prisoner-of-war camp in the
. Some of the text is:Yesterday we were Enemies, Today we are Friends. Philippines
Articles approved by the International Convention on treatment of prisoners of war, which was signed by 29 nations at
on June 27, 1929 contain the following: Geneva
Prisoners of war shall be treated humanely
The food ration of prisoners of war shall be equivalent to that of the depot troops.
Each came shall possess an infirmary for the prisoners of war
There are numerous other leaflets in the form of bomb warnings. We will not depict
them because for the most part they are all text. We should mention leaflet 101-F-1 that
was specifically printed for Filipino natives in the
To all Filipino People in the Cagayan Valley
Filipino people, stay away from the Japanese and Japanese materials. We are going to bomb and strafe your area. Move to the hills and if possible go behind the guerilla lines.
Stay away from the Japanese or you may be killed.
This leaflet is one of a series that depicts the good treatment that the Japanese can expect as an American prisoner. For instance, leaflet 15-J-1 shows POWs eating good food and taking part in handicrafts; leaflet 16-J-1 shows POWs eating and planting a garden; leaflet 29-J-1 depicts POWs gardening, playing GO, drinking tea; and learning crafts. The leaflet above depicts a group of POWs just hanging around and enjoying a smoke. Some of the text is:
We deeply respect your courage. But now the tide of war has turned. You have come to the final step and must choose between life and death. Think this over! Does a needless death serve your country?
Americans are treating your comrades well according to international law. They are living together and all have returned to health.
One Japanese prisoner recommended that these leaflets depict not just a few, but instead hundreds of prisoners. He said that knowing so many had already surrendered; it would be less difficult for a Japanese soldier to make the decision to surrender. Another recommended that these photographs always show the tables piled high with food as many of the Japanese were starving.
Many of the trust the Americans themed leaflets showed soldiers with happy children. This leaflet depicts an American with a small Okinawan child. The text says:
A little Okinawan girl has made friends with a soldier.
Saying Give me candy and Lets play, she has flustered her big American friend.
Isnt this a pleasant scene?
Theme: Cite the military clique incompetence in foreign affairs and on the home and fighting fronts.
This leaflet depicts Japanese officers playing chess. The Japanese form of chess is called Shogi (Generals Game) and is supposed to train the officers in aggressive strategy. This leaflet points out how bad their commanders strategy has been during the course of the war. General MacArthurs and Yamashitas sleeves are labelled and the position of the chess pieces clearly shows that Yamashita is checkmated.
The text on the front of the leaflet is:
The text on back says in part:
For the past two years it has been perfectly clear to the Japanese military leaders that the advance of General MacArthurs American forces has been directed toward the
Yet, when the Americans landed at
Leyte, General Yamashita was caught unprepared and his desperate, last-minute defensive strategy was ineffective, resulting in an enormous sacrifice of human life.
General MacArthur has consistently outmaneuvered Yamashita and other Japanese leaders
The war steadily draws nearer your beloved homeland. Isnt this the fault of your military leaders who are responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of valuable lives?
One Japanese prisoner stated that the layout of the chess game was not logical. He further pointed out that it would have been better to place the words Americans and Japanese on the sleeves rather than the names of the generals. Many Japanese soldiers would not recognize the names of the superior officers.
Perhaps we should take a look at some of these games depicted on American leaflets. We have already noted that 18-J-1 depicted men playing pool and 23-J-1 depicted Japanese chess. Leaflet 701B has the code of an OWI leaflet but was also printed by the PWB. It depicts prisoners of war playing Chinese checkers. When I was a boy everyone I knew had the big wooden board with the holes drilled out in the form of a six-pointed star. It was a very popular game. This leaflet was designed to make the Japanese think about killing themselves in Banzai charges. Some of the text is:
If you consider seppuku
You will be the last of your family. You wont be able to carry on your line.
No good to you, your family or to
will come from such an act. Japan
When the war is over soon, you will not be able to work for the new
Go is a favorite game of the Japanese, chess-like in some ways and very strategic. PWB leaflet 29-J-1 is a large leaflet that discusses the good treatment of prisoners of war and has a total of nine different photographs of happy POWs. The leaflet text claims that the pictures were presented to the Americans by 283 Japanese interned in one of the camps:
This picture was presented by 283 Japanese interned at Finschhafen [New Guinea] to one of our officers in charge of the camp, expressing their thanks for the kind treatment given to them. We believe this action shows very well how refined and courteous these internees are. It inspired us greatly, and for this reason we are reproducing this picture for you. The pictures inside show a bit of the daily life of this group and your comrades in other areas. (Eyes are covered to protect their families in Japan).
The title of the leaflet is:
Your Comrades-in-Arms who are on the Road to Rebirth
I am not depicting the entire leaflet here, just that portion that mentions go. Some of the captions on the other pictures on the same page are:
Taking care of the flower garden.
Patients regaining strength in the hospital are playing GO.
Working in the vegetable garden.
Before going out to the mornings work.
The unforgettable aroma of tea.
Note: Early in the war the faces of the Japanese were hidden for their protection. The Japanese government attacked these photos claiming that those people photographed were not really Japanese and could be American Hollywood actors. As a result, as the war went on, the blocks were removed and the Japanese faces were fully depicted.
It has often been said that when
The German military force has surrendered and the greatest war in history which turned
Europeinto a scene of carnage is now over.
As a result, the tremendous amount of Allied weapons and manpower concentrated in
Europewill now be transferred to the Orient.
What does this mean to your military leaders who today are having difficulties in even maintaining your supply lines?
The Japanese military leaders are the ones who are leading your beloved country to disaster. They relied greatly on Japans Axis partners and embarked upon this adventurous war of so-called Greater East Asia. The grave responsibility of this policy is on their shoulders.
It is worth mentioning that although this text appears almost perfect in western eyes, U.S. Office of War Information research and evaluation at the end of the war indicated that propaganda text that attacked the Japanese leadership was among the least effective of the war. For the most part, the Japanese respected and revered their leaders.
This U.S. Sixth Army leaflet also uses the German defeat as a theme. However, this leaflet was prepared long before the actual capitulation. The front depicts a surrendering German soldier at the left and at the right a lightning bolt aimed at Japan. The back depicts a map with numerous Allied thrusts aimed at the Home Islands. It was apparently prepared in advance on 31 March 1945 and scheduled to be dropped as soon as the German capitulation was official. Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945, but the actual surrender was not signed until 7 May 1945. Some of the text is:
The Fall of Japanese Militarism is Near!
After six long years of war, the mighty German military machine was defeated by determined and well-equipped Allied armies. U.S. and British armies, which are now assigned to Europe, will be transferred to the Pacific with all speed. Japan will now face such powerful nations as the United States, Great Britain, China, Australia, Canada and other countries. These nations are determined to defeat Japanese militarism and put an end to it...
This leaflet has a long text on the back pointing out how the militarists have lied
and how they will soon be driven from
Road to a new life
Some of the text on the back is:
Those who believe anything the military leaders say still dream of
s ultimate victory. Japan
But frankly, you soldiers in the front must feel that your hope for victory is withering away and that fear and restlessness are creeping deeper into your heart every day
You fought gallantly. But the fortunes of war were against you and you are placed in the miserable condition you find yourself now. Isnt this the time to think about the future when each and every one of you will be needed in Japan?
The war should not last very long now that the American forces have almost completely occupied Okinawa, the most important island in the Ryukyu Group. Your comrades-in-arms who have been under American protection are showing gratitude for the way they are being treated. They have recovered their health and are enjoying community living.
There is not the slightest doubt that when the military leaders disappear from the surface of
, a new and peaceful country can be built. That will be the time when you must devote your entire effort to rebuilding your country and to looking after your families. This is your greatest responsibility. Japan
It is easy to die but hard to live. You must throw away any recklessness now and must find a way out for life so that you may be able to discharge this great responsibility.
Theme: Their tactics and equipment inferior.
A number of Allied leaflets attacked the inferior weapons that Japanese soldiers were issued. The type 38 rifle is a good example. It fired a very weak 6.5 x 50mm bullet that had little knock-down power. It was later replaced by a Type 99 rifle, based on the type 38 but still with a small caliber of 7.7 mm. The leaflet depicts the type 38 rifle rusting by a pile of other Japanese military debris. The object was to create a sense of helplessness by causing the Japanese to lose confidence in their weapons. Japanese POWs were questioned about the rifle and the text contains some of their thoughts. The text is:
As you know, the type 38 rifle you are using succeeded the Murata rifle and first appeared on the battlefield as a new weapon for use in the Russo-Japanese War.
But that was 40 years ago. Everyone know that since that time the various countries vying with one another have been absorbed in scientific studies, and that great advances have been made in the development of military equipment.
Why, then, do you have to fight against automatic weapons with rifles of the bolt-action type? If you fought with new weapons like the Americans, perhaps tragedies like Leyte might have been avoided. However much spiritual strength you have, how can you expect to fight a 500 kilogram bomb from a bomber with a Type 38 rifle?
By Coincidence, Allison B. Gilmore mentions this leaflet in The Foundations of Victory: The Pacific War - 1943-1944. She discusses an interrogation report in which a Japanese prisoner said:
The Government is trying to create the impression among the men that because they are Japanese and therefore possess the Yamato spirit they cannot lose battles and cannot be destroyed. They shipped us to distant landsto
New Guineaand Guadalcanaland expected us to win the war with Type 38 Rifles and the Yamato spirit, but without food or airplane protection. Are they expecting five feet of Yamato spirit to overwhelm 500 kilogram bombs from B-24s? This is absurd.
The propagandists immediately recommended a series of leaflets to portray the one-sided character of the present struggle and demonstrate the futility of the war. In this case, the process of propaganda creation culminated with a leaflet describing the history of the Type 38 rifle, which was first used in the Russo-Japanese War, and the advances made in military technology since then:
Why then do you have to fight against automatic rifles with rifles of the bolt-action type? If you had fought with new weapons like the Americans, perhaps tragedies like
Leytemight have been avoided. However much spiritual strength you may have, how can you expect to tackle a 500kg bomb from a bomber with a Type 38 rifle?
Theme: Prove that the military clique has lied and are still lying about the war.
This leaflet depicts a Japanese patriotic magazine and features the stories about alleged American naval losses during the war. It is clear that the militarists have lied. Some of the text is:
VICTORY ON PAPER
During the lulls in battle, dont you sometimes wonder about the war reports put out by your leaders?
For instance, the number of heavy American warships shown as sunk or badly damaged in the Pictorial Weekly chart is larger than the total number possessed by
during that time. America
Suppose the Americans really had lost this great number of ships. How could they have gone on step by step to retake most of
New Guinea, and the islands of Saipan, , Morotai, etc? Guam, Palau
Great victories were claimed for the sea battle off Formosa But strangely enough, the American forces landed on the Philippines just five days later
Man! Why is it that every time these victories are announced, the American forces come closer to the homeland of
, while your plight in battle becomes more desperate? Japan
PWB Leaflet 24-J-1 depicts arrows from the Philippines pointing northward and giving the distances to China, Formosa and Japan. Some of the text is:
Manila has fallen
For three years the Japanese military leaders knew that the American offensive was pointed at Manila. They had plenty of time to prepare for the defense of the city. Yet, once the Americans launched their attack, the city fell easily. With the recapture of the capital city, the American Army now dominates the entire Philippines. The American forces, in high morale, are poised for still another strike closer to the homeland.
The leaflet is actually very misleading and I am surprised it was printed. The Japanese did not intend to defend Manila. It was just a rebellious commander that decided on his own to defend the city and the battle was extremely difficult with street-to-street fighting and extreme destruction. The battle raged for one month from 3 February to 3 March 1945 and culminated in a terrible bloodbath and total devastation of the city. It was the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater. General Tomoyuki Yamashita, commander in chief of Japanese forces in the Philippines ordered General Yokoyama Shizuo to evacuate the city and destroy all bridges and other vital installations. Rear Admiral Iwabuchi Sanji was left in charge of the city and decided to defend it to the last man. The battle left 1,010 U.S. soldiers dead and 5,565 wounded. An estimated 100,000 Filipinos civilians were killed, and well over 16,665 Japanese dead were confirmed.
In general, leaflets should be very honest so that the enemy fully believes in their message. In this case the Japanese must have known that this message was false and I wonder what it did to their belief in the veracity of other PWB leaflets.
This leaflet points out the lies told by the militarists and the political and military
At long last Douglas MacArthur is in my iron trap. I have been chasing him all over the southern sea, but each time he has slipped away. This time it will be different and my pleasure at a face-to-face meeting will be realized.
Yamashita had little pleasure from his battle with MacArthur. At the end of the war he
refused to commit hara kiri and was arrested and tried as a war criminal. Although it
appeared that Yamashita was not in charge of the troops that committed atrocities in
This leaflet depicts Formosa, the Ryukyus Islands (Okinawa) and Japan under American bombing attacks and points out that the Gumbatsu (A mixture of rich industrialists and high government and military leaders) have lied time and again. Some of the text is:
Luzon Left behind by the
Formosais in flames and Iwo Jimahas fallen to the Americans. Tokyo, Nagoyaand have been intensely bombed. A great American army has landed on Kobe Okinawa.
The tide of battle has passed beyond you. The Gumbatsu have left you to rot. Should you doubt this, ask yourself:
Where are the planes you have been promised? Where is your Navy?
Do not let your officers deceive you any longer.
Your greatest duty now, and most important, is to live; to be ready for the reconstruction of your beloved homeland.
It appears that the text on the back was revised at a later date to better tell the Japanese troops of their current position. The new text is similar to the original, but goes into more detail and is certainly more defeatist. Some examples of the revised text:
To Japanese soldiers As you know Japanese soldiers in the Philippines have withdrawn to the mountains. You too are in this situation and the battle for Luzon is almost over.
All parts of Formosa are daily bomb targets, while the military installations in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe and all large cities are exposed to bomb attacks. Iwo Jima is in American hands and the U.S. Army is fighting fiercely to occupy Okinawa. That islands capture is just a matter of time.
Where are the planes that were to come to your assistance and what are they doing? Have you seen a single plane bearing the Rising Sun fly over? Where is the Japanese Navy that boasted only last spring that it would destroy the U.S. Navy? What has it done?
Theme: Appeals against self-destruction and for self-preservation.
This leaflet is mentioned in Paul M.A. Linebargers book, psychological
On March 5 of every year the Japanese celebrate the colorful custom of Boys Day. Kites in the form of carp are flown over the cities and countryside and millions of families set out to give their little sons an excursion or some other treat. (It is characteristic of the Japanese that there is no Girls day).
The leaflet depicts two carp kites on the front and some of the following text:
The whole world knows that from ancient times the Japanese have had great love for their children
As we are all aware, the Samurai displayed their war banners, spears and other weapons to indicate their prestige and power and it was to emulate this that the common people flew carp banners high in the sky, asking a blessing for their children. These carp banners overwhelmed the crests and banner of the Samurai.
We have deep appreciation and understanding of your love for children.
Is there ever a day when you do not think about the children you left at home? You may remain silent, but deep in your heart you remember the innocently smiling children to whom you bade farewell. How can you forget?
When, after hard fighting, you sleep like one who is dead, your favorite dreams must be those of the happy hours when you were home with your children.
As you know, this great war has finally reached the Japanese homeland and large cities are being bombed.
Even mothers are being drafted for war work. The result is that the children are nearly forgotten Schools are now closed and one cannot help being anxious when he thinks of the post-war future of
and of those children who could not receive a proper education. Japan
You must guard the strength of the new
your treasure, your children Japan
What silver, gold or gem
is more precious than a child?
Many American leaflets tried to convince the Japanese to live rather than take part in Kamikaze attacks, hopeless Banzai charges and Hara kiri ritual suicide. This leaflet tries to use a photograph of happy children to convince the soldier to stay alive to return home. Some of the text is:
Where is Daddy?
The words of Prince Mito:
To rush into the thick of battle and to be slain in it is easy enough, and the merest churl is equal to the task: but it is true courage to live when it is right to live, and to die only when it is right to die.
Is this not the time to live?
This leaflet is one of the better images from the PWB artists. It depicts a Japanese officer with his sword in a stark black silhouette on an orange background filled with the rank insignia of Japanese field officers and non-commissioned officers. The text on the front of this leaflet is:
The shadow of the officer is great.
The text on the back asks the officers not to waste the lives of their men and says in part:
The battle of the
is drawing to a close. Philippines Iwo Jimahas fallen. Okinawahas been invaded. is being continuously bombed, and the tide of battle is drawing ever nearer to the homeland Japan
After seeing these sad things, do you, carried away by a temporary hot-bloodedness, show true love for your men by forcing them to die a dogs death? Is this the best plan?
Look at the example of
where because the officers gave their full consent, a million valuable lives were saved in order to build a new living nation after the war. Germany
We urge that you officers, who are responsible for the fate of the men in your command, act with prudence and decision.
The Americans constantly asked the Japanese not to kill themselves and to live on to rebuild their nation. There was one little exception to this rule and that was the senior officer corps. Both the OWI Navy leaflets and the PWB Army leaflets had no compunction about telling the officers that taking their lives was completely acceptable. This leaflet actually shows the hara kiri tradition setting. The privacy screen waits as does the knife to be used to disembowel oneself. Some of the text is:
When the tide turned against the Japanese forces on
Okinawaand defeat became certain, the leaders there carried out the tradition of the Japanese warrior and took full responsibility, ending their lives.
What of the military leaders in
, who sent these brave men and thousands of other brave men to their deaths? Far from accepting responsibility for the crushing defeats Japan has suffered, they are now seeking to place the burden of defending the homeland on the shoulders of the people, Tokyo
It is time that they admitted their failure as leaders and obeyed the code which they demand that their followers obey.
Theme: Rally to save what is left of their country.
Leaflet 113-J-1 depicts a riveter working on a building, with other new buildings and
Who will rebuild
The text on the back of the leaflet is:
War Reaches Japanese Heartland
Japans great cities are being heavily bombed from bases on the Pacific Islandsand on Okinawa. The industrial districts of Tokyo, Nagoya, and are being devastated. Great areas in these once flourishing cities have been reduced to ashes, Kobe
It is sad that the exigencies of war mean that the
air raids will increase in fury with each day until the selfish militarists have been destroyed. US
The Japanese militarists alone are responsible for
s present misery. It is they and not the Japanese people at whom the attacks are directed. On the day when the militarists are crushed and peace returns under a modern government, will you not be needed for the great work of rebuilding Japan ? Japan
This 17 February 1945 Sixth Army leaflet to the Japanese depicts a soldier looking at a grave-site with Mt. Fuji and a torii in the background. Fuji implies that the soldier has returned home after the war. The text on the front is:
Two Roads of Thought
The back is all text:
Officers and men of the Japanese Imperial Forces:
After this conflict is over, wouldnt it be better to return to your beloved homes which you are always thinking of in your dreams day and night, than death far away from your parents, wife, and children who are waiting for your return.
Display a white object, come over to our lines, and you will be given food, clothing, and medical care as specified by the Geneva Convention.
Note: A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of, or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to sacred.
Theme: Destroy the military clique and form a peace government.
This leaflet depicts the famous Japanese scholar Ninomiya Sontoku. (1787-1856), the Peasant Sage of Japan. It is not uncommon to see statues of Ninomiya in front of Japanese schools. Typically these statues show him as a boy reading a book while walking and carrying firewood on his back. It was said that Ninomiya was reading and studying every moment he could. Ninomiya combined the traditional teachings of Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism and transformed them into practical ethical principles. He saw agriculture as the highest form of humanity. Ninomiya was also a moral leader who believed in the value of hard work and the dignity of manual labor.
The theme of the PWB leaflet is: Continuation of the war will destroy Japan. The leaflet is entitled Words vs. Deeds. One such leaflet was found on Northern Luzon on 30 June 1945. The leaflet says in part:
The good government considers what it can give to the people.The bad government considers what it can take away. How does this compare with the actions of the militarists?
The Japanese 1 Yen note of 1946
After the end of WWII, the United States occupying forces asked that all military individuals and symbols be removed from Japanese banknotes. They recommended to the Japanese Government that a portrait of the Democratic scholar Ninomiya Sontoku would be a suitable choice for a banknote portrait. The image of Ninomiya was placed on the 1 yen note of 19 March 1946.
The official title of U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Branch Leaflet is "Japanese Navy and Air Force Powerless." The target is the Japanese homeland. The leaflet depicts a Japanese city with the shadow of a U.S. B-29 upon it. One wing of the aircraft is visible in the upper left-hand corner. The text on the back is:
Some Japanese prisoners stated that the term Unconditional Surrender was very confusing to Japanese soldiers and the Americans should make every effort to clarify to the Japanese that their race was not about to be exterminated. A captured Japanese news correspondent also stated the importance of explaining to the Japanese people Americas intentions in regard to their country.
Boasting that their defense was an iron wall, the militarists asserted that the Japanese Navy and Air Force would annihilate all who attacked the homeland.
Today, those militarists stand powerless while the
U.S.Navy and Air Force attack at will and with increasing fury. Japan
It is clear that the Japanese Navy and Air Force cannot defend the homeland. It is also clear that the militarists, whose so-called defense was merely an empty word, are not worthy to be leaders.
The full force of the American attack has not yet been felt. When it comes, the destruction will be pitiless and complete.
The militarists cannot save
by their boasts, but the people can save their country by unconditional surrender. Japan
Theme: Charge the military clique with the responsibility of the war:
This leaflet states that the Military clique started the war and now want the civilians to finish it. The official title of the leaflet is A Candle in the Wind, a Japanese saying that implies an extremely difficult situation. A Japanese family is digging a foxhole to protect themselves from an approaching storm. Paulownia leaves (an ill omen) are seen swirling about. I talk more about these evil omens in my article Falling Leaves leaflets. Some of the text is:
No longer able to conceal their successive defeats, the military is attempting to put the responsibility for defense on the shoulders of the people by ordering them to fortify their homes. The call upon the people to do what the Army, Navy and Air Force are unable to do. How can civilians perform a task that was too great for the trained fighting forces?
When the general attack on the homeland begins, there wont even be a chance to fight against its overwhelming might. The destruction will be terrible and complete. The people cannot save Japan by sacrificing their cities, their homes and their lives. The only hope for Japans future lies in unconditional surrender, enabling the people to return to their peacetime pursuits.
Theme: Their country is divided. Disunity exists among the army, navy and air forces; between the civil and military population; and between officers and enlisted men.
This divide and conquer leaflet attempts to drive a wedge between the officer and enlisted Corps. It depicts General Yamashita withdrawing from a battlefield left in ruins. The title is:
One General Gains Fame while Tens of Thousands Die
Some of the text on the back is:
To check our determine advance the
militarists entrusted the task to the famous Japanese general Yamashita. He has failed, futilely sacrificing tens of thousands of your comrades In the face of such selfish ambition; your lives are of no concern to him whatsoever Soldier, must you, like your comrades in the Solomons and New Guinea die a dogs lonely death in a distant land just because of such incompetence and irresponsibility? Tokyo
Curiously, and perhaps not coincidentally, the very next leaflet, 20-J-1 was an all-text piece entitled General Nogi. This leaflet seeks to divide the Japanese soldiers from their commander and implies that if General Yamashita was honorable he would commit Hari Kiri. In this leaflet, the PWB tells of how after being accused of losing too many men in his great victory at Port Arthur against the Russians, he offered to commit suicide. This honorable action is compared with General Yamashitas demand for Gyokusai (glorious death) by his troops. The Japanese would do banzai attacks where they would charge with guns, crutches, rocks or whatever they could carry. The Americans mowed them down. Those that were immobile or out of ammunition would often hold grenades against their bodies and pull the pin. The leaflet concludes:
General Yamashita took no blame for the glaring blunder committed on Leyte Island. This blunder caused useless death to more than 100,000 men. He sought to shift the blame onto others.
To cover his failures he forced his officers and men to needless sacrifices in the name of glorious death. He remained quite undisturbed as he looked on these vast numbers of sacrifices.
It would seem that the difference between the splendid spirit of General Nogi and the base attitude of the military leaders today, represented by Yamashita, is like the difference between clouds and mud.
This leaflet is rather plain with just a colorful view of Japan off to the side on the front. My files show that this leaflet was produced in Manila from April to August 1945. It seeks to divide the Japanese enlisted men and officers by telling the common soldiers that they have fought honorably, but their officers have dishonored and embarrassed them by giving orders to murder innocent women and children. Since many of the Japanese soldiers seemed to enjoy killing civilians with swords and bayonets I am not sure how effective this leaflet would be. The text is:
TO SOLDIERS OF THE JAPANESE ARMY
You soldiers engaged in the Philippine campaign know that among the officers of the Japanese Army there were some that gave orders to kill innocent women and children. We feel sure that this does not reflect the spirit of the fighting men of Japan.
War is for fighting men, and we feel sure that you felt disappointed and ashamed of Japanese officers who gave orders to kill non-combatants, innocent women and children. These officers, while they were being thoroughly defeated in battle, placed you in your present wretched and miserable position, were in a cowardly fashion killing innocent civilians.
They dare do such things as these, while at the same time telling those under them to be God-like soldiers. How long can you continue to serve under leaders who order things so dishonorable and so contrary to the code of Bushido? How can you have respect for officers who did not hesitate to order such barbaric acts committed against innocent civilians and weak and helpless women and children?
Soldiers! Please think this over! How would you feel if your own parents, wife or children were cruelly treated and killed in the way Japanese forces did these things in Manila?
This leaflet depicts the clothes of a militarist on one side and those of a worker on the other. It seeks to divide and conquer. Some of the text is:
Since the militarists have assumed control, conditions within
have steadily deteriorated. The war has brought wealth and position to a few, but to the people who are the backbone of the nation it has brought higher taxes, compulsory savings, and fewer and fewer of lifes necessities Japan
Theme: Their land and air forces are inadequate.
This leaflet depicts an American invasion force in the
Where is the Japanese Fleet?
The question is reminiscent of the Allied propaganda in
Some of the text on the back is:
Four days before the American forces carried out their landing on
Luzon, the Japanese already knew of the enormous convoy steaming northward. But the Japanese fleet made hardly any attacks on it, and the Americans landed easily in Lingayen Gulf.
This shows that you can no longer trust the Japanese fleet. Your supply routes have been blocked: there is no road open for reinforcements, and as a result you have to fight at an extreme disadvantage.
At a time when you are confronted with such unparalleled danger, Tokyo radio has broadcast the names of more than 80 admirals who have died since the start of the Great
East AsiaWar. What do you think might be the significance of this?
The Official U.S. Navy Photo used in the above Leaflet
Notice the three Consolidated PBYs (Patrol Bomber and Y was the code for the maker, Consolidated) Catalina, is an American flying boat, and later an amphibious aircraft and one of the most widely used seaplanes of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other nations. During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escort, search and rescue missions, and cargo transport.
There is reason to believe that this ridicule of the Japanese Navy worked. According to Report on Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area 1944-1945, American admirals believed that the Japanese Navy could be needled into coming out to fight. As a result, messages and leaflets said that the Japanese Navy would abandon its troops in the Philippines just as they had those isolated troops on the southern islands. After the campaign of ridicule they attacked Leyte Gulf on 24 October 1944. It was a disastrous defeat. U.S. Army Colonel Sidney F. Mashbir, who led the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section of Southwest Pacific Area, congratulated the PWB on its needling of the Japanese and said:
No one will ever under-estimate the part which the campaign of ridicule, so ably carried out by the Psychological Warfare Branch, played in bringing out the Japanese Navy to be destroyed.
To be honest, in almost every American leaflet there is a comment that points out the
inadequacy of the Japanese military forces. This very pictorial large leaflet depicts B-24
Liberator bombers flying unopposed over
Earthquakes and tidal waves cannot be halted. The people realize they are powerless against these overwhelming forces of nature and accept the ruin which follows in their wake.
The military forces of
Japancan no more halt the overwhelming destruction by the Air Force than the people can stop an earthquake. United States
With ever increasing fury this air force will sweep over
like a tidal wave. It will rock the land like an earthquake. With unbelievable striking power, it will bring widespread destruction greater than that caused by all the forces of nature. Japan
The boasting Japanese militarists know they are powerless to stop this terrific devastation. Having thus failed, they now call on helpless old men, women, and children to defend their own homes. They are now asking you to assume responsibility for home defense. But what weapons are the military giving you to defend your homes?
Complete destruction can be avoided only by the peoples overthrowing the militarists and asking for peace. An understanding with the
United Statesmeans that the peace-loving people of will be saved and will be free to build their country into a modern civilized nation. Japan
I hesitated to add this leaflet because it is all text and without an interesting image. However, it is an extremely important leaflet. In fact, it was placed inside the Report on Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area 1944-1945 as an example of the PWB PSYOP tactics. This indicates how important the American staff considered it to be. It tells the Japanese the complete text of the Potsdam Conference where the United States, Great Britain and China agreed on the postwar treatment of Japan.
The Declaration was released to the press in Potsdam on the evening of 26 July 1945 and simultaneously transmitted to the Office of War Information in Washington. The OWI radio transmitters began broadcasting it in Japanese. The Japanese never mentioned this proclamation to their people. The ultimatum was heard by Japanese who listened to the OWI broadcasts, and leaflets describing it were dropped from American bombers. Although picking up leaflets and listening to foreign radio broadcasts had been banned by the government, the American propaganda efforts were successful in making the key points of the declaration known to most Japanese. Some of the leaflet message included:
Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives we do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction
According to my records this is the very last leaflet produced in the J-1 series. It is all text and tells the Japanese troops that the war is over. My records say about this leaflet: Special leaflet, request from 37th Division. It tells isolated troops of Japanese surrender." The text is:
Notification of Surrender from the War Department
Notice to Japanese soldiers on 2 September. Shigemitsu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Umezu, the Minister of War, boarded the USS Missouri and signed the official surrender. The terms of surrender include the following:
Paragraph 1, Section 4: The office of the War Department, the main islands of Japan and her surrounding possessions up to the 38th parallel of Korea, and the Army, Navy, and Air Force troops in the Pacific area are to surrender to the American army. Furthermore, it has been decided that each individual soldier fighting in all different war zones is to surrender to the nearest American unit. Send men into the American territory at once and surrender with pride and orderly discipline.
Rather than be held hostage to these arbitrary themes, I will now discuss a number of leaflet types that I will call Special projects. Each of these leaflets served a purpose, though they might not fall into any preconceived themes.
Just as the PWB printed different leaflets, they also prepared numerous oversized leaflets and posters. Some were for the Japanese, some for the Filipinos, and many were for the American troops. Because of their size we will not depict many of these large products. However, some are particularly interesting.
Oversized Leaflet 2-J-8
There were a number of large leaflets prepared to help the Japanese soldier surrender.
Leaflet 2-J-8 is 10 x 14-inches. Most of these ask that the American and Filipino troops
place these where a the Japanese might congregate to help them surrender. Japanese text on
the back explains the surrender procedure. Similar large leaflets are 31-J-6 and 13-J-8.
We should probably point out that the Filipinos, who had suffered under the Japanese yoke,
were not nearly as forgiving as the Americans. For years after the end of the war any
Japanese tourist who happened to find himself alone on a back road in the
We mention poster 31-J-6 in the paragraph above. It measures 9 x 14-inches and is all text on green paper. The language is Japanese and it targets any Japanese that have continued to resist the Allies. The text is:
The United States Army will occupy this area in the near future.
The Japanese High Command knows that Luzon is impossible to defend.
But, to save the face of these high officers you are condemned to fight and die in the mountains. You will never see you homeland again.
You have been warned. Cease Resistance now.
Japanese Reactions to Propaganda Leaflets Poster
This poster coded 1-R-6 was printed by the PWB as an educational aid to American troops to convince them to bring back Japanese soldiers who surrendered alive. The poster is 10 x 14-inches. Many American soldiers who had seen the cruelty and brutality of the Japanese had no interest in keeping them healthy. This poster points out how important the information a POW brings can be.
These large informative posters, measuring 18 x 24-inches were printed on a regular
basis by the Information and Education Section of the Armed Forces
Sixth Army Poster
Another poster seems to be a Japanese product because it is completely made up of
Japanese propaganda leaflets, newspapers and cartoons. The title is Asia for the
Asiatics In reality; this poster was produced by the Assistant Chief of Staff,
Intelligence, of the
Notice that one of the propaganda products depicted in the poster, the leaflet, American Gobs is mentioned in our article on Japanese propaganda. This poster also contains propaganda about Japanese Catholics. American propagandists thought it was comical that the Japanese with a very small minority of persecuted Catholics would attempt to convince the Filipinos that they had the same religious beliefs.
The Sixth Army apparently produced this poster to show its own people the kind of
propaganda that the Japanese had produced during their occupation of the
We mentioned above that the PWB placed small elements with numerous field units. I have selected two leaflets for this section that show how the elements used local support organizations to prepare leaflets.
This leaflet was to be used against small Japanese units that were defeated and cut-off. It was not to be used anywhere else. The front calligraphy was done by a Sixth Army PWB member while the text was written by a Japanese prisoner of war. The leaflet was printed by the Reproduction Section of the 929 Engineer Aviation Regiment through the cooperation of one Lieutenant J. H. Evans. The text on the front is:
Think this Over Carefully!
I am a prisoner of the Americans and every day I receive warm treatment from them. With tears in my eyes I am grateful to them.
I was astonished to see the new types of tanks, warships, planes and guns. I realized for the first time that we are losing the war to the Americans. At present, what hope is left for you? Be at ease and think of the future, the new Japan.
Surrender immediately and let us await peace.
The large all-text leaflet is interesting from many standpoints. It is one of the few leaflets coded 10 which indicates it was from the 10th Corps of the Sixth Army. One again it is for isolated Japanese units, but in this tactical leaflet they are named. It was written by a Japanese Sergeant Major from the 20th Regiment. The English text was then prepared by a Captain R. Beard who was the X Corps PWB liaison officer. The calligraphy was supervised by X Corps and the printing was done by the 671 Topographic Platoon. Everybody got into the act! Some of the text is:
To the Men of the 9th, 20th and 33rd Regiments
I am now a prisoner of the Americans on Leyte Island and am receiving very good care. We are grateful to the Americans who we used to think devils
Since we have been captured, we have received coffee, bread, meat, chocolate, expensive cigarettes, and they send our wounded to the hospital...
Stop fighting uselessly and save your loved ones back home. Americans are not devils, so when you see their leaflets, come over to the Americans and receive their sincere care. Leyte Island will be the end of Japan within a matter of hours
General MacArthur returns to the
Before I start this section I must admit that as a youngster, General MacArthur was a
personal hero of mine. I saw him win in the Pacific, take the Japanese surrender and later
Much of the complaints about his reconquest of the
In the latter months of the war the Office of War Informations Intelligence and Leaflet Unit, Area III, produced a Leaflet News Letter. In this clipping it mentions the MacArthur PSYOP. The American newspapers were fascinated by General MacArthur. The following article was the lead story in the New York Herald-Tribune's Sunday magazine section, This Week, for May 27, 1945:
The watchers on shore, the tall, bearded American, and the squat guerrilla chieftain, heard the submarine before they saw it, a long drawn-out whish in the darkness that was almost a sigh; the sound of dripping water and a huge sea monster wallowing out of the deep. Then silence again. Finally the long awaited signal, a light blinking cautiously, three times and then three again. Close to shore. Incredibly close. The bearded man rose from his hiding place, sniffed the salt air. It carried sounds in-land, and the Jap's were less than three miles away. But it drove from his nostrils the sick stench of rotting corpses in the village where the Japs had been before him.
He moved toward the shore, greeted a brisk young Ensign who had stepped out of a rubber boat. What did you bring us? Tommy guns and ammo, the Ensign answered. We have K-rations; radios; also chewing gum, cigarettes, matches, and lead pencils. Good Lord exclaimed the bearded man. Do they think I am opening up a cigar store?
It's psychological warfare, sir. The Ensign held up a package of chewing gum, turned on a tiny flashlight so the bearded man could see the printed cover. Three words; MacArthur's stirring slogan: I Shall Return."
William B. Breuer mentions some of this campaign in MacArthurs Undercover War, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1995:
Various items known to be scarce in the Philippines, such as cigarettes, matches, chewing gum, candy bars, sewing kits and pencils were sent to the islands in submarines by the millions for widespread distribution. Each package bore on one side the crossed American and Philippine flags and on the other the quotation I shall return! printed over a facsimile of General MacArthurs signature. Never mind that few Filipinos spoke English each man, woman and child knew the phrase I shall return!
Around Manila and elsewhere in the islands, I shall return! was crudely painted on walls as well as on the sides of buildings. On occasion, dawn breaking over Manila would find a large billboard with I shall return! leaping out at a passerby. These defiant words were even found on stickers pasted on the back of Japanese military busses and trains, at the entrances to theaters, at railway station, and even outside brothels.
When MacArthur returned to the
Colonel Courtney A. Whitney, a MacArthur confidant, was apparently responsible for the decision to create, in SWPA propaganda, a cult around MacArthur and his pledge to return, a campaign which, however effective in some quarters, led some guerrillas to adopt the derisive motto:
MacArthur has Returned
As I mentioned above, notice that it is MacArthur that has returned and not thousands of American soldiers and sailors. Still, the General apparently believed that the Filipinos reacted to his own charisma and personality and perhaps he was correct. The two page bi-fold above shows MacArthur saluting on the front and debarking from an aircraft on the back. There are three black and white pictures of him inside the booklet. The leaflet bears no code but my files show that it was 2-F-1. It appears that all the F leaflets were to the Filipinos after the American landing. The front of the leaflet depicts General MacArthur saluting. The back of the leaflet depicts the general stepping off an aircraft with the text:
General MacArthur steps out of a plane at an advance airbase somewhere in New Guinea
When the bi-fold is opened there are three black and white photographs inside the leaflet with MacArthur on a warship, walking down a Philippine road, and in a landing craft. The text is:
General MacArthur keeps his pledge.
When General MacArthur left Corregidor, under orders from President Roosevelt to proceed to
Australiaand organize the offensive against , his last words were I shall return. Japan
From that moment his one driving ambition has been to get back to the
Philippines, to drive out the Japanese, and to restore the legitimate government of the . Philippines
Today General MacArthur is back in the Philippines. He has returned as he promised. His great task is now entering its final phase. The forces under his command are assaulting the Japanese invaders throughout the Philippines. With these forces, General MacArthur will accomplish the liberation of the Filipino people.
But that liberation can be accomplished more quickly, and at smaller cost to American and Filipino lives, with your help and co-operation. General MacArthur will tell you over the radio, in proclamation, and by leaflet, exactly how and when you can help. Watch closely for these instructions.
This leaflet depicts MacArthur walking ashore on the
Home again! General MacArthur and President Osmena stride up the
to set up the Philippine government on Philippine soil once again. They came ashore shortly after the first wave and are accompanied by Lt. General Sutherland and Brig. General Carlos Romulo. beachof Leyte Island
The back has two photographs; one of the American flag being raised and the other of a landing craft (LST) approaching the Philippines. The text is:
The American flag flies on Leyte, bringing with it liberty to the people of the Philippines.
The first wave of American soldiers landing on Leyte to keep General MacArthurs pledge: I shall return!
It may be unfair to point this out and I could be wrong, but it seems that MacArthur tried to produce an even number of leaflets and proclamations for both himself and President Osmena so that it would appear that they were equal in authority. Yet, I notice that the MacArthur leaflets are larger and in full color and generally more impressive that the Osmena material. I think anyone finding a group of such items on the ground would get the impression that MacArthur was the more powerful of the two and certainly in charge.
Major General Charles A. Willoughby talks about this scene in his biography of MacArthur:
Close behind the troops, in a drenching tropical downpour, MacArthur strode ashore on a muddy beach near the town of Palo. Following him from a LST came little Colonel Carlos Romulo, the Filipino patriot who had been the Voice of Freedom on Corregidor and the last escapee from Bataan. Recalling the day at a later date, Romulo said jocularly:
The newspaper reported that I was right behind him. Little did they realize that I nearly drowned. There was this tall MacArthur, with the water reaching up to his knees, and behind him was little Romulo, trying to keep his head above water.
MacArthur immediately spoke to millions of waiting Filipinos on a portable radio transmitter. He said in part:
This is the Voice of Freedom, General MacArthur speaking. I have returned By the Grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil
Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the lines of battle roll on to bring you within the zone of operations, rise up and strike! For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of Divine God points the way. Follow in his name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!
I Shall Return
This is a small leaflet that depicts General MacArthur saluting on the front. It bears his autograph as well as his photograph. The back depicts the flags of the Philippines and the United States in full color side-by-side. Like many of the MacArthur leaflets to the Filipinos, this leaflet bears no code.
This issue of Free Philippines printed by the PWB depicts General
MacArthurs return to the Philippine
One of the articles inside refers to The Voice of Freedom, a radio station
that broadcast the liberation of the
The Voice of Freedom, originally broadcast from Corregidor by General Romulo, was revived on D-Day under instruction from General MacArthur, who himself initiated the first broadcast from Red Beach, above Palo, at H plus 4 over a shortwave transmitter set up by the Signal Corps. He was followed by President Osmena and General Romulo.
The first words to go out over the air the following evening on regular broadcast were: This is the Voice of Freedom coming to you from General MacArthurs headquarters on the
islandof Leyte, in the Central Philippines.
The diary of Filipino General Basilio J. Valdes, says of MacArthurs return on 23 October 1944:
He disembarked and went ashore to Tacloban. In front of the Capitol of the province, General MacArthur read the proclamation declaring null and void all laws promulgated by the Japanese and the puppet republic, and replacing those of the Commonwealth. His proclamation was followed by a speech by President Osmena.
Sergio Osmeņa (September 9, 1878 October 19, 1961) was the second President of
the Commonwealth of the
F.D.R. PUPPET SHOW
This Japanese leaflet appears to have been disseminated shortly after President Quezons death. At the left Manual Quezon is depicted in a coffin. At the right, U.S. President Roosevelt pulls the string of puppets representing Sergio Osmena being forced forward by General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz. The Japanese text is:
ACT II SCENE I
Osmena had fled the Philippines with MacArthur as Vice President and was by his side when he returned, now as President. A number of leaflets were printed with messages or proclamations by the new President.
A Message to Every Filipino
This leaflet bears a Philippine seal on the front and a picture of the president on the back. This leaflet bears no code but my files show that it was 3F1. Some of the text is:
President Osmena, elected to high office by the Filipino people at the last popular elections held in this country, has returned to the
with General MacArthur. He and the members of his government, with the complete support and backing of the American government, come to assist in the restoration of your freedom. Philippines
There is a photograph of President Osmena on the back in front of a CBS microphone addressing the Philippine people. The title is:
The Need for Unity
A Government of Law by President Osmena
Another leaflet that featured President Osmena was a small all-text item entitled A Government of Law by President Osmena. Osmena made the speech on 23 November 1944. This leaflet was dropped about a month after Osmena returned to the Philippines (An unverified note in my files says it was dropped 14 January 1945) and mentions his meetings with patriotic Guerilla leaders. This leaflet bears the code 7-F-1. My files show that there was another leaflet named President Osmenas speech that was given the code 1(g)F1.
The Leaflet News Letter of April 6, 1945 reports:
A favorable reaction to the Government of Law leaflet is reported. Jose Banez, Guerrilla editor of the
PanayToday says that, in response to it:
The guerrillas, who had executed more than a thousand spies, informers, and puppets during the Japanese occupation, ceased all executions and jailed several hundred newly arrested collaborators for hearings before a Provincial Board of Inquiry.
The Meaning of the Commonwealth
A third leaflet was entitled A Government of Law on one side, and The
Meaning of the Commonwealth on the other. A fourth variety was entitled The
Meaning of Commonwealth on both sides. This leaflet reprinted the contents of a
speech President Osmena gave in
My Beloved People
In this leaflet coded 15F6 (F for Filipino and 6 for 6th Army U.S. Army), President Osmena tells the Philippine people that MacArthur is pushing onward and is about to enter Manila. He calls for all patriots to come forward and help in the liberation of their country. He ends with:
God defend our cause! God strengthen our arms! God speed the day of our deliverance!
This is another leaflet letter from President Osmena (in the field). This leaflet is uncoded and asks the Filipinos to help the American forces and each other.
Banknote Overprint 10F6
Brigadier General Bonner F. Fellers stated that some Japanese occupation banknotes were
overprinted in Tacloban, Leyte, by the
THE CO-PROSPERITY SPHERE: WHAT IS IT WORTH?
The data sheet for these overprinted banknotes; 1, 5 and 10 pesos, is dated 7 December 1944. It states that they are to be disseminated widespread throughout populated areas of the Philippines. The purpose is to impress on the Filipino people that the Japanese occupation currency had no value and will soon be valueless and obsolete like the Japanese Empire. This overprint is the standard dark and dull red found in hundreds of WWII collections.
A Pristine PWB Overprinted Banknote that has never been in the Sun,
perhaps they all looked this bright when first overprinted
I have seen several examples of the 10F6 overprinted Banknotes that were safely stored away inside PWB Scrapbooks since the 1940s. The overprint is actually much brighter red than normal since most of these seven-decade old leaflets were on the ground in the sun and rain and were handled and passed around by the finders and tends to be a darker and duller red. This banknote came directly from a PWB scrapbook. It never saw the sun or any light and that is why it is so bright. Before I discovered these PWB Scrapbook notes I would have thought that a banknote so bright was a fake produced by some huckster to take advantage of an unwary buyer. Now we have to think twice about any note that has a color that doesnt seem quite right.
The Warriors of FREEDOM have Landed
Other leaflets are very patriotic. One coded 7-F-6 depicts American troops storming the
beaches and has the title on the front, The Warriors of FREEDOM have Landed.
The back is all text and entitled, Patriots of the
American and Philippine forces are liberating your country from Japanese oppression. Enemy air, land and sea forces have already suffered heavy reverses in the Leyte area.
As our landings continue, it is essential that the bombers and fleet prepare their way.
We do not want to injure a single Filipino. During the period from the 15th of December to the 8th of January follow these instructions carefully
Stay away from the Japanese troops and any place where they are gathered together.
Avoid all buildings, dumps, airstrips and bridges used by the Japanese. And most important of all, at the first sign of our landing, move away from the beaches. Move inland as far as possible.
For your safety comply with this request.
Leaflet 7-J-6 has a similar theme. It warns the Filipinos to stay away from areas where they could be killed. The Japanese troops had routinely slapped and beaten the Filipinos; something that they apparently did not feel was degrading because they were regularly slapped and beaten by their own officers. As a result, the Filipinos hated the Japanese. It was a vendetta. The Americans, knowing the Filipino soul, went to great lengths to treat them with respect and try to keep them safe from harm.
The text on the front of the leaflet is:
The Warriors of Freedom have landed on your Island!
The text on the back is:
American troops have landed in your area. They come to liberate you from the Japanese
TO HELP DEFEAT THE JAPS, AND FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY:
STAY AWAY FROM MILITARY OBJECTIVES. wherever there are Jap soldiers or installations.
AVOID ROAD AND BRIDGES. They will be bombed and strafed.
Remember--We do not want to harm YOU, but bombs cannot tell friend from foe. So do not gather in large groups.
If the Japs compel you to remain in dangerous areas, build slit trenches for yourselves.
Do not wander around at night. Our patrols will shoot any moving figure.
KEEP CALM. DO NOT ACT HASTILY AND EXPOSE YOURSELF UNNSECESSARILY TO ENEMT REPRISALS.
REMAIN READY TO HELP US WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY COMES.
If you find Allied soldiers who have been separated from their units hide them safely from the Japs, and notify the nearest American Headquarters.
If they are wounded give them as much medical care as you can.
FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS and help us drive the Japs from your island!
7-J-6 Carried in a Veterans Wallet for five decades
This treasured tattered copy of 6th Army leaflet 7-J-6 was found in the estate of a Fortuna, California, veteran who had apparently folded it and placed it in his wallet and saved it for 51 years:
Recently my two brothers and I found a leaflet titled Filipino Patriots (7-J-6) in an old wooden box that belonged to our father. He was Private First Class Willard Iversen and was wounded in Luzon, Philippines, on 27 January 1945. He was a member of the 161st Infantry Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning) and carried a browning automatic rifle (BAR). Dad passed away on February 13, 1996 at age 71. This leaflet must have been in his wallet for a long time. It is folded many times and in fragile condition. He wrote on it San Manuel, Luzon, Philippines.
DONT BLOCK THE ROADS!
Another such leaflet meant to protect the Filipinos and to help with the American movement toward the front is entitled DONT BLOCK THE ROADS! It is interesting to note that when Germany attacked France with Stuka fighter-bombers, one of the Terror concepts was to drive French civilians on to the roads to block the French defensive movements. Here, the Americans have asked the Filipinos to stay off the roads so they can quickly advance. This leaflet is uncoded. On the front, American tanks have been stopped by a mass of people on the road. The back of the leaflet has the same general image, except the Filipinos are now walking to the right of the road and the tanks and trucks are advancing with the text:
CLEAR THE WAY FOR THE FIGHTING MEN
This 26 January 1945 Sixth Army leaflet for the Filipinos in Tagalog tells them how they can help the war effort and sabotage the Japanese. The leaflet is titled "Landing instructions telling them how to avoid injury when the Americans land. I have seen this leaflet offered as U.S. Army paratrooper, and that is probably because the soldier seems to be wearing spit-shined Concoran jump boots. But, and this is a big but, as a sergeant I can tell you that no dedicated and motivated soldier would ever be caught with his hand in his pocket. A good sergeant would eat him alive for that. The leaflet was requested by the Intelligence Section of the U.S. Eighth Army in regard to their landing on the island of Luzon. It depicts a smiling American soldier on the front. The text on the back is:
You may help us with your liberation by:
Using roads only after military operations are complete.
Destroying bridges only when directed by American or Filipino forces.
Harassing small groups of individual Japanese, and if possible take them to friendly forces as captives.
Observing Japanese movements, numbers, positions and equipment so that you can report them accurately to American troops.
Giving aid, food, water, direction and information to small groups of soldiers like the one pictured on the opposite side of this sheet.
Your help will be needed to move food and supplies, and to improve your roads. Your municipal and barrio authorities will notify you, and you will be paid for your work.
The Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines will return with the armed forces. Its laws will be in effect. Obey them.
The Yanks have Landed On your
Leaflet 4-F-6 depicts American soldiers walking ashore. It was prepared on 23 September 1944 to be used on islands where the Americans land from D-Day to D plus 5. The back text is in English and warns the Filipinos to stay away from Japanese military objectives and ends with:
Remember: Planes, bombs and shells cannot tell a friend from a foe.
A Flag Leaflet
Perhaps to prepare the people for liberation and celebration, the PWB printed flag leaflets that depicted the Philippine flag on one side in full color and the 48-star flag of the
on the other side. The leaflet bears no code but my files show it was 4F1. United States
Sandler says about the flag leaflets: Stanley
to Tacloban, the roads were lined with Filipino citizens, many of them with our combination Filipino-American flag leaflets in their hands, many more with them tacked up in front of their houses. San Jose
President Harry Truman
Some Navy OWI leaflets depicted or mentioned President Truman, (Examples are leaflet 2088: "A Message from the President of the United States to the People of Japan"
. The PWB leaflets do not picture Truman at all as far as I can tell. As close as we come is this leaflet that quotes the president. Text on the front is: and leaflet 2099 which quoted from a Truman speech on the subject of unconditional surrender)
The Defeat of the Military Leaders is the Victory of the People
Some of the text on the back is:
AMERICAN PRESIDENT SPEAKS!
The more the war is prolonged, the greater will be the suffering and hardship of the Japanese people...
What effect will the unconditional surrender of the military authorities have on the Japanese people?
It means the end of the war and the end of the power of the military leaders who have brought
to the brink of destruction. It also means the return of soldiers and sailors to their families, to their farm villages, and to their various occupations Japan
It was American policy not to vilify or insult the Japanese Emperor in any way since it was believed that would be counter-productive to the war effort. This PWB leaflet honors the Japanese Emperors birthday. Although it bears the 1, it was requested by the Sixth Army for use against Japanese troops on Northern Luzon. The text on the front is:
Today is the Emperors Birthday
The text on the back is:.
Today, 29 April 1945, is the birthday of His Majesty, the Emperor.
It is regrettable that you Japanese soldiers must greet this day of public festival defeated everywhere by overwhelming superiority of ground, air and naval forces, and that, faced with hopeless conditions, you must seek a useless death
The military leaders who are responsible for this war are again unable to offer the Emperor a victory on his birthday. Rather, they are afraid of exposure of their own incompetence.
How much longer can these military leaders continue to deceive the Emperor?
Rear Admiral Ellis M. Zacharias
On 29 June 1961, Retired Rear Admiral Ellis M. Zacharias, 71, deputy chief of Naval Intelligence in World War II died of heart complications. Zacharias conducted radio psychological warfare against the Japanese high command in World War II. He became famous among PSYOP experts for his broadcasts to the Japanese which eased the way for their eventual capitulation by defining Unconditional surrender to them. He knew the Japanese leaders, spoke impeccable Japanese, and regularly explained that submission did not imply the overturning of their Emperor, their national system or their traditional way of life.
The leaflet above depicts the Goddess of Mercy and the text:
PEACE WITH HONOR
The back is all text and says in part:
Below is an extract from the first official broadcast made to the people of
by Rear Admiral Zacharias, in which he clarifies the statement by the new U.S. President Truman. Rear Admiral Zacharias was formerly stationed in Japan . He is well acquainted with many Japanese, such as Admiral Yonai and Admiral Nomura. During the two-month tour of the Tokyo by Prince and Princess Takamatsu in 1931, Rear Admiral Zacharias acted as their aide-de-camp. United States
The extract follows:
I have always acted as a friend of the Japanese people and have done everything in my power to prevent the catastrophe which has already begun to envelope your homeland
I am in a position to guarantee with authority that the desperate phrase Victory or extermination is a deliberate misrepresentation of fact
I am specifically authorized to reiterate that unconditional surrender is a purely military term, meaning only the yielding of arms. It does not entail extermination of the Japanese people
It is interesting to note that once the Allies decided on Unconditional surrender, which simply implied that there would be no bargaining over a terms of surrender, the phrase caused so many problems that a vast amount of time and energy had to be expended just to explain what the two words meant.
All through the war the Japanese and the Soviets warily watched each other. Both feared a sneak attack by the other. They were old enemies and had fought on more than one occasion. Because of Russian spies in Japan such as Victor Sorge, the Soviet Union was able to move some combat troops from their eastern defensive positions to help in the fight against Germany. Once it was clear that Japan was beaten, the USSR declared war on Japan and tried to grab some of the spoils. MacArthur quickly squelched that idea. In this leaflet, the PWB announces to the Japanese that they are now at war with the Soviet union too. On the front of the leaflet an American and a Soviet soldier shake hands. The text is:
The text on the back of the leaflet is:
Red Army Strikes
The powerful Soviet Union has now joined the war against Japan. This means that Japan will now be compelled to meet most of the combined might of the entire world
The fate that befell the German Army when it set out to overwhelm Russia is well known. The Russians not only stopped the invasion of the greatest army ever created, but the Red counter-offensive swept the Nazi Army back to Berlin and total defeat.
Despite heavy casualties, the Red Army is now at the peak of its strength both in men and arms. With its great fighting spirit, this battle-tested army has joined the forces aligned against Japan.
Surrounded by a ring of steel, the Japanese people must take action to avoid the utter destruction of their country.
Will you continue to allow the militarists to drag your ancestral country to utter ruin?
There is an interesting story behind this leaflet. Report on Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area 1944-1945 says:
Leaflets announcing the entry of the Soviet Union into the war were prepared four months in advance. Planners reasoned that if the Japanese Government were permitted to make the first announcement, there would be a fantastic claim of victory. If we announced it first, picturing the might of the Red Army, the psychological blow would stun the population. Seven million copies of the leaflet Red Army Strikes were dropped on Japan the day the Soviet Union declared war.
Tactical leaflets are very interesting because in theory they are not part of some great strategic plan coordinated by governments, generals and local politicians. They are leaflets prepared on the ground and used against an enemy directly in front of friendly forces. A commander fighting a battle may request such a leaflet to be used on enemy troops a few hundred meters away in an attempt to encourage surrenders. They are produced quickly, down and dirty and usually in black and white for speed. We will depict a few tactical leaflets here that were clearly called in to help win a specific battle and have little connection to the big picture.
The 1st Cavalry Division was locked in a bitter battle with the Japanese defenders of Ormoc. The PWB Liaison officer attached to the division requested this leaflet on 20 November 1944 to break the Japanese morale. The text is:
No sleep. No peace. Day and night the ceaseless firing of the artillery haunts you. Like devils, the shells find you and kill you. All around you can see your comrades dying after each barrage.
This leaflet bears a printing error and a Japanese prisoner pointed out that:
The third character from the top in the right hand row is wrong and makes the leaflet ineffective.
The Americans took a terrible beating at
Map Showing Position on
Bataanis significant to all Americans as a place where our soldiers were forced to retreat in early 1942. At the time we were unprepared for war.
Now the situation is reversed. We are strong. We are determined. We have the added advantage of having any escape route you choose blocked off. Our landing in the south denies you a means by which some of our men escaped to
Corregidor. Help will not reach you .
This leaflet depicts happy Japanese prisoners-of war. It was written by a Japanese prisoner who is actually in the picture eating a piece of chocolate. That chocolate might be the best propaganda. It is aimed at Japanese troops still fighting on Northern Luzon. The text on the front says in part:
We are all eagerly awaiting your arrival here. Our days are spent in pleasant surroundings. Our strength has increased with the food and special care the American soldiers have given us. We have renewed hop for the future.
The back is a long all text statement. It says in part:
Imperial Headquarters has announced the loss of Okinawa. The outcome of the war is now obvious. Several days before the fall of Okinawa, more than seven thousand Japanese soldiers surrendered, while in Northern Luzon hundreds are surrendering daily. These former soldiers are now safe and receiving food and medical attention. What is to be gained by further resistance? Further resistance will lead only to a miserable death. From my own experience I can guarantee you that your anxiety about your treatment is foolish. You will be given good treatment, food and medical supplies. Come to the American lines.
The concept of bomb warning leaflets is an interesting one. In theory it is a terrible idea because warning the enemy of where they will be bombed allows them to move anti-aircraft guns and fighter squadrons near to the target sites. For this reason, pilots hated them and did not want to drop them under any circumstances. On the other hand, strategic leaders knew that warning the Japanese of a coming bombing would cause the workers to flee the factories and tie up the roads, causing a drop in war production and transportation problems. Their observation that their military was helpless to protect them even when warned would destroy their morale.
The generals decreed that the warning would be disseminated. The OWI and the PWB handed this campaign in a very different way. The Navy dropped leaflets showing a B-29 bomber and listing a dozen cities that might be bombed in the near future. The message was In the next few days, four or more of the cities named on the reverse side of this leaflet will be destroyed by American bombs. That gave the Allied pilots a little leeway since the Japanese defenders did not know where or when the attack would occur. The Army did it much more dangerously. They dropped a leaflet that said that the city targeted would be bombed within three days. Apparently this worked quite well and the Japanese did admit to major problems with industry when such a leaflet was dropped. Almost a decade later when MacArthur was fighting the North Koreans, the Americans used an almost identical leaflet. Apparently it worked.
Leaflet 150-J-1 depicts a bomb burst on the front with a bright red background and the text:
Civilians! Evacuate at once!
There is text on the back that says in part:
These leaflets are being dropped to notify you that your city has been listed for destruction by our powerful air force. The bombing will begin within 72 hours.
This advance notice will give your military ample time to take the necessary defensive measure to protect you from our inevitable attack. Watch and see how powerless they are to protect you.
We give the military clique this notification of our plans because we know there is nothing they can do to stop our overwhelming power and our iron determination. We want you to see how powerless the military is to protect you.
Systematic destruction of city after city will continue as long as you blindly follow your military leaders whose blunders have placed you on the very brink of extinction. It is your responsibility to overthrow the military government now and save what is left of your beautiful country.
In the meantime; we urge all civilians to evacuate at once.
Bomb Warning leaflet Printed by the U.S. Navy Destroyer McEntyre<>
Over the years I have seen many American leaflets overprinted with comments and a postage stamp from a Navy destroyer. It is clear that this destroyer had a printing press onboard and was preparing the leaflets to be dropped by naval aircraft flying from aircraft carriers. I have always hated the overprints because they deface the leaflet. Still, we can assume that some smart sailor decided that there was a profit to be made from the leaflets. It appears he took them to the destroyer post office and had them cancelled as a way to prove that they were in Japanese waters in 1945. On this version of leaflet 150-J-1 above the sailor has placed a U.S. one-cent George Washington postage stamp cancelled with the date 28 October 1945 and the name of his ship, the Marvin H. McIntyre. There is also a brief text:
Army occupation landing Oct. 28, 45. The bomber plant city of Nagoya, Honshu J. Target of Doolittles raid.
The sailor probably thought that the stamp and cancellation would make the leaflets more valuable, but because they are fairly common and most collectors want pristine copies, I believe the defacing of the leaflets make them less valuable.
Unlike leaflet 150-J-1 above which is more of a strategic leaflet aimed at the higher echelons of the Japanese military and government, Sixth Army leaflet 18-F-6 is a tactical bomb warning leaflet, probably dropped just ahead of the American military forces to warn the Filipinos to stay well clear of the fighting. It warns the Filipinos to stay off the roads and away from military targets.
Japanese Philippine Islands Warning Poster
This Japanese warning would normally go into my article on Japanese PSYOP, but it is so similar to the American PWB warning above that I thought it would be interesting to show it here so they can be compared. Note that the American leaflet says We dont want to hurt you, while the Japanese leaflet leaves no doubt as to their intentions. Filipinos will be shot to death.
When the U.S. Army hit the beaches of the Philippines Islands to drive out the Japanese occupiers, an entire series of F leaflets were prepared and disseminated. The first number in the code indicates the number of a particular series, the F indicates Filipino, and the final number indicates the army, in this case the 6th U.S. Army. This leaflet bears the lyrics of the song Heaven Watch the Philippines, written by Irving Berlin and dedicated to General Douglas MacArthur. The general in accepting the dedication said:
The Commander in Chief appreciates greatly the distinction of the dedication of a song by such a distinguished author and producer as Mr. Irving Berlin. He is deeply grateful to him not only for that, but for the magnificent aid he is rendering the Allied cause.
This leaflet was prepared to instruct the Filipinos how to act as they came in contact with advancing American troops. It mentions the danger of being on the roads and out in the open and warns against black marketeering although that term is not specifically used. It mentions the police, medical and financial aid. It sets the standard for transactions between the Filipinos and the United States Army.
Leaflet 8-J-6 (First Version)
Leaflet 17-J-1 (Second Version)
Although there were many types of surrender leaflets produced during the war, the most famous in the Pacific was the I Cease Resistance type. This leaflet had started with the text I surrender, but it was quickly found that the Japanese despised surrender and thought it cowardly. The leaflets were tested, revised, made larger so that they were more visible to both the Japanese and the American soldiers who might shoot the Japanese coming over to the Americans not realizing that they were surrendering, and eventually dropped in numerous forms. Readers who want to know more about this operation should read my article: The I Cease Resistance Safe Conduct Passes of WWII. I am aware of about 11 different versions of this standard leaflet, and more may exist.
The first version of the leaflet above was prepared by the U.S. Sixth Army for the Japanese on the Philippines. Notice that it uses the old I Surrender text. The message on the back is:
Brave Soldiers of Nippon:
The force to which you are attached has fought with great bravery. Rarely in the present war have we encountered such fighting spirit among Yamato warriors. We have gained deep respect for your courage.
But the war cannot be won by courage alone.
Our troops were able to attack you in overwhelming force because American factories have supplied us with superior weapons. You have felt their quality and power. Our planes dominate the field of battle. You are waiting for the Japanese Air Force but your expectation is in vain.
Your Force Commander ordered you into a hopeless attack. Then he delayed retreat too long, hoping in vain to retrieve his error. As the old saying goes:
The General reaps the glory, while ten thousand sacrifice themselves.
Now there is no escape. Your line of communication is cut off from the main Japanese force, and your escape route is now cut. Reinforcements cannot reach you. Every other Japanese unit is also cut off now. Some seek only to save themselves. Many others have honorably ceased resistance and are now in our care.
Your fate is like a flickering candle in the wind.
It is for you to decide whether you want to die a useless death or seek peace with honor.
This leaflet is your ticket to start a new life after the war.
The second version of the leaflet above is actually one of two versions of this I Cease Resistance leaflet with the same code number. The Japanese text on the front is the same on both, but the photographer has moved back so now there are four Japanese POWs with their eyes blanked out whereas on the first version only three are depicted. The text on the front is:
The text of the English message written above is:
This man is no longer an enemy, According to International Law; he is guaranteed personal safety, clothes, food, quarters and medical attention.
The picture at the left shows some of your comrades who came over to our side.
Eyes are covered to protect their families in
Text on the back is:
TO THE GALLANT JAPANESE OFFICERS AND MEN
You have fought bravely without the aid of your Navy and Air Force while suffering from a shortage of food. Fate was against you, however, and you have come to the final stage.
Is a meaningless death the only thing left to you? Why dont you seek the road to a new life and live for the future of
Your comrades, already under American protection, have recovered their health and are already enjoying a communal life.
This leaflet is a safe conduct pass to the American lines. Throw away you weapons and approach the American positions or sentry lines, carrying this message (or a piece of white cloth) on a stick. If you see an American soldier, raise both arms and obey his signs.
One leaflet may be used by a group.
I should point out that the original 17-J-1 leaflet had a blank back and this is considered a major error in leafleting since the enemy can place a message of their own on the back. In the case of the second version of this leaflet, the back bears an all-text message coded 141-J-1 and as a result it is also listed with that code number by the PWB.
I called this section quartets because there are two groups of leaflets that are in the same series, and each contains four different small leaflets.
The first four leaflets are all exactly the same size, bi-folded with a military scene on the front with a bright red background. One leaflet depicts a Japanese military truck, the second a destroyer, the third an artillery piece, and the fourth a Mitsubishi G4M Betty bomber, also known as the Navy Type 1 Attack bomber, or Hamaki (cigar). All of the leaflets bear quotations from Japanese publications on occupied areas of raw production that have been lost. Some of the text on the above leaflet is:
Admiral Nomura Kichisaburo says:
Japans great strength is due to her possession of the petroleum and other vital raw materials of the former Dutch East Indies.
In wartime, these distant regions are not just a southern extremity, but the vital heart of Japan.
If this heart should be lost, Japan would be attacked from the air; it would be a death blow to Japan.
A Japanese prisoner said that some of the text on these leaflets was incorrect since for instance, Japan depends on Korea and Manchuria for such materials as bauxite and steel and not the Southern Regions.
The next four small leaflets each bear a different letter within the numeric code.
132A-J1 depicts a large question mark over Japan and asks, Is the war strategy going well?
132B-J1 depicts a calendar with years from 1941 to 1945 and a question mark and the text, How much longer will this misery last?
132C-J1 depicts question marks over Japan and Tokyo and the text, Is a prolonged war profitable?
132D-J1 depicts a Japanese woman looking at a shower of leaflets falling from the sky. The text is, Why is it wrong to read leaflet?
Since the Japanese were told that all leaflets were lies and should never be read, this leaflet encourages the people look at them. The leaflets bear the title, Facts.
In this leaflet coded 3-J-8 President Roosevelt sends a message to the Filipinos. He compliments them for keeping the faith and trusting in the United States, he promises liberation and asks them to continue helping the Guerillas and the American forces. The back of the leaflet is a patriotic image depicting the crossed flags of the United States and the Philippines.
Memorandum explaining the Four General MacArthur Letters
The 27 September 1944 document gives the order in which the four letters are to be dropped and explains that until they are they are to be considered top secret.
To the People of the
Once General MacArthur and President Osmena returned to the
Whereas, the forces under my command
In this Proclamation to the People of the Philippines, MacArthur basically states that he is back and now legally controls the Philippines. He tells the Filipinos to obey the laws of the legal government that he will institute.
There is another proclamation with this same title Proclamation to the People of the Philippines though different text. In it, MacArthur discusses what he intends to do with the courts, how he will prosecute war crimes, the new Philippine currency, the banks and a debt moratorium. In regard to Philippine currency he states that there will be new banknotes; and that the old ones before the Japanese arrived and that emergency notes printed by the pro-American guerrillas are all valid, but anything the Japanese or their collaborators prepared are invalid:
A new victory series of Philippine Treasure Certificates (Victory Pesos) and Philippine coins, identical with pre-war issues, have been prepared and will be legal tender. The rate of exchange is two Victory Pesos for one American dollar. All pre-war Philippine Treasure Certificates are valid.
Japanese currency, Philippine National Banknotes (except for duly authorized emergency issues), notes of the Bank of the Philippines Islands, and New Central Bank notes are not legal tender. Transactions in these currencies are prohibited.
Another signed MacArthur proclamation was actually coded 14-f-6 although this is not mentioned on the document. This 29 December 1944 proclamation is entitled, Providing the Military Measures to be taken upon the Apprehension of Citizens who have voluntarily given Aid, Comfort and Substance to the Enemy. It explains in some depth that MacArthur will remove such persons when apprehended from any position of political or economic influence, arrest them and after the end of the war see that they are released to the Philippine government for judgement.
In fact, Jose P. Laurel, the collaborationist Philippine President who worked with the Japanese was arrested in Japan on 7 September 1945 and returned to the Philippines in June 1946. He was charged with treason but released under a general amnesty before the conclusion of his trial.
Patriots of the Philippines
Here the General seems to complement the Filipinos for their loyalty and help in his campaign. He explains that he will promulgate specific orders but expects their common sense to rule in all cases. The back his signed and the proclamation ends with the paragraph:
Above all, I call for unity among the people - that unity so essential to the development of maximum strength at this critical time. Let the depth of your patriotism and your love of freedom rise above all differences, factional quarrels, disputes and petty jealousies; that all patriots unflinchingly may march shoulder to shoulder toward a common destiny.
To Count Terauchi
This proclamation to the Commander in Chief of Japanese Forces is interesting because MacArthur is clearly disturbed. He has heard that American prisoners have been treated brutally. He warns of possible retribution to come.
MacArthur received some criticism for charging the former commander of Japanese forces in the Philippines, General Yamashita Tomoyuki, with war crimes committed in the city of Manila. Tomoyuki was 80 kilometers away from Manila at the time and out of communication with his troops. He was found guilty and executed in February 1946. Some critics believed that MacArthur simply wanted revenge because he had been beaten badly and forced to flee the Philippines at the start of the war.
This is the first of several proclamations by President Osmena. It bears no code but my records show that it is very likely 1(e)-F-1. It asks that Filipinos come forth to work for the Allies and for food production to feed themselves. President Osmena apparently published at least four proclamations because my files show codes for him from 1(e)-F-1 to 1(h)-F-1
My Fellow Countrymen
Osmena tells his countrymen here that MacArthur and freedom have returned. He urges his people to rise up and fight the Japanese as the Americans approach their homes.
Rakkasan News No. 21
Wherever American propagandists go, newspapers are sure to follow. Since the enemy generally only hears favorable news from his side, the Americans tend to make it a point to give him a more truthful and unbiased look at the current war situation. The Rakkasan Nyuso (Parachute News) was published by the PWB from about March to August 1945. The 4 August 1945 paper above has the following news stories on the front side:
The full text of the Potsdam Proclamation; MacArthur plans the bombing of strategic sites in Japan; Three Japanese convoys sunk; The toll of Japanese dead and taken as prisoners in the Philippines; peace is now possible if the Japanese choose it.
Rakkasan News No. 22 (Back)
This very historic issue of the Rakkasan news is dated 11 August 1945. That is five days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. One of the main stories is:
Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the most powerful weapon on Earth.
Other stories include: Heavy bombings of Japanese cities by B-29s; Japan blockaded by Minefields; Japanese hospital ship carries arms and unwounded soldiers; huge July toll of Japanese ships and planes; and MacArthurs planes make Kagasaki port area a flaming inferno.
The photo in the center of the paper shows a Nisei (an American of Japanese descent) Sergeant holding his nephew on Okinawa).
The very popular and effective Rakkasan News was also published in
, but of course, for the enemy All prisoners interrogated said it was a very professional Tokyo-type newspaper. Even those overwhelming majority of Japanese troops who did not defect were starved for news and could be influenced by U.S. PSYWAR news sheets Between 20 and 26 May, 119 Japanese surrendered to XI Corps troops, and for the most part admitted they had been influenced by American PSYWAR, even though they were in fairly good condition; they particularly appreciated Rakkasan News. A Japanese Domei news agency correspondents report, found by Filipino guerrillas, stated that he looked forward to each issue, due to its timely news. Manila
General Feller says:
Each week one to two million copies were dropped on enemy troops and the civil population in Japan. Prisoners of War in the Philippine said that the Rakkasan News was the only source of truthful information available to the Japanese soldier from the outside world.
One Japanese prisoner questioned about his opinion of this propaganda newspaper by the PWB said that it was the most effective of all the leaflets, and recommended a way to make it even better:
Articles concerning the Emperor should appear at the top of the page, a precedent established by Japanese newspapers. Any item concerning the Emperor should be reprinted exactly as released by Domei [the Japanese news service], since the exact wording would then ring true to the Japanese.
Ji Ji Shu Ho Issue Number Six - 24f-J-6
Another newspaper printed by the
We depict Issue 6 above, with stories of American troops on their way to Manila, Japanese General Yamashita claiming that all is going well, a picture of Mr. B-San, the Japanese name for the B-29 bomber, and a Japanese style cartoon showing an aircraft carrier landing what it thought to be a fighter but turns out to be a seagull.
This is just a very short story to give an example of what General MacArthurs Psychological Warfare Branch produced for the Philippine Campaign. Since over 200 leaflets exist, this article could easily be two or three times larger. Readers who want to know more about the psychological operations in the Pacific should read my articles on Australian and American Army and Navy general propaganda in The United States PSYOP Organization in the Pacific during World War II; the U.S. Navy and Office of War Information civilian operations in the Pacific Theatre in OWI Pacific PSYOP Six Decades ago; and the Japanese methods of psychological warfare in Japanese PSYOP During WWII. The four articles together give a very detailed account of psychological operations in the Pacific Theatre during WWII.
A PWB Certificate
Brigadier General Bonner F. Fellers, Military Secretary to Commander in Chief General Douglas MacArthur, signs a standard certificate for a departing PWB propagandist.
General Fellers said that the U.S. suffered 59,510 deaths in the Philippines. The Japanese lost 314,387 troops. That is a 1 to 5.3 average. He believed this his PSYOP helped convince 12,181 Japanese troops to surrender. He says that be using the same ratio, had those troops fought to the death another 2,300 American troops would have been killed.
At the end of the war MacArthurs PWB was disbanded and became the Information Dissemination Section. The personnel were then assigned to work with the Japanese press, radio, theaters and schools. On 22 September 1945, the Information Dissemination Section was merged into a Special Staff Section, Civil Information and Education.
A bookplate inscribed to show the name of the book's owner.
Ex Libris is usually found on a bookplate glued to the back of the cover of a book. Collectors use them to protect their books. Proclaim their ownership, and even to talk about the owner and show his personal habits and hobbies. Back in the early part of the last century they were very popular and artistic.
The bookplate above was found in a collection of WWII Office of War Information leaflets used against Japan. It could be a propaganda leaflet, but it shows no code. The blank back shows signs of gum. Looking carefully I noticed an impressed seal at the right front that read:
EX LIBRES JOSE SARTOS
So, what is this item? I believe that during the Second World War a very patriotic Filipino saw the Japanese attack his nation and the Americans come back and liberate the Philippines. I believe he designed this bookplate which shows A Filipino mother over her dead son and a Filipino father holding his fist against the sky; their village burning in the background. The text is:
America Challenged! The Philippines Accepted!
Clearly this bookplate is not American propaganda, but it is true patriotism from a man willing to fight and die for his country. I should not add this, but I cannot help myself.
MacArthurs Final Leaflet to the Japanese in the Philippines?
This could be one of the most interesting leaflets from the Philippine campaign. We dont know much about it, except that it was found with some military papers and was accompanied by a handwritten letter from a veteran that stated it was a surrender leaflet from Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita (the Tiger of Malaya) telling his troops to surrender. I assume the leaflet would have been printed by U.S. forces after the Japanese surrender and the general ordered to sign it and then it was reproduced and disseminated. Note at the bottom the English-language sentence: Please bring this leaflet to the nearest Japanese unit or soldier. If this item is genuine it would have told all the Japanese on the Philippine Islands that the war was over. The letter is difficult to read but we can make out most of the text:
This is the grand order of surrender issued by General MacArthur and signed by General Yamashita on 3 September 1945.
He was commander of all Jap bastards in the Philippines. He was also present at General Wainwrights surrender of Corregidor way back when
He also (Yamashita) was partially responsible for the murdering of hundreds of Americans in the Death March of Bataan.
Forever yours faithfully,
Yamashitas signature is the very heavy scratching in the lower right-hand corner.
To All Persons in the Philippine Islands
Since we are talking about surrender leaflets here is one to the Americans, Japanese and Filipinos. It is clearly after the fall of the Philippines and tells everyone that Japanese soldiers coming out of the bush to surrender are to be unharmed and forwarded to the U.S. Army. It does not bear a code number, but I am sure this was a PWB leaflet and it is possible that the code number was lost when the leaflet sustained several tears. The back has a long surrender message to the Japanese soldier still in the field. Note: To save space I have severely cropped this image, in reality there was a large section missing at the lower left.
As always, the author invites questions and comments. Readers are encouraged to write to him at Sgmbert@hotmail.com.