Radio Leaflets During Wartime


Note: Some text and images from this article were depicted in the THE LEAFLET DROP, The Newsletter of the PSYOP Veterans Association (POVA), October 2019. In 2023, the author of GIOVANNI HAS A LONG MUSTACHE: RADIO AT THE FRONT, INFORMATION AND PROPAGANDA, 1934-2000 requested the use of numerous photographs from this article to enrich his book.

The use of radio as a medium of propaganda in wartime was made famous during WWII by Tokyo Rose (Born in Los Angeles in 1916, a Nisei first generation American) and Axis Sally (Rita Zucca, who was born in New York). The British listened to William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) broadcasting from Germany. During the Korean War, Americans heard Seoul City Sue: (Anna Wallis, a Methodist missionary from Arkansas). In later wars, American soldiers would hear the voice of Hanoi Hannah (Trinh Thi Ngo. She called herself Thu Houng – the fragrance of Autumn) and Baghdad Betty. Radio propaganda can be broadcast over great distances to a large audience at a relatively low cost. In recent years, the United States has taken the lead in broadcast psychological operations (PSYOP) due to its superior technology, and its ability to use aircraft to broadcast AM, FM and short-wave radio from directly over target audience. America has dropped battery or crank-powered radios on third-world nations like Haiti so that the populace could hear the broadcasts. In the more recent struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States distributed various battery and solar-powered satellite radios so that its story could be heard.

One would think that each of these propagandists would use the same general techniques. That is not true. Each one had his or her personal style and though their message was often same, each had a distinct personality. First the radio propagandists for the Axis.

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Lord Hee Haw - William Joyce

LORD HAW HAW was a nickname applied to the Irish-American William Joyce, a propagandist against Great Britain early in WWII. While many of the German propagandists tried to sound like common British workers, Lord Haw Haw pretended to be an aristocrat. The broadcasts opened with “Germany calling, Germany calling,” spoken in an affected upper-class English accent. Joyce was a senior member of the British Union of Fascists and fled England when tipped off about his planned internment on 26 August 1939. Joyce was captured by British forces in northern Germany just as the war ended, tried, and eventually hanged for treason on 3 January 1946.

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Axis Salley - Mildred Gillars

One of the most famous American Nazi collaborators was Mildred Gillars who would become known as AXIS SALLY. In 1933, she was in Europe acting as a governess and salesgirl. In 1934, she moved to Dresden, Germany, to study music, and was later employed as a teacher of English at the Berlitz School of Languages in Berlin. In 1940 she accepted employment Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), German State Radio as an announcer and actress. Her fiancé, Paul Karlson, a naturalized German citizen, said he would never marry her if she returned to the United States. Shortly afterwards, Karlson was sent to the Eastern Front, where he was killed in action. Alone after his death, she signed an oath of allegiance to Germany to protect herself. Within a short time, the radio program director convinced her to make broadcasts for Hitler. After the war, Gillars was indicted and charged with ten counts of treason at her trial which began on 25 January 1949. On 10 March 1949, the jury convicted Gillars on one count of treason. She was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine. For more information on Mildred Gillars click here.

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Philippe Henriot

Philippe Henriot was a collaborating Frenchman who worked with the Nazis in occupied France. He regularly attacked the French Resistance. In January 1944, he was appointed as the regime’s chief propagandist. Henriot played on the anxieties of the French people by arguing that the hardships they faced stemmed from their continued association with the Allies and native resistance groups, whom he labeled “terrorists.” Henriot’s twice-daily radio shows were popular with the pro-German French public, many of whom called him the “French Goebbels.” In June 1944, he was assassinated in a targeted hit by French resistance fighters.

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Tokyo Rose - Iva Toguri

Perhaps no broadcaster was as infamous as Iva Toguri - better known to Allied listeners as TOKYO ROSE. The American-born Toguri became stranded in Japan when the war began, and she was eventually coaxed behind the microphone and instructed to read radio scripts aimed at demoralizing U.S. troops in the Pacific. Toguri always maintained that she was a loyal American who had been forced onto the radio by circumstance, but after the war ended her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on one of eight counts of treason and sentenced to several years in prison. U.S. President Gerald Ford pardoned Toguri in 1977. For more information on Tokyo Rose click here.

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Seoul City Sue - Anna Wallis-Suh

Arkansas native Anna Wallis-Suh was a Methodist missionary, educator, and better known as SEOUL CITY SUE for her anti-American broadcasts for the North Koreans. She spent eight years working as a member of the American Southern Methodist Episcopal Mission in Korea. She met and married fellow staff member, Suh Kyoon Chul, thus losing her United States citizenship. They remained in Seoul during the Northern army's invasion of South Korea in June 1950. Suh began announcing a short English language program for North Korean radio starting about 18 July, continuing until shortly after the Inchon landing on September 15, when the Suhs were evacuated north as a part of the general withdrawal of North Korean forces. Subsequently, she continued broadcasts on Radio Pyongyang. The Suhs also participated in the political indoctrination of US POWs by teaching classes on Marxism. She also wrote demands and appeals such as “A surrender appeal to fellow fighting men.” For more information on Seoul City Sue click here.

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Hanoi Hannah - Trinh Thi Ngo

Her name was Trinh Thi Ngo. Americans called her HANOI HANNAH. Americans love alliteration. She called herself Thu Houng, “the Fragrance of Autumn.” Her job was to chill and frighten, not to charm and seduce. Her voice was as smooth as silk, her English impeccable, and as North Vietnam's premier propagandist, she tried to convince American troops that the war was immoral, that they should lay down their arms and go home. Trinh Thi Ngo’s fame was associated with this program, which was broadcast at night after a long day of fighting. The opening sentence was: “This is Thu Huong, talking with American soldiers in southern Vietnam…”. Initially, each program had been 5-6 minutes long and broadcast twice a week before it was extended to 30 minutes and broadcast three times a day. So each day, Ngo spent 90 minutes to have her voice broadcast to hundreds of thousands of American servicemen. For more information on Hanoi Hannah click here.

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Baghdad Betty

We don’t know much about BAGHDAD BETTY. The few American troops who heard her broadcasts say she was no Hanoi Hannah. Colonel Jeffrey Jones, Commanding Officer of the Army’s 8th Psychological Task Force who directed U.S. PSYOP in the Gulf, says Betty’s broadcasts were laughable. The broadcast became a laughing stock at they made cultural error after error. Saddam Hussein wasn’t impressed with Betty’s efforts either. In mid-December 1990 she was sacked after only three months of broadcasting, and replaced by a collection of announcers who called themselves "Mother of Battles Radio" on the same frequency that Betty had used. For more information on Baghdad Betty click here.

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The Chief - Peter Secklemann

Unlike the Americans and the Axis, in Britain a secret is a secret. There are no wartime pictures of Peter Secklemann. They were all closely guarded and probably protected by the Official Secrets Act. About 40 years after the war, this picture of Secklemann appeared in a documentary about WWII.

We don’t have so many radio propagandists for the Allies, but Sefton Delmer of the British Political Warfare Executive was running an anti-Hitler radio show for the British called Gustav Siegfried Eins. The show featured what was alleged to be an early Party member called Der Chef who constantly attacked the Nazi leadership for being not loyal enough to their Fuehrer and for their corruption. He also attacked “That old Jew Churchill” which made many Britons unhappy, it but was all part of the false persona. “The Chief” was voiced by a 39-year-old German exile named Peter Seckelmann. He had fled Nazi Germany to England in 1938. As "The Chief," his radio voice embodied the harsh tones of an enraged Prussian military officer, and he knew enough of both barracks curses and Germany under Hitler to hit the right notes as he railed against the Nazi Party leaders’ shortcomings. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this story is The Chief’s death. Delmer decided he should die on the radio so in the middle of his last show, the PWE staged a Gestapo raid and the audience heard, “I’ve finally caught you, you pig!” There followed a hail of machine gun bullets. The Chief was dead. The only problem is that one technician played the same “live” broadcast later that evening and the Chief was killed again. One of the few radio personalities to die twice the same day in two different broadcasts.

Another funny fact about this story is that the naive American intelligence operatives fell for it. In another article I mention that the OSS sent reports to Washington D.C. of a Himmler plot to take power and the issue of a Himmler postage stamp that replaced the image of Hitler. That was a British propaganda operation. Here they again fall for the British trick and report on the radio station to Washington DC. According to the World War 2 Documentary Sex and the Swastika:

The U.S. Embassy in Berlin reported to Washington that there was an illegal radio station using unbelievably obscene language. “Superficially it is violently patriotic and it is supposed by many German officers that it is supported by the Wehrmacht in secret.”

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Sir Leslie Charles Glass

Sir Leslie Charles Glass was an Army officer in the Psychological Warfare Division in South East Asia in the Second World War, Director-General of Information in Cyprus during the Emergency and later Chairman of the Counter Subversion Committee. He said in a lecture to the National Defence College on 14 March 1973 to an audience cleared for Top Secret:

Sefton Delmer’s outfit concentrated mainly on ‘black’ radio stations which pretended to speak from Europe itself and to be run by our enemies. The most famous of these were “Soldatensender Calais” which pretended to be a German Forces broadcasting station; and the “Atlantiksender West” which did the same for the German Navy and particularly aimed a subtle attack at the morale of U-boat crews. Later in the war Woburn Abbey also ran an Italian black station called “Radio Livorno” against the Italian Navy, and “Radio of the Italian Republic” which aimed to split the Italians from the Germans; and even a station called “Christ the King” which implied that it was supported by the Vatican against the whole philosophy of Nazism. And finally, they broadcast a left wing ‘worker’ radio broadcasting instructions to foreign workers in German factories on how to commit almost undetectable sabotage.

How do you get the enemy and the civilian population to listen to your broadcasts? The programs are on selected stations at certain times of the day. One of the most commonly used methods over the last 50 years is the radio leaflet. This leaflet is dropped from aircraft over the enemy or friendly target areas and tells the finder exactly when and where the broadcasts can be heard.

This is the story of the radio leaflet.


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Edward R. Murrow making his famous
broadcasts from London to America during the Blitz.

German Propaganda Radio to Great Britain

During WWII, Germany sponsored several black radio stations aimed to destroy the morale of Great Britain. Among them were: New British Broadcasting Station, Workers’ Challenge, Radio Caledonia, and Christian Peace Movement. Lee Richards mentions this operation in an article titled “Home Office Security Executive - Enemy-operated Pseudo-British Broadcasting Stations” on his website.

“New British Broadcasting Station” was first heard on 25th February 1940. By June there were two transmissions a day at 19.30 and 20.30; a third transmission was then added at 21.30. On 16th March 1941, the station broadcast “Off Duty Program,” recordings of modern music interspersed with weak jokes with a political moral. The Station uses “The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond” as a signature tune and closes its transmission with “God Save the King”. Its general character is Fascist, and it is overall designed to appeal to a higher class of the British population than the other three freedom stations addressed to Great Britain.

“Workers’ Challenge” was first heard on 8th July 1940. At first there were three transmissions a day at 18.10, 19.10 and 20.10, but they were later reduced to one at 20.10. No signature tune is used, and reception is good. Workers’ Challenge remained at the same time by until August 1942, when it changed to 19.10. The announcer employs material copiously interspersed with foul language to attack capitalists in general, and Churchill, Cripps, and the Cabinet in particular. At one time it called upon workers to stop the war immediately by withdrawing their labor from the service of the State. It makes little or no mention of America.

“Radio Caledonia” broadcasting at 19.20 daily was first heard on 18th July 1940. Reception was invariably poor. On 8 February 1941 it started daily transmissions at 18.00; subsequently these took place at 19.45 and 21.15. Caledonia used “Auld Lang Syne” as a signature tune. The speaker, who had a pseudo-Scots accent, appealed to Scotsmen to make a separate peace from England, by whom, he alleged, their native land had for too long been exploited.

“Christian Peace Movement” was first heard on 15 August 1940, broadcast twice daily at 17.45 and 18.45. The broadcast often took the form of a religious service. It opened with a hymn and contained Bible readings, prayers, and a long, involved, and ill-reasoned address from the speaker, who dwelt on the horrors of aerial bombardment of the civilian population, and, using the text “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” appealed to all true Christians to refuse to do anything to aid the war and thus to force the Government to make peace.

The Leaflets

The Germans prepared a number of these radio leaflets and dropped them on the Allied troops in Italy and later Europe. They were sometimes prepared in two sizes, a large sheet for dropping from aircraft and a smaller sheet for delivery by artillery shell. About a half dozen different types are known. Some are marked with an "AI" code which indicates that the leaflet was prepared by the Propaganda Abschnitts Offizer Italien organization. This unit's printed material was produced in both Berlin and Verona, Italy. Other radio leaflets are marked with a small star. That indicates that the leaflets were printed in Italy by the Sudstern (Southern Star) section of the Skorpion South propaganda organization of the German 10th Army. In both cases, after the initial symbol, the leaflets have three numerical groups, the number of the leaflet in a given year, the month, and the year that the leaflet was printed.

Paul M. A. Linebarger mentions this radio war in Psychological Warfare, Combat Forces Press, Washington D.C., 1948. He says:

With the outbreak of war the British and Germans found radio at hand. Neither had to change broadcasting policies a great deal. Each could reach almost all of Europe on standard-wave; each could jam the other's wave lengths, never with complete success, and the struggle centered around a contest for attention. Who could get the most credence? Who could affect the beliefs, emotions, loyalties of friendly, neutral, and enemy listeners the most?

The first German leaflet is entitled "Radio Information." It is not truly a radio leaflet in the sense that it does not identify the time or the wave length of the German radio broadcast. However, it does ask the reader go over to the Germans and promises to broadcast a short message that the defector has written. The leaflet is therefore part of the German radio campaign. The leaflet is aimed at the British and is all text on both sides. Text on the front of the leaflet is:

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Jerry's Front Radio

RADIO INFORMATION. You will very likely wish to have your relatives informed with as little delay as possible that you are alive and out of danger.

JERRY'S FRONT RADIO has arranged to announce the names and addresses and their serial numbers. The announcements will be made three times daily. You will understand how valuable this service when you consider that your relatives are spared the dreadful felling of anxious suspense concerning your fate.



In this panel write a short personal message of not more than 15 words which will be transmitted by radio.

This leaflet serves two purposes. First, it lets the soldier think about the benefits of capture ("alive and out of danger") and thus sets a pattern that might lead to lesser resistance against the Germans. Second, it tells the Tommies that they will hear the name of their buddies on the radio and this might encourage the troops to listen to the Nazi propaganda messages. Note that the word "Address" is misspelled. In a black leaflet this would be a deadly giveaway. Since this leaflet is clearly a German product, the error is not so damaging to the leaflet's credibility. Note also that although the leaflet mentions radio broadcasts, it never gives the time or identity of the station.

The text on the back of the leaflet is in both English and German:

FREE-PASS. The bearer of this FREE PASS solemnly affirms his belief that to help Bolshevism to victory in Europe would be fatal to Britain's future. As a Patriot he is prepared to face up to the situation by voluntarily ceasing hostilities against Germany and her European Allies. In accordance with a special decree passed by the government of the Third Reich, the bearer of this Free Pass is entitled to receive preferential treatment and special privileges, and provisioning from all German military authorities, who have received corresponding instructions. Above all, he will not be regarded as a prisoner of war or be interned in a prisoner-of-war camp.

To protect the bearer and his dependents from possible acts of vengeance on the part of misguided compatriots, the German authorities will undertake to enter his name in the official prisoner-of-war lists forwarded in the usual way to the International Red Cross at Geneva.

This text is really interesting. The Germans promise not to place the individual in a camp, but don't say what they will do with him. Send him to the Eastern Front perhaps?

The Germans actually had a Legion of St. George made up of British fascists among their so-called "Foreign Legions." It was never a viable force. They also do not use the word surrender. Like the American leaflets to the Japanese they ask only that he cease hostilities. Finally, they justify the defection of the soldier by giving him the excuse that he has quit fighting so as not to help the USSR destroy England. The logic is very interesting but it is doubtful that anyone would fall for such a convoluted mess of promises and explanations. This is generally a poor leaflet for all the reasons that we mentioned.

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A second uncoded leaflet with a similar message is depicted in Psychological Warfare, Paul M. A. Linebarger, Combat Forces Press, Washington D.C., 1948. This leaflet was dropped on American forces at Anzio in 1944. The leaflet is all text. The front is:


Remember those happy days when you stepped out with your best girl "going places and doing things?"

No matter

whether you two were enjoying a nice juicy steak at some restaurant or watching a thrilling movie with your favorite stars performing, or dancing to the tilt of a swing band.

- You were happy.


Nothing! Nothing but days and nights of the heaviest fighting and for many of you


Text on the back of the leaflet is:




Serial Number:

In this panel write a short message of not more than 15 words which will be transmitted by radio.

It is interesting to note that the Germans talk of the Americans dying on foreign soil, when in fact, the Germans were also on the foreign soil of Italy. Logic was never their strongpoint.


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Leaflet AI-042-2-44

A similar leaflet appears in Behind Enemy Lines - WWII Allied/Axis Propaganda, Edward Boehm, the Wellfleet Press, Secaucus, NJ, 1989. Boehn illustrates a leaflet that is identical to the previous one on the back, with the text starting "FILL IN THIS BLANK AND KEEP IT." The front of the leaflet is different. Once again, it is all text:


In case you are taken prisoner, you will very likely wish to have your relatives informed with as little delay as possible that you are alive and out of danger.


has arranged to announce the names and addresses of prisoners of war and their serial numbers. The announcements will be made three times daily.You will understand how valuable this service is when you consider that your relatives are spared the dreadful feeling of anxious suspense concerning your fate.

Be prepared to fill in this blank. It will be useful to you if you should be captured.

The example illustrated in the Boehm book has a corner torn off and is missing the German code. We know from other sources that this is leaflet AI-042-2-44, designed by a Propaganda-Abschnitts-Offizier (propaganda section officer) and dropped on American troops in Italy. This unit was under the direct supervision of the SS-Standarte “Kurt Eggers.” This leaflet appears in two sizes. The standard size for dissemination by aircraft is 15 x 21cm. The exact same leaflet also exists in a smaller 9 x 15 cm size to be fired by German leaflet rocket. Like all of the small leaflets it has an added “a” identifier; thus the code is AI-042-2-44a.

In this case it was the PAO of the German Heeresgruppe C (Army Group) which was stationed in Italy. German records disclose that the leaflet text was written by Sonderführers [z] (Specialist officers) Kempin and Büttig. The German Army defines the specialist officer:

As of 26 August 1939, NCOs and men with special linguistic or technical skills, but lacking in necessary military training, were permitted to be promoted to NCO or officer supervisory status as Specialist Officers. They wore standard military uniforms (excepting as detailed below), and did have officer's rank (without an actual commission) and authority (but only within the area covered by their occupation) excepting those graded equivalent to NCOs. The rank titles and insignia of the Sonderführer changed in March 1940; in a desire to encourage these men to undertake military training and become full-fledged military officers, insignia closer in design to standard Army insignia was introduced. The rank titles remained the same. In Dec 1942, new rank titles were introduced, and the insignia reverted back to the pre-1940 styles. The "z" in brackets means that he is equal to a platoon leader.

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Leaflet AI-052-3-44 (front)

One of the earlier German radio leaflets that mentions times and wave lengths is well designed. The front of the leaflet depicts a radio antenna at the left and the text at the right. The text says in part:


wishes to call your attention to the following BROADCASTS designed to


6:00 to 7:00 a.m. For those fellows who like to get up early and enjoy music as a background to reveille.

6:30 to 7:30 a.m. The big show especially dedicated to Uncle Sam's boys with SALLY, JERRY, GEORGE, PETE, GLADYS, OSCAR, THE SWINGING TIGERS, AMERICAN RECORDS, THE LATEST NEWS and whatever the producer feels like unloading on you.

10:15 to 11:15 p.m. A special program for British forces.

11:45 p.m. to midnight. A snappy 15 minutes of dance music with a few news items.

2:00 to 3:00 a.m. Our night-birds' show with lovely (It's a pity you can't see her!) husky-voiced HELEN conducting the proceedings. You boys who suffer from insomnia (?) will feel better disposed towards the German gunners who keep you awake! Well, be kind to your sets boys, keep off the BBC static and listen to JERRY.

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Leaflet AI-052-3-44 (back)

The back has text in black over a faint blue background that depicts a microphone and the words "JERRY'S FRONT." The leaflet is coded AI-052-3-44. That indicates that it was prepared and disseminated in Italy in March of 1944.  Text on the back is:


JERRY (The guy you are fighting) is putting on the air.


At 6:00 a.m.: Medium wave: 420.8 meters - Short wave 15, 28, 31 and 39.6 meters.

At 6:30 p.m.: Medium wave: 221 and 449.1 meters - Short wave 28, and 39.6 meters.

At 10:15 p.m.: Medium wave: 420.8 and 449.1 meters - Short wave 28, 31 and 39.6 meters.

At 11:45 p.m.: Medium wave: 420.8 and 449.1 meters - Short wave 28, 31 and 39.6 meters.

At 2:00 a.m.: Medium wave: 221 and 449.1 - Short wave 28, and 39.6 meters.

The American doughboy and Tommy Atkins are duly warned that such broadcasts are only designed to mislead and trick them under the cover of entertainment.

Don't listen to Sally, Jerry, George, Pete, Gladys, Oscar, the Swinging Tigers, Helen and the rest but stick to the British Bunking Corporation which will always show you the "little things that aren't there" or "My mother didn't raise me to be a soldier," but

here YOU are!

This leaflet is interesting because it uses some humor and also tells the soldier very honestly that the stations are broadcasting enemy propaganda. That might cause the soldier to trust the station more for its honesty and listen in to hear just what the Germans are peddling. German records indicate that the leaflet artwork was done by Unteroffizier Ziegenhagen and the text was written by an individual named Goedel. An Unteroffizier is a non-commissioned officer, similar to an American Army sergeant.

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Leaflets AI-038-2-44 and AI-038a-2-44 are almost identical to leaflet AI-052-2-44. They are from the same series, but printed slightly earlier. In the case of the two 038 leaflets the front is almost the same as the 052 leaflet with the radio antenna at the left and the text identifying the time and stations at the right. The earlier leaflets have no horizontal or vertical lines between the times and the stations. In addition, the Germans only mention four broadcast periods, 6:00 to 7:00 a.m., 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., 10:30 to 11:00 p.m., and 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. By the time 052 was printed, they had added a fifth broadcast. The earlier 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. "snappy half hour of dance tunes" show had been replaced by a 10:15 to 11:15 p.m. "special program for British forces" and an 11:45 to midnight "fifteen minutes of dance music" show. German records indicate that once again the leaflet artwork was done by Unteroffizier Ziegenhagen and the text was written by Goedel.

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Other leaflets were prepared and dropped by the German Südstern (Southern Star) propaganda organization. They are similar in that the text is nearly the same on the front and back as leaflet AI-052-3-44 above. Instead of blue, the leaflet has a brownish tint and the drawings at the left side show a band, a beautiful female and a male singer. At the bottom of the text on the front the German’s have added the comment:

Wave lengths for all the broadcasts 47.6 meters. For the 6:30 a.m., the 6:30 p.m., and the midnight broadcast an additional medium wave length 491.8 meters.     

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Leaflet * 1310-2-45

This is another radio leaflet by the Südstern (Southern Star) section of the Scorpion South Propaganda Organization of the German 10th Army. These leaflets all have codes that start with a five-pointed star. The leaflet above coded * 1310-2-45 was distributed near the end of the war on Allied troops in Italy. The photo on the front of a leaflet shows a wounded allied soldier receiving first aid at a German dressing (first aid) station. The soldier is missing an eye and half of his face is severely burned. The text on the front of the leaflet is:

A wounded allied soldier receiving first aid at a German dressing station

The radio message is on the back. The text is:

World War No. 2 is almost over! Does it still pay?

Directly below the propaganda statement is a list of “Jerry’s Front” radio frequencies and broadcast times.

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Leaflet 1336.3.45

Here is another German radio leaflet for Allied troops in Italy that uses the title “Beware.” The code tells us that it was disseminated in March of 1945.

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Siegfried Line Calling

Another German leaflet is in the form of a post card that can be filled in on the front and the back. It is uncoded and was disseminated starting in November 1944. The front of the card has the following text:



Radio message to:

Keep this paper in case something should happen to you.

Text on the back is:



Write in printed letters not more than 15 words:

Message 1 (If you surrender to the Germans)

Message 2 (if you should be found dead by the Germans)

Order for German post (in both English and German)

This message will be sent to U.S.A. over the German radio. Give this card to your superior.

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The Germans prepared a small series of radio leaflets that featured a black trombonist. Besides that depicted above, similar leaflets are also coded AI-137a-10-44 and AI-137-11-44. Each shows the black musician at the left and a long propaganda message:

"Way down upon the Swanee River, Far, far away...

All you colored soldiers know this famous song of the South. All the longing of your peace-loving and hard-working colored people for the "Old Folks at Home" was put into its sweet melody.

What wouldn't you give to be at home with the old folks again? There is hardly a chance of your seeing them again. A shell may tear you to pieces or leave you bleeding to death thousands of miles away from them.


Isn't it better to be a prisoner-of-war and return home in one piece than to be dead forever?

You will be well treated in a German camp.

Fill in the blank overleaf and keep it. Your message will be sent by radio to your "Old Folks at Home."

They will be happy to know that you are out of danger and that you will return to them right after the war.

The back of the leaflet has the usual space for name, rank, serial number and additional information.  

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Leaflet AI-043-2-44

Another leaflet that we should mention is not a radio leaflet in the technical sense that we have identified them, that is, no radio stations are mentioned. However, it does use "Radio" in the propaganda text and thus deserves entry into this article.

German Leaflet AI-043-2-44 is a handsome leaflet that appeared to be a brochure for an ocean cruise. It depicts a luxury liner on the front and the text:


Complimentary return ticket

Europe to America via Germany.

Name of ship: "S. S. Lucky Bird"

Departure: As soon as the American people will demand it.

Destination: Home sweet home.

The back is all text:


From station


Invites you to a




Sally says YOU CAN LIVE IN PEACE and COMFORT at one of the camps operated under the auspices of the Red Cross.

She thinks that you ought to take along a woolen blanket, some underwear and an extra pair of pants.

DON’T HESITATE to make good use of this offer while there is a chance.


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Mildred Gillars- "Axis Sally"

Sergeant Russ Weiskircher was a member of the 45th Infantry division during WWII. He remembers Axis Sally talking directly to him:

The Germans captured a truckload of our mail forwarded from Naples and turned it over to Axis Sally who used excerpts to taunt us. We used to get close to the armored units because they had better radios. I recall sitting in the sand among the pine trees of the Anzio Beachhead in spring 1944 and listening to the broadcasts. The pine forest was on the Doris Duke estate, the only major concealment on the beachhead.

Sally would play corny music and read bits and pieces from our letters. The Germans got several sacks, including those intended for our battalion. I think it was the Germans, but it could have been an inside job by some enterprising Neapolitan who got paid in lira or cigarettes by the Krauts. Anyway, Sally read a letter from my fiancée and then encouraged me to get angry, go absent without leave, hurry home and kill the 4F slacker that remained behind and had dated her. The man was a friend named Tom with a bad heart. He was 4F but not by his choice. Of course, Sally described it as a lover's tryst. It was supposed to be stressful and destroy our morale, but her personality and music was so corny, her message so rude, her style so unreal, that most of us got a good laugh.

[Note: During WWII the draft board category 4F was defined as “physically unfit for military service.”]

We wonder if this Sally is the famous "Axis Sally," or just another in the group of English-speaking women used by the Germans to broadcast propaganda.

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The Germans also prepared a pair of Radio Wanda leaflets in the Polish language for the members of the Free Polish Army that were fighting alongside the British in Italy. Two that I have seen are coded S.405 and S.411. The Polish magazine Krakow mentions this campaign in an article entitled “This is Wanda,” dated 15 March 1987.  

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Leaflet S.421

The book PAPER WAR: Nazi propaganda in one battle, on a single day, Cassino, Italy, May 11, 1944, Mark Batty, 2005, depicts a third Radio Wanda leaflet coded S.421.

Some of the text on the front is:


Have you heard Wanda? “Wanda” broadcasts daily.
You must listen to “Wanda!”
Find a suitable opportunity and discuss the details. You shouldn’t believe the stories you are hearing about the way the German soldiers are treating you. The Germans are decent soldiers and are guaranteeing you a return home. In Poland you’ll have complete freedom in your choice of work. Just give yourself up at the German battle front.
So Listen to “Wanda!”
You’ll get to know what you want to know.

The back of the leaflet has a place for the Pole to send a letter home to his family. Some of the text is:

Fill in and send off to Wanda!
Write legibly!
Your letter will reach your Fatherland!

One of you, in the capacity of correspondence messenger, will collect these leaflets. He will then head for the German trenches, on seeing the German soldiers, will greet them with the words "Go Home.” They will readily welcome him. The Germans are well informed about everything and are awaiting you.

A great number of the German leaflets reminded the Poles to listen to Wanda, and many also added the phrase "Do Domu" (Go Home), which they hoped the Poles would easily remember and encourage them to defect.  

The order to put a Polish-language radio station on the air called “Wanda” was signed by Hitler in February 1944. The station was broadcast from two rooms in the Italian State Broadcasting Service in Rome. Gunther d’Alguen, commanding officer of the SS-Standarte “Kurt Eggers” Regiment responsible for all German propaganda in occupied Europe, was in charge of the radio station. Wanda told the Polish soldiers that any soldier who defected to the Germans would immediately be sent home. Several Poles did cross the lines and the German used them for propaganda, showing their happy return home. Unfortunately for them, after the end of the war those defectors were arrested and received from 10-15 years in prison at a military court-martial.

The radio propaganda leaflets were first written in German, then translated to Polish. They were printed in Sulmona. The graphics were added by a Ukrainian named Michalewicz. At the end of May 1944 Wanda’s editorial offices were evacuated to Florence. The programs were broadcast again starting 6 June 1944, the day that the Allies took Rome.   Wanda made her last broadcast on 23 April 1945.

Radio Wanda is mentioned very briefly in Black Propaganda in the Second World War, Stanley Newcourt-Nowodwoski, Sutton Publishing, UK, 2005: 

Germany had three black radio stations broadcasting in Polish during the war; Polskie Radio Warszawianka, Bialy Orzel, and Wanda. Radio Wanda first broadcast from Rome and later Florence. One of its main themes was to convince soldiers of the General Andre’s Second Corps of the British Eighth Army to come over to the German side.

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Hello, Wanda speaking…

The Poles were not fooled by Wanda’s sweet talk. The German author Ortwin Buchbender wrote an article entitled “German Propaganda against the Anders-Corps 1944-1945.” He mentions the various Wanda leaflets and then illustrates two of the Polish replies. We only have copies of the leaflets, but the first shows Himmler holding a microphone and smoking gun while wearing a fake female face and dress that obviously indicates that it is his voice that Wanda speaks. The second shows a German officer with an unattractive heavy woman on his lap. Both have the same general text.

Before we leave the subject of German WWII radio leaflets I should mention that there is a rumor that some Axis leaflets were disseminated that explained how to build a field radio from spare parts. One American veteran of the landing at Anzio built several radios out of razor blades, bits of wire, and other parts that he managed to salvage from crashed aircraft and trucks, He recalled hearing that the original idea for building these sets came from “Axis Sally” who hoped that the finder would listen to the German propaganda broadcasts. I have never heard of such a leaflet, but they may exist.

Corporal Larry Sitney was in Battery A of the 356th Field Artillery Battalion of the 94th Infantry Division near Lorient, France, from early September 1944 until the end of December 1944.  About late October, his unit fired some black and white tactical leaflets into the German positions at Lorient from a 105mm Howitzer battery. One such leaflet was coded “MD 214.” At the time Sitney fired the propaganda shells the war had passed the unit and the 94th Infantry Division was attached directly to the 12th Army Group. 

The code “MD” most likely signifies “Mobile Davidson.” The Davidson press was the workhorse of the American PSYOP specialist and the 12th Army Group had two of them. Their equipment chart states:

Printing equipment including 2 each Davidson Duplicator press, complete with Beatty Process Camera, Accessories, spare parts and tools, installed in printing equipment truck as indicated in Signal Section on special list of equipment for 1st Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company, dated 18 April 1943.

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MD 214

Leaflet number 214 is entitled “Written Off.” The words are printed at the top of the leaflet over the name of the town “Lorient.” Below the title there is a depiction of the present battle lines and the German position in Lorient at a distance of just 900 kilometers from Germany. Text on the front is:


 The American Field Radio before Lorient broadcasts daily at 1400 and 2130 O’clock on 432 meters:

News from all around the world.
News about your comrades from Lorient.
Serial: “Letters from home.
Music and entertainment. 

The back is all text and entitled “War News.” It tells the Germans of the war situation on the Western Front, Germany, Italy, the Eastern Front and in the Balkans. The text is too long to translate in total, but the section entitled “Germany” says:

Since the crossing of the German frontier, the Siegfried Line has been pierced in several places. A new secret weapon was used in these breakthrough operations. After occupying Rotken and other German towns, American armored units are now fighting behind Aachen and are advancing in the direction of Stolberg.

It is interesting to note the American use of the term “Secret Weapon” in their message. The Germans were regularly being told that their secret weapons would turn the tide of war so perhaps the Allies thought this would be an especially powerful phrase to attack the German morale.

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OWI Leaflet 2077

The United States Office of War Information (OWI) produced a radio leaflet for Japanese troops during WWII. This leaflet is referenced in the United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas Psychological Warfare, Part Two, Supplement No. 1, CINCPAC – CINPOA Bulletin N. 164-45, 14 July 1945.

The leaflet is coded 2077 and depicts a radio antenna on the front and a microphone on the back. The purpose is to create a desire among the Japanese people to listen to the American OWI radio station on Saipan. The concept is to discuss the fact that war news has been withheld from the people for long periods of time because the military leaders do not want the people to know the truth about their "clumsy" campaigns. The leaflet lists the schedule for the "Voice of America from Saipan." The text is extensive. Some selected portions are:

The fact that Saipan and Leyte had fallen to the Americans was withheld from the Japanese people for a long time. If you are interested in the latest news, listen to the Voice of America from Saipan (850 meter band, 1100 kilocycle).

Your military leaders who are carrying on a clumsy military campaign, do not want you to listen to the truth. If you want to listen to the news without interference, dial your radios to 850 meters, 1100 kilocycles, every evening at 6:00 p.m. In order that we may be able to give you the news, this station will change its frequency from time to time. By this method, you will be able to learn the true situation concerning your sons and husbands who are fighting on various fronts. Also, you will hear the true situation of soldiers who are being cared for by America.

Some of the programs broadcast from 6:00 to 11:30 p.m. are:

            6:55 Interesting peoples and places.
            7:00 Music.
            7:05 News of the world from America.
            7:20 News of the world from England.
            7:35 News commentary from Washington.
            7:50 Special commentary on the news.

            8:00 Music.
            8:05 News.
            8:25 The way of reason.
            8:45 Short commentary (highlights).
            8:50 Science news, postwar matters.
            9:00 Music.


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Microphone Leaflet 9-J-1

I add this American WWII leaflet to the Japanese only because of the image, which depicts a microphone in front on a bright red field. The leaflet was produced by the US Army Psychological Warfare Branch in the Philippines and is coded 9-J-1. This leaflet does not ask the Japanese to listen to Allied radio, but instead attacks Japanese radio for lying to the troops on a regular basis. The leaflet depicts a microphone making false claims to the Japanese people about the Imperial Navy destruction of British and American ships. The theme is "Truth of Leaders." The text on the front is:

Excerpts from Radio Tokyo broadcasts:

The Americans apparently have no fleet left in the Pacific. – 25 Feb. 42.

The Japanese fleet has virtually destroyed the enemy forces. – 9 May 42.

All American British and Dutch fleets have been wiped out. The Japanese Navy dominates the Pacific. – 20 Sep. 42.

Japanese forces have wiped out the cream of the American fleet. – 20 Nov. 43

The text on the back is:

Does hearing a thing 100 times equal thinking about it once?

That is a variation on an old Japanese proverb.

When you are hearing or reading the war news, don't you sometimes have questions like the following:

If the American fleet was destroyed in 1942 and 1943, why was the Japanese fleet unable to prevent the retaking and holding of the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and Saipan?

If the main bulk of the American fleet was annihilated, could the American fleet have brought material and troops 9000 kilometers and landed them on the Philippine Islands?

If the Allied fleet suffered critical damage in the battle off the Philippines, how is it possible for the American forces to continue to land troops in the Philippines and keep spreading out over the islands? Why does the Japanese Navy allow the American fleet to dominate the seas around the Philippines?

When you think over these points, do the war reports of the military leaders always seem entirely reasonable to you?

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Gagged Broadcaster Leaflet 2001A

This American OWI leaflet was produced on Saipan and depicts a radio broadcaster who is muffled so that the Japanese people cannot hear true reports of the war news. Some of the text is:

Sanji Muto, who was assassinated on March 9, 1934, says in his book “The Story of Applied Economics,” page 140, as follows:

“When I first came to this paper, The Jiji Shimpo, I was shocked to find that, contrary to expectations, there was actually no freedom of speech…”

If this was true in 1934, how much more is it true now?

Why do you not have freedom of speech?

It is because your militarists do not want you to know the truth. If the people of Japan heard the truth now, they would know that Japan is losing on every front….

We know that this is an Office of War Information leaflet designed in Honolulu by American artist Frances Blakemore. This information is found in An American Artist in Tokyo, Michiyo Morioka, the Blakemore Foundation, Seattle, WA. Morioka describes the artistic aspects of the leaflet and says:

Frances’s illustration condenses the complex topic of media control into a single powerful image. A gagged radio announcer is flanked by the hands of a naval officer and an army officer, each holding a book and newspaper with torn out pages. The masses in front reach out their hands in vain for the truth.

The British were also busy dropping leaflets. According to Klaus Kirchner’s book Flugblätter aus England 1939/40/41, Erlangen, Germany, 1978, in 1941 alone they dropped 29,243,060 leaflets over Germany and disseminated another 3,865,600 by balloon.

Some of those British leaflets were radio leaflets. One designed by the S01 was dropped over Germany from 15 April to 18 April 1941. It was coded 490. We know for certain that it was dropped on 17 April over Kiel, Osnäbruck, Wesermünde and Wilhelshaven. The text on the front is:

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B. B. C.
(The British Broadcasting Corporation)

Has considerably extended its transmissions in the German language.


Will find overleaf the complete list of times of transmission, wavelengths, and all details of the various news, talks and entertainment programs.

The text on the back is in part:


Transmissions in the German language.

German daylight saving time 6:00 – 6:30, 6:30 – 7:30.

Wave lengths: 49, 261, 285, and 373 meters.

Contents: News from the night service and topical commentaries of special interest to German workers. Music.

The entire back of the leaflet is filled with similar station information and other comments such as:

We know that in Germany, unlike in Great Britain and the U. S. A. and other free countries, it is forbidden to listen to foreign stations But


Window closed! Put your set on a cushion! Don’t place it against the wall! Tune in softly! There is no secret method of detecting listeners to foreign stations. It often happens that our transmissions are deliberately jammed. Don’t forget that we always transmit on several wave lengths, which can never be jammed all at once. If you find that you can’t hear us clearly on your usual wavelength, you’ll get us in the one that is being used by the German monitoring service.

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Britain Delivers the Goods…

Another British radio leaflet was on the back of a postcard entitled “Britain Delivers the Goods - thanks to the British Navy” The leaflet was in the form of three patriotic cards either in red, brown or blue that depicted British naval convoys on the front. There are apparently several different texts on the back. One card coded 31-8244 bears a BBC World Radio information message on the back. It lists most of the areas of the world including the Pacific, North America, South America, Africa and the Near and Far East. The times and wavelengths of the broadcasts are listed.

London Calling!

We don’t know much about this wartime British BBC Radio leaflet except that it is colorful and, on the front, and back, a propaganda message is found in ten different languages, including English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Arabic.

We should take a moment to briefly explain the British PSYOP Organization of WWII so the reader will understand who and what SO1 was. I asked Lee Richards, the expert on British black propaganda to explain the evolution of British psychological operations. He replied:

In 1938 Britain prepared itself for another war with Germany. British propaganda was partially credited with the victory over Germany in 1918, so it was believed that it could be a weapon once again.

Sir Campbell Stuart was the deputy-director of enemy propaganda under Lord Northcliffe in 1918, and was now asked to organize a new Department of Enemy Propaganda. The new agency was called Department EH after the building Electra House where it was headquartered. Early leaflets were coded with EH and a number. EH's main activities included the issuing of directives for the BBC's overseas broadcasts and the preparing of propaganda leaflets for aerial distribution over Germany by Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force.

With the fall of France, Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as Britain's Prime Minister. In July 1940, one of his first actions was to authorize an organization to coordinate propaganda and subversion, allegedly with the order to "Set Europe Ablaze!"

This department was christened the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Department EH joined with two other secret organizations to form the Executive. The propaganda section of SOE was designated as SO1 and the subversion section as SO2.

Just as in America where the OSS was unable to work efficiently with the OWI, the British combination of propaganda and subversion soon fell apart. A single enemy propaganda department was formed out of SO1 in September 1941. It was called the Political Warfare Executive (PWE).

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The “German Small Receiver” Deutscher Kleinempfanger

We should stop for a moment to mention the importance of radio in wartime Germany. The Nazi Party and Propaganda Minster Joseph Goebbels wanted every loyal German to listen to Party broadcasts. They reinforced loyalty to the Führer and the nation. At the opening of the 10th German Radio Exhibition on 18 August 1933 he gave a speech entitled “Radio as the Eighth Great Power” Goebbels talked about the direction German radio would take in the future and the introduction of a cheap “people’s radio receiver,” the Volksempfänger, that made the radio affordable for the average citizen.

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“Volksempfanger” or “Gobbels Schnauze”

A second version of the “Volksempfanger” or “Gobbels Schnauze” had a square rather than a round opening for the speaker. This variant was built in 1938 by C. Lorenz AG, and was made to run on 110, 130 and 220 Volts.

In 1933, Goebbels became Propaganda Minister and immediately took charge of the large building known as “The House of Broadcasting.” Only 25% of Germans had a radio so Goebbels demanded that a cheap radio be designed and produced immediately. Nine months later the People’s Receiver was placed on sale to the German public at a discounted price. The radios were fixed so no foreign stations could be heard on them. The radios were everywhere and even at work when Hitler gave a speech all work was to stop and everyone listen intently. Goebbels also had a special switch in his office that he could use to break into any broadcast should he wish to make an announcement. The Nazis ruled the German airwaves.

In a 22 May 1941 dairy entry Goebbels says:

Relaxation of radio scheduling to take effect immediately. Our people and our soldiers want light music. Otherwise they will listen to English stations. I do not intend to listen to the critics any more. Better light music than foreign propaganda.

In a 1 March 1942 Das Reich newspaper article entitled “the Good Companion” Goebbels discusses the radio again:

Practicality is important. The German radio cannot satisfy everyone. It should do as much as it can, paying most attention to those with the greatest need. They are our soldiers and all those who must work hard in the service of the fatherland. They are thankful for pleasant and entertaining hours. The radio brings them pleasure, it is a good friend and comrade in these difficult times, it cheers them up, it urges them on, it is a constant comrade through the events of the war. It should educate and clarify the great questions of the day. When necessary, it should raise the hearts and touch the conscience. It should attack the enemy wherever he may be. It should defend the interests of the fatherland when that is necessary...The German radio should be a good companion.

The almost identical leaflet was dropped again from 8 may to 20 July 1941. The code was changed to 490A. The front was identical, but the back of the leaflet has some changes and updates to the broadcasts. We are aware of at least 7 leaflet raids where 490A was dropped over such towns as Berlin. Potsdam, Hamburg and Düsseldorf.

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Another British leaflet with the code 522 was dropped over Germany from 6 September to 22 October 1941. We have seen documentation on at least 12 leaflet raids and some of the cities targeted were Braunschweig, Leipzig, Magdenburg, Kiel, Dortmund, and Hannover. The English title in A Complete Index of Allied Airborne Leaflets and Magazines is listed as, "The Ban on Foreign Stations."

The leaflet is all German text:


Goebbels, in the magazine "Das Reich" and on the wireless, has again threatened with the severest penalties all who listen to London. If Goebbels wanted to carry out his threat, he would have to empty the factories and offices and decimate the ranks of the military, and Hitler’s war machine would come to a stand-still. For the people he is threatening are too numerous.

Four paragraphs follow, three starting with "Goebbels said." An example is:

Goebbels says: "The German nation is informed concerning the actual situation to quite another extent than any other nation." Yes, to quite another extent. No other nation learns so little of what is happening, or is kept so much in the dark by its own government. This is the reason, and the only reason why the German people listen to foreign radio stations. It is hungry for the truth. It cannot believe a government that tells it nothing about either casualties in the East or bomb damage in the West.

The back is once again entitled "London broadcasts sent in the German language." And is almost identical to the 490 and 490A leaflets with only minor modifications in the broadcast times and wavelengths.

The British also supported the French government-in-exile and supplied them with "black" radio stations in Britain that were allegedly secret stations run by anti-Nazis in France. Ellic Howe mentions this in The Black Game, Michael Joseph, London, 1982. He says in part:

Two French stations began to broadcast about November 1940; Radio Inconnue on 15 November and Radio Travail two days later. The offering from Radio Inconnue were distinctly subversive. The small team of script-writers and broadcasters which served both French stations were accommodated at the Old rectory at Toddington, a village about four miles from Woburn. Radio Inconnue gave few indications of its location but purported to be in the Paris area. The station’s principal targets were Marshal Petain and the Vichy regime.

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The British prepared a small gummed sticker that could be stuck on walls and mirrors in France by partisans to advertise the station. There is a broom at the left and the following text in French at the right:

Listen to the Known Voices of the Unknown Radio

Every day (With the permission of the Gestapo and Police) on
30.77 meters at 8:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.

The Knights are there!

British records indicate that Radio Inconnue broadcast from 15 November 1940 to 10 January 1944. During that time they broadcast 1,145 propaganda programs to the French.


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Leaflet 3273/HPWS/28

Although not a radio leaflet in the true sense that we speak of them since there are no specific radio stations or frequencies mentioned, this British leaflet to the Malayan Communists does depict a giant radio antenna on the front and discusses the latest news broadcast on the British radio station on the back. It was Requested by the H.P.W.S. [Head, Psychological Warfare Section], Order 375/54, and the leaflet is dated 23 August 1954. The text is:


The world situation is against you. You hope for outside help but you fight alone. The MCP cannot survive without outside aid. At the start of the Malayan Communist Armed Struggle your leaders hoped for quick victory, but they were wrong. The Government is tough and well established with hundreds of years experience behind it. The MCP failed to capture territory or even bases, so as the Communist Armed Forces marched southwards in China the leaders bolstered your courage by saying, “Soon our army from China will come to help us.” That was many years ago. The Chinese Communist Army stopped and the leaders were in despair. Then the Korean War broke out and the comrades cheered. Now there would be a third World War. When the situation was going against the North Koreans and China Volunteers, the Torch Press in Berak said that it was wrong to hope for a third World War. In fact, the paper stated that a third World War would cause even greater hardship as China would be invaded and the coastal areas lost; that Russia would not be able to help because they would be fighting a battle for survival in the West. So once again the spirits of the comrades dropped low. Then came the new Indo-China battles. The Communist Vietminh won some minor battles and then captured Fort Dien Bien Phu. This no doubt was a victory and once again hopes in the jungle soared high. Everyone hoped that the Vietminh Army would sweep through Indo-China and on to the borders of Thailand and perhaps later send aid to help the MCP. But now those hopes are dashed to the ground. By negotiations in Geneva, a peaceful settlement has been arranged in Indo-China. The fighting has stopped. The Vietminh will withdraw from Laos and Cambodia and the French Union Forces will withdraw south to an agreed truce line. In other words, like Korea, peace has come to Indo-China. Even Luis Taruc, the leader of the Philippine guerrillas, has surrendered himself to the new Government, thereby saving the lives of a great number of people. Yet here in Malaya the MCP leaders blindly refuse to face facts. Despite their knowledge that they cannot win or even survive without outside aid they continue to sacrifice the lives of the comrades for their useless cause. There is a new life outside

KOREAN WAR 1950-1953

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U.N. Leaflet 1003

Many of the early Allied Korean War leaflets indicated radio stations for the people to listen to U.S./South Korean broadcasts. Leaflet 1003 depicts a flight of USAF F-180 Shooting Stars. The text beneath the picture is:

Listen to your radio and hear the truth about worldwide news direct from General MacArthur’s headquarters. Each day at 1200 and 2100 over 550 kilocycles, or 950 kilocycles.

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U.N. Leaflet 1004

Leaflet 1004 depicts General Douglas MacArthur and the text:

Listen each day at 2100 Korean Time over 950 kilocycles, to truthful news broadcasts from General MacArthur’s headquarters.

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U.S. Soldiers in Korea gather around a radio

Both sides disseminated propaganda leaflets during the cold war urging recipints to listen to the sender's radio broadcast.

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North Korean Leaflet 1115/76

An interesting North Korean leaflet coded 1115/76 was obviously produced at the time that peace talks were being held and depicts a horribly caricatured American officer and a handsome North Korean officer at the meeting table. The American has “US” stamped on his head and his unit patch is the dollar sign. He holds a pistol, but the brave Korean officer holds his hand in an iron grip. The text is:

Let peace be realized and the soldiers be returned home by the cease fire negotiations and pulling foreign troops out of Korea!

A small sign on the desk reads in English and Korean:

Kaesung Peace Talks

The paper being passed for signature reads in English and Korean:

Cease Fire

Smaller text at the bottom of the leaflet is:

General Political Bureau of the KPA.
 Pyongyang Radio arranges an English program for you at 22.15 every Tuesday.

KOREA - COLD WAR – 1964-1969

In 1964, the 7th Psychological Operations Group (Korea detachment) was given the task of disseminating western news and propaganda into North Korea. The program was called "Operation Jilli." "Jilli" is a Korean word meaning "truth." The plan called for American aircraft to fly along the southern edge of the demilitarized zone or well out over the open sea and drop millions of leaflets that would be carried by wind currents over North Korea. The content of the program was initially designed to present the ROK in a favorable light through information concerning economic, social and political progress and prosperity.

The first Jilli mission was flown on 30 June 1964. C-47 aircraft flying at altitudes up to 15,000 feet eventually dropped a total of over 19 million leaflets. Each C-47 mission carried about one and a half million leaflets, a weight of 3,000 pounds. Larger C-130 cargo aircraft were added to the program in 1965, resulting in 98 million leaflets being disseminated from 25,000 feet. Each C-130 carried 20,000 pounds of leaflets with quantities ranging from ten to sixteen to twenty million leaflets depending on leaflet size(s) used. In 1966, 183 million leaflets were dropped. The operation continued for several more years but no further statistics are available.

Radio leaflets were dropped as part of Operation Jilli against the communist regime of North Korea. The leaflets were first passed out as handbills along the DMZ, and were later adapted to be dropped by air.

At least two Cold War radio leaflets were dropped on North Korea during the Jilli program. The first is coded 17-65 and the second is coded 23-65.

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Leaflet 17-65

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Leaflet 23-65

Both leaflets show a Communist radio on one side showing an on/off switch but no dial, and the second shows a western-style radio with both an on/off switch and a dial to change stations. The leaflets were originally produced in color, but we show them from an old military file in black and white. The text is the same on both leaflets.

The text above and below the Communist radio without a tuning dial is:

Does everyone get to hear the station they want to hear? Do you want to listen to South Korea? What if everyone who wanted to listen to the radio station were not able to . . .

What is the dial on the radio for?

The text on the side showing the western-style radio with a tuning dial gives the various frequencies of South Korean radio stations:

These are the stations available in South Korea.

(A list of 10 AM, FM and shortwave stations follow in either two or three vertical columns)

Is everyone able to listen to any of the stations?

The comments about the use of the tuning dial and the ability to listen to different radio stations is probably in regard to the North Korean system of having the owner take the radio to the local post office where it is tuned to a North Korean station, and then "fixed" so that the station cannot be changed. It is rumored that some handy radio owners have found ways of tampering with the "fix," so that they could tune to radio stations in the south.

The United States also introduced radios into North Korea. They were air-dropped or floated onto the shores in a float bag on the water.

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Preparation of floats

Republic of Korea Navy technicians with U. S. PSYOP specialist prepares float bags to be drifted into North Korean waters and along the shoreline as part of Operation Jilli (Truth).

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A Float Containing a PSYOP Radio

A U. S. - Republic of Korea Cold War float containing a radio in its protective package. The sea currents flow from North to South. The radio has been placed in a pillow-size inflated plastic bag that acts as a sail. The package is moved against the current using south-southwesterly winds where it is picked up by fishermen at sea, or people along the shoreline. Besides radio, magazines, leaflets, book marks, chopsticks, fishing line and other gift items were sent to North Korea through this method of dissemination.

Alan K. Abner says in PSYWARRIORS – Psychological Warfare during the Korean War, Burd Street Press, Shippensburg, PA, 2001, that small cigarette pack size AM radio receivers were air-dropped during the Korean War as were a limited distribution of shock-proof short-wave transmitters.

The 7th PSYOP Group booklet The Propaganda Float in Psychological Operations mentions a North Korean military defector's comments on the program:

According to my company leader and the assistant company leader for political affairs, wristwatches, fountain pens, and radio sets sent from South Korea were found in the area north of the Imjin River. They said that these things were fixed with explosives. Dials of the radios are fixed to Republic of Korea broadcasts, and if turned to other stations they explode. Members of my company were told not to pick up such things when found in the company area.

A fisherman who defected to the south said: 

The leaflet listing the South Korean radio frequencies was a great help to me in listening to the South Korean radio stations. However, South Korean news program schedules should also have been supplied in the leaflet.

The South Korean/American propaganda broadcasts to the north were on the air 17 1/2 hours a day, seven days a week. The program content was aimed at the masses. Soap-opera villains were always Communist Party leaders. The heroes were always peasants or workers who fought the system.

A former psywarrior stated that this was terrible PSYOP since the only people in North Korea who had radios were the Party elite, and we were attacking them day after day.

These leaflets are extremely rare. Anti-government propaganda dropped into North Korea was quickly confiscated and destroyed.

The radios might have been a failure as a psychological weapon. The North Korean peasant was very poor and in most cases would be unable to purchase a new pair of batteries after the ones in the radio wore out. And of course, they would be confiscated by the Army or police on sight.

Small portable radios are still being used in psychological operations to inform neutrals and enemies of American foreign policy. In November 2004 there was a report that the United States government had funded a program to smuggle radios into North Korea. For the next four years, Washington will spend up to $2 million annually to boost radio broadcasts to North Korea and infiltrate mini-radios across its borders. The American plan is outlined in the North Korean Human Rights Act which President Bush signed into law 18 October 2004. The act provides money to private humanitarian groups to assist defectors, extends refugee status to fleeing North Koreans and sets in motion a plan to boost broadcasts to North Korea and get receivers into the country. A small number of clandestine radios are already in the country, sent in by helium-filled balloons deployed by South Korean religious groups or brought in by traders across North Korea's border with China. The Government of South Korea does not support this plan because they believe that it will make contact and cooperation with the North more difficult.  In March 2003, police blocked Korean-American pastor Douglas E. Shin as he and colleagues prepared to send 700 radios across the border slung from 22 helium-filled balloons.

VIETNAM - 1965

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PSYOP radio broadcast in Vietnam

During the seven long years that the United States of America aided the Republic of Vietnam in the battle to retain its independence, a number of Allied radio stations broadcast to Vietnam. The Ministry of Defense in Saigon operated the Voice of Freedom with transmitters in Hue. The Americans provided financial, technical and advisory assistance to the Vietnamese broadcasters. Some other stations broadcasting to the Vietnamese were Radio Saigon, the Voice of America, and the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Don North mentions some of the other stations in his article “The Life and Death of Hanoi Hannah” published in He adds:

When the first American ground forces, the U.S. Marines, landed at Danang in 1965, Voice of Vietnam decided to start propaganda broadcasts to the troops as they had done for the French…By 1965 the airwaves over North and South Vietnam had become a confusing battleground of conflicting propaganda voices. Working on the premise of “capture their hearts and minds and their hearts and souls will follow,” both sides supported dozens of radio stations spewing malice and disinformation 24 hours a day.

The American Voice of America with transmitters in Hue and the Philippines was one of the most powerful voices, rivalling the Voice of Vietnam. It is estimated the CIA ran 11 clandestine broadcasts of “black” or “false flag” radio like Red Star allegedly run by communist defectors. The American Studies and Observation Group (SOG) ran a broadcast with a fake Hanoi Hannah, while the South Vietnamese regime ran Mother of Vietnam radio with host Mai Lan, a South Vietnamese with a seductive voice who had studied broadcasting in the U.S.

In order to facilitate the listening of the programs, thousands of small transistor radios were dropped over North Vietnam or floated ashore from the Gulf of Tonkin. They were preset to Allied radio stations.

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Two Types of Portable Radio Dropped on Vietnam

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Another Radio Similar to the green one at the left above but with a label
New contracts were issued from time to time and that is why the radios differ.

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Booklet issued with the blue radio.
There is a handwritten code on the booklet 74-04. Perhaps issued by 4th PSYOP Group?

The translation of the three pages of the booklet we depict is:

This is a radio receiver. It is a gift from the Government of the Republic of Vietnam.

The Government of the Republic of Vietnam would like to give you and your family this radio. You can use this radio to listen to the latest news and to enjoy good music.

As you can see, the radio and the batteries are contained in separate plastic bags. Take the radios and the batteries out, but keep the bags. Do not throw them away.

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Third Type of Portable Radio Dropped on Vietnam
Note: This is the same type of radio shown in leaflet HQ-8-68 shown below

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A Fourth American Radio given to the Vietnamese
Notice that the label on the radio shows it was issued by CORDS
Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support

CORDS was formed to coordinate the U.S. civil and military pacification programs. A hybrid civil-military structure directly under general William C. Westmoreland, CORDS was headed by a civilian, Ambassador Robert W. Komer, who was appointed as Westmoreland’s deputy. CORDS combined all the various U.S. military and civilian agencies involved in the pacification effort, including the State Department, the AID, the USIA and the CIA. U.S. military or civilian province senior advisers were appointed, and CORDS civilian/military advisory teams were dispatched throughout South Vietnam’s 44 provinces and 250 districts.

Thomas C. Sorensen mentions the use of PSYOP radios in The Word War, Harper & Row, N.Y., 1968:

Cheap transistor radios, especially constructed to receive only U. S. and South Vietnamese stations, were sold to peasants and dropped into enemy territory in both North and South Vietnam. Toys, candy and clothes were dropped in the North on Vietnamese holidays that traditionally had been occasions for showering gifts on children.

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My Personal Airdropped Radio for the Cambodian People

Notice that they were dropped within a waterproof plastic bag with a set of instructions. When opened this 7th PSYOP Group portable radio told finder was told how to use the radio, change batteries and other needed information.

The MACV 1968 Psyop Guide adds:

Small transistor radios which have been locked to a single frequency have been manufactured. Although packaged for free-fall aerial delivery, the radios have been largely distributed by being placed along trails traveled by the Viet Cong, handed to members of known Viet Cong families, and distributed in hamlets and villages inhabited by or close to target audiences. The effectiveness of this program may have been indicated by the destruction of the antenna and the Viet Cong attack on the station.

Gifts have been airdropped or distributed as an adjunct to patrols or waterborne operations. Even through the gifts are often confiscated, the act of giving is contrasted with the act of taking by the enemy. Toys, soap, writing paper, clothes, and food are useful for reinforcing the message.

The dissemination of bulky items which are either vehicles for propaganda (stationery, cigarettes, soap) or permit reception of messages (radio, TV) is most frequently accomplished by hand. Gifts have been released from aircraft by using small chutes attached to the generally unbreakable articles. The major problem with bulky articles is delivery to enemy areas by aerial means. The very limited drift of these articles requires on-target release. This, of course, is particularly hazardous. The articles need not be chute-delivered, for Styrofoam packaging has proved quite reliable for free fall purposes.

The Secret Project CHECO Southeast Asia report titled “Psychological Operations against North Vietnam July 1972 - January 1973” discusses the official doctrine on U.S. miniature radios:

The general concept and rationale behind the use of mini-radios was to apply pressure on the North Vietnam leadership by threatening their monopoly on information for domestic consumption. By dropping mini-radios, it was hoped that the radio audience for U.S. and SVN government broadcasts would be enlarged, and that the party and government would become concerned that an increase in illegal listener-ship represented a growing divergence from strict loyalty and obedience to government decree. Further, the radios burdened the security apparatus by causing it to search for and retrieve them, and created resentment when an individual either voluntarily or involuntarily gave up the small but valuable item to authorities. Finally, their presence required the government to remind the populace repeatedly that their exposure to information must be restricted.

The delivery of mini-radios offered some unique problems. Saturation delivery was ineffective because the radios could easily be gathered and confiscated. Consequently, the radios had to be delivered a few at a time. Some new methods of delivery were tried including the flotation of radios to North Vietnam from offshore and balloon delivery. B-52s also successfully delivered mini-radios to North Vietnam, as did C-130s to other parts of Southeast Asia.

My files from the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa mention the number of miniature propaganda radios disseminated by the United States over certain time periods. These are not all the deliveries of radios, just in the last two years of the war. For instance, during Operation Field Goal from July 1972 to the cease-fire in January 1973, 12,921 radios were floated into North Vietnam on rafts, 3,192 radios were sent North by balloon, and 14,419 were dropped by B-52 bombers.

During Operation Prairie Lightning (formerly Field Goal), C-130 aircraft dropped 8,280 radios while B-52 bombers dropped 2,016. During the Ho Chi Minh Trail campaign against soldiers coming the trail from North Vietnam and civilians maintaining the trail in late 1972 and early 1973, 6,432 radios were dropped along the Trail by C-130 Hercules. During the Rice River Campaign (directed against North Vietnamese troops in Cambodia), C-130s dropped another 5,496 radios.  And during Operation Fountain Pen (directed against North Vietnamese troops in Laos) in December 1972, 6032 radios were dropped by C-130s.  

SFC Michael H. Johnson Sr. (USA Retired) who served with the 7th Psychological Operations Group reports that there were three types of radios. One was fixed to a single station and then sealed inside with a black compound. There was also a normal transistor and one that had the propaganda station pre-tuned so it was clear and sharp, while all the other stations were slightly out-of-tune and with some static.

He added that the radio program was somewhat of a failure because some Special Forces troops had a habit of booby-Trapping the foam containers so that they would explode when opened. "We were sometimes undermined by our own people," he said.

I did not believe this story at first, and am still hesitant to believe it, but when I asked a former officer in the 7th PSYOP Group he answered:

I had not heard that specific story about booby-trapping foam containers, but I have no reason to disbelieve it. There was one report that a body was found on a trail with the head blown off and the right hand missing. It was said that the Special Forces had rigged a radio with explosives. It was turned on, brought to the ear, and exploded. I would say, you cannot discount the extreme possibility that your source was correct.

Similar things may have occurred in Korea. A North Korean defector reported that a Security Officer and team came to his village with examples of ROK propaganda materials that were booby trapped with explosives. One of the items was a can of shoe polish. My Operations Officer said that he believed that the ROK CIA was involved in booby trapping items.

One method for floating them ashore was quite complicated and used both floats and balloons to accomplish the mission. Two J-100 weather balloons were attached by a string to a chemical fuse. The fuse was attached by a string to a piece of wood. The radio was attached above the fuse. The duration of the fuse was measured in hours. The US Navy launched the whole package where it was blown to the North Vietnamese shoreline. It would bounce along the beach until the wood was lodged and acted as an anchor. Eventually the fuse would burn through releasing the two balloons with the radio. Released from the wood anchor, the balloon rapidly rose. Eventually, one would burst from expansion, and the other, being incapable of lifting the radio would settle down until the radio came gently to rest on the ground. The following morning, there would be balloons in the sky or all along the populated coastline anchored by the radios. The Vietnamese would be drawn to the balloon out of curiosity and thus find the radio.

Former U.S. Army Captain Hammond Salley, Assistant S-3, 4th PSYOP Group, Vietnam, tells of his part in the radio leaflet operation:

In late 1967, I put together a leaflet and booklet that demonstrated how to open the Styrofoam package and operate the little fixed frequency radio inside. These packages were airdropped all over the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other locations. I was helped by a young, pretty former VC who appears in the booklet demonstrating what to do. I still have one of the radios.

SP4 John D. (Dave) Boyers was a member of the 4th PSYOP Group from January to November 1968. He adds:

Another effort we took part in was a small, fixed-frequency AM radio receiver which was air dropped. I wrote and photographed a brochure that went with the radio, explaining how to turn it on and listen, and to not be afraid to open the package. The radio sample I used was made of brown plastic, has an earphone for a speaker, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, with the inside filled with a black tar so it could not be used for any other purpose than to listen to our PSYOP broadcasts.

Another psywarrior who operated out of the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa added:

We ordered small portable radios for air drop over North Vietnam. We scheduled a helicopter to drop the radios encased in a foam box on our PSYOP compound to see if they would survive. In the initial tests the batteries were installed in the radio. It didn't work. There was considerable breakage. We took the batteries out of the radio and installed them in the foam box near the radio. That worked fine. The operation was approved. We used a B-52 to drop the radios.

FM 4-28.103 - Airdrop of Supplies and Equipment: Rigging Containers discusses this very problem:

a. Assemblies. When components of assemblies are being rigged, make sure that all items needed to operate the assembly are packed in the same airdrop container whenever possible. For example, a radio and its battery should be packed in the same container.

b. Items. When items such as radio equipment are rigged, they should be individually wrapped. Padding or honeycomb should be placed under each item being prepared and inserted between items of the load to prevent contact. Cellulose wadding, felt or other suitable material must be used to avoid metal-to-metal or metal-to-wood contact.

In a Vietnamese-language article entitled “Coastal Raiders” translated by Donald C. Brewster, Tran Do Cam talks about Vietnamese psychological operations. In regard to radios he says:

Sometimes our fast patrol boats also distributed radios wrapped in waterproof plastic in the villages along the coast so that the population could listen to South Vietnamese radio stations such as the Voice of Freedom (Tiêng Nói Tu Do), Mother of Vietnam (Me Viêt Nam) or the Sacred Sword of Patriotism (Gýõm Thiên Ái Quôc).

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Leaflet HQ-8-68

A leaflet coded HQ-8-68 (Headquarters 8th PSYOP Battalion - August - 1968) was dropped along with the radio package to explain to the Vietnamese what the packages contained. The packages were assembled outside Vietnam and the leaflets were printed in Saigon. The Communists had warned of explosives being dropped, so it was important to reassure the finders that they had found a radio and not a bomb. The back of the leaflet depicts the Viet Cong female finding the package and opening it to expose the radio. The text is:

This girl is picking up the white package containing a radio from the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. She is not afraid to pick it up because she knows the radio will bring her and her family knowledge and entertainment.

The Front of the leaflet shows the same woman listening to the radio. The text is:

This girl is listening to the radio provided by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam.

The girl in the picture has received the radio and she will listen to the music and news information from the government three times a day by location stations

In the AM: 5:30-7:30; 11:30-12:30 PM; 7:00-10:00 PM in the city of Saigon.

If you see the white packet, pick it up and bring it home. This radio will bring you knowledge and relaxing entertainment.


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Vietnam Radio Booklet

A 12 page uncoded booklet was dropped with the radio to explain its use. Although the photos are all in black and white, the text is in bright red. The cover shows the same young VC female listening to the radio and a picture of the radio in its package. The text is:

DO NOT BREAK THE RADIO. This is the radio from the Government of the Republic of Vietnam presented to you as a free gift.

Page 3 shows the same photo of the VC finding the package as on the leaflet. Page 4 shows her holding the package and page 5 shows a close-up of the radio inside the package. Page 6 shows the radio being turned on and page 7 shows the woman listening to it. Page 8 shows the radio in close-up and page 9 shows how to open it to put in the provided batteries. Batteries were part of the package but not installed in the radio. The user had to put the batteries in to make it work. Page 10 and 11 depict the batteries being loaded into the radio. The back cover once again shows the pretty young VC listening to the radio.

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Eight-panel folded leaflet

Another 3-fold uncoded radio leaflet was also used with the airdropped radios. It has a total of eight panels of instruction explaining the use of the radio, how to open it and put in the “AA” batteries, and how to turn it on. Notice that this radio is slightly different from the others we have depicted, the front having a circular rather than a square opening. The leaflet mentions Allied broadcasts from 0500 to 0900 and 1600 to 2400 on 760 KHz and 1800 to 2400 on 655 KHz.

The Communist North Vietnamese reported the finding of the Allied radios boxes on many occasions. Some of the MACVSOG reports of these discoveries are as follows:

On 2 May 1965, fisherman found large and small boxes floating in the water. The small boxes contained children’s clothing and handkerchiefs. The large boxes were sealed with green tape and wrapped in a nylon bag. When opening the eight large boxes they found radios, about 25cm long and 10cm high. The listeners noted that the radios played Vietnamese music and talk stations. Within every box was a piece of paper that said, “This radio set is donated to the people of North Vietnam. Do not allow anyone to take it from you. Keep it to follow the situation.” Security forces found out and two days later confiscated 23 radio sets within the Tuong Lai commune.

During the night of 9 July 1965, rangers using rubber boats, landed on the coast. They advanced 3 kilometers into the mainland near Yen Diem and laid 25 radio sets there, one of which was turned on.

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A Gift Radio

The Radios were sometimes just given to the Vietnamese. In the picture above a Vietnamese woman has just received a gift radio from the 6th PSYOP Battalion in January of 1970. 900 radios were distributed that day. The PSYOP/POLWAR Newsletter adds in part:

Radios were distributed in conjunction with a coordinated Vietnamese Information Service visit to a village. Operations included a Medical Combined Action program, an Army of the Republic of Vietnam Cultural Drama Team and a Vietnamese band. Some radios were given as prizes in some of the major event and contests…Another method employed was using the radios as a reward for Vietnamese who informed the Allies of Viet Cong activity.

The military booklet: BUILDING BRIDGES: Commander’s Guide to Face to Face Communication explains the importance of radio to PSYOP. It says in part:

The invention of the battery-powered transistor has brought radio broadcasts into most households of developing countries. There are now over 600 million radio sets in the developing world, and the number continues to grow as technology becomes less expensive.

Radio is one of the most effective forms of communication, particularly in developing countries. In Africa for example, people listen to the radio while farming, cooking, or shopping…In addition to local and international radio stations, the U.S. military or coalition forces may have portable stations broadcasting in your local area. Well thought-out and prepared statements can reach distant targets. It is an excellent medium to convey a message to a target audience. Radio is very inexpensive to buy, operate and maintain and is ideal for illiterate audiences. One radio can be listened to by large numbers of people.

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The PSYOP-POLWAR Newsletter

The PSYOP Newsletter was printed by the United States Military Assistance Command to inform commanders, PSYOP personnel, and PSYWAR advisors of psychological operations in Vietnam and to exchange idea and lessons learned. Later Vietnamese POLWAR personnel were added, and the name was changed to the PSYOP-POLWAR Newsletter. Looking through my copy from October 1968 I find the following comment:

FIRST OF THREE shipments of mini-radio receivers have arrived in Pleiku. The radios are to be distributed throughout the western portion of II Corps to areas known to harbor VC/NVA troops, their dependents and sympathizers by US Special Forces, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols, CIDG forces, and sector and sub sector advisory teams. Although the receivers can receive any standard band frequency broadcast, they are designed for peak reception performance on the frequencies to be used by Pleiku PSYOP radio. PW and Hoi Chanh interrogation reports have indicated that the VC/NVA troops prefer to listen to ARYN and FWMAF radio broadcasts rather than to Hanoi Radio. The reasons stated for this preference are that Hanoi Radio broadcasts so little music and Hanoi battle statistics are always inflated. The mini- radios will provide one more method of reaching enemy soldiers and sympathizers with PSYOP messages. The PSYOP Directorate is presently studying a distribution plan, prepared by MACY Advisory Team 21, for dissemination of the new receivers.  

An overt strategic leaflet campaign conducted by the United States and the Republic of Vietnam against North Vietnam accompanied the "Rolling Thunder" bombing campaign. The leaflet operation was launched in mid-April 1965 and continued until the total bombing halt was announced by President Johnson early in November 1968. Leaflets numbered 1 to 151 were dropped over North Vietnam during the 3-year campaign. The target audience was the general population of the North, the armed forces of North Vietnam, low-level and mid-level party cadre, and the leadership of the Lao Dong Party.

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Leaflet 132

During the period that the United States was bombing North Vietnam, a leaflet bearing the code number 132 was disseminated that told the people when the Allied stations were on the air. The theme of the leaflet is "Know the truth by radio." It is black and white, produced on standard paper in the Vietnamese language, and 2.83 x 8.5 inches in size.

Text on the front is:


Peace would soon reign throughout Vietnam if Lao Dong leaders would stop sending North Vietnamese soldiers to attack the South, and instead, would let them come home to their families. The Lao Dong leaders do not want you to know what is happening in the peace talks in Paris, but you can keep yourself informed by listening to radio broadcasts in the Vietnamese language. News schedules are listed below.

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Soldiers in Vietnam take a break to listen to the radio

The Lao Dong Party is the Communist Party of Vietnam. Schedules for the Voice of Vietnam [Radio Saigon] and the Voice of Freedom are printed below the text. The back of the leaflet has the following text:


The bombing of your area continues because the Lao Dong leaders are using your land as a road to send North Vietnamese troops to attack the people of the South. Will the peace talks in Paris bring an end to the bombing? Do Lao Dong leaders care what happens to you? You can keep yourself informed of the progress of the peace talks by listening to radio broadcasts in the Vietnamese language. News schedules are listed below.

Schedules for the Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Corporation are printed below the text.

In Volume I of the Department of Defense contracted the Final Report Psychological Operations Studies – Vietnam, Human Sciences Research Inc, 1971, Drs. Ernest F. and Edith M. Bairdain discuss radio in Vietnam. That state that in regard to the best means for disseminating the Allied propaganda message among the Viet Cong, members who rallied to the government stated that 99% saw propaganda leaflets, 100% heard airborne loudspeakers, and 98% saw radio sets.

The Special Operations Research Office of the American University (SORO) published the classified A Short Guide to Psychological Operations in the Republic of Vietnam in 1965.  Authors Jeanne Mintz, Herbert Silverberg and James Trinnaman mention all the stations available in Vietnam:

In 1965 there were 11 radio stations in Vietnam broadcasting 120 hours a day. (This does not include the “Voice of Freedom” PSYOP broadcasts). The stations were located in Saigon, Hue, Quang Nhai, Qui Nhon, Banmethuot, Nha Trang, Dalat, Ba Xuyen, Hoi An, Tuy Hoa and Tan An. The Hue station was used by the ARVN for propaganda broadcasts. Of course, the Voice of American also broadcast on a great number of frequencies to Vietnam.

A second leaflet is coded 57 and has the following text on the front:


Already thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers have been killed in the South. Here are a few of them:

(List of dead NVA soldiers)

The text on the back is:


Every day the Voice of Freedom broadcasts the names of Northern soldiers who have been killed, wounded, captured, or listed as missing.

Listen every day at 5:25 a.m., 5:35 p.m., and 8:35 p.m. Hanoi time to the "Family News Announcements" at 461 meters (655 kilocycles) and 31 meters (9670 kilocycles).

Another leaflet used earlier during the bombing campaign of North Vietnam appears in six varieties, coded 69A-69F. Each leaflet differs slightly in that it bears the names of 30 North Vietnamese soldiers who were killed fighting in the Republic of Vietnam. The back is the same on all the leaflets. Text on the front is:

DEATH LIST NUMBER 1 (or 2 etc., through 6)

Thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers have died in the South. Some of them are listed below.

(Name)...(Birth place)...(Date of death)

To be continued.

The message on the back is:

Listen to the VOICE OF FREEDOM broadcasting: In Vietnamese on the 461 meter band or 650 kilocycles, and the 31 meter band or 9670 kilocycles, every day from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

In Cantonese on the 31 meter band or 9580 kilocycles every day from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Every day the Voice of Freedom broadcasts the names of Northern soldiers who have been killed, wounded, captured, or listed as missing in action in South Vietnam.

These leaflets are extremely difficult to locate because they were all dropped in North Vietnam and therefore there was no opportunity for the American GI to find one and bring it home as a war souvenir.

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Radio Dropped on Laos

Retired SFC Mike Johnson recalls that the 7th PSYOP Group in Okinawa also dropped and distributed small portable radios over Laos in the mid-1960s.

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Leaflet 2766

There were a whole series of radio leaflets dropped on the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army by Allied forces during the war. Leaflet 2766, 2767, 2825, and 2830 all list Allied radio stations and times of broadcast on both the front and back. The text on the front is:


To the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army Cadre and Soldiers:

What is happening to the talks in Paris between Hanoi and the United States? What is the truth about it?

Text on the back is:

Why have you been forbidden to listen to the Free World radio broadcasts? You need to know the truth about the Paris talks, because the outcome determines your own fate.

In order to let you know the truth about the Paris talks, we offer you the schedule of radio news broadcasts from the Free World. You can tear this schedule off and keep it for your own use.

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Leaflet 4141

Leaflet 4141 depicts a radio antenna on one side and a map of Vietnam featuring Saigon on the other. Text on the front is:


(The Truthful Voice of Vietnam)

Our objective is to provide our listeners with truthful information and enjoyable hours of entertainment.

The back has the heading:


Five radio frequencies are listed below along with the language of the broadcasts (Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin) and the times of the broadcasts.

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Leaflet 4507

One of the last radio leaflets dropped by the United States was leaflet 4507, probably in late 1971 or early 1972. It is all text with the same message on both the front and back. Some of the message is:


The Voice of America is now broadcasting every day on two medium wave bands which you can pick up on any ordinary radio.

Set your radio to 394 meters, 760 KHz or 263 meters, 1140 KHz during the hours 0500 to 0900 and 1600 to 2400…

The names of North Vietnamese soldiers taken prisoner in the south will be broadcast every day…

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Leaflet X.3

The “X” leaflets are very strange. They seem to fit no pattern and come with a comment such as “To be disseminated without regard to dissemination characteristics with normal leaflet requirements.” In other words, even though mathematical formulas were used for most leaflets according to their size and paper weight to assure that they would drop on their targets, these “X” leaflets were just added to the pile and were allowed to fall wherever they landed. It would appear the cost of leaflet paper sheets was expensive and there was no desire to waste any space. So, when eight or ten leaflets were printed on a sheet and there was a small space in some corner where the paper was blank, they would print a leaflet on some general subject, just to utilize the paper more efficiently. As a result, this leaflet is very small, just 4 x 2-inches, and printed in the corner of a regular sheet. The text on leaflet X.3 front is:


For so long, our compatriots in North Vietnam hear only through the Party’s ears and see only through the Party’s eyes. Thus, how can they know what they want to know?

If you want to know the real truth and all the news, whether good or bad, concerning the war in Vietnam and the situation of world affairs:


The text on the back is:


Broadcasting every day on Hanoi time:

In Vietnamese on 650 kc from 0000 to 0700, on 650 kc and 9679 kc from 1300 to 2400.

In Cantonese on 9580 from 1000 to 1300 and from 1800 to 2100.

North Vietnam and Viet Cong Radio Leaflets

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National Front for Liberation Leaflet

The North Vietnamese produced their own radio leaflets. The text of one such leaflet produced by the South Vietnam National Front for Liberation is:

The Whole Thing Was A Lie

So said M/Sgt. Donald Duncan, a Vietnam veteran Green Beret who is now working against this "illegal, immoral and unjust war" of Johnson.

If you want to know the truth about this war you hate to fight:

--Listen to Liberation Radio, the voice of the the South Vietnam National Front for Liberation. Special English transmission for American Servicemen in South Vietnam, every Saturday from: 2015 to 2030 (Indo-China time) or 2115 to 2130 (Saigon time).

--Listen to Hanoi Radio "The Voice of Vietnam" special broadcasts to American servicemen in South Vietnam every day:

Hanoi time Saigon time

From 0600 to 0630 From 0700 to 0730
Metre bands: 25, 31, 240
Frequencies: 11.840, 9.840, 1.240 Kc/S

From 2000 to 2030 From 2100 to 2130
Metre bands: 25, 31, 240
Frequencies: 11.760, 9.760, 1.240 Kc/S

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The Voice of Vietnam Leaflet

This is a fancy full-color leaflet that gives all of the Voice of Vietnam programs for 1971. Nine different languages are mentioned so it is clear that the Communists intended to make full use of their radio stations.

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A New Victory…

Another Viet Cong leaflet from the Central Trungbo National front for Liberation is entitled “A New Victory for the Vietnamese, progressive American and World People.” The leaflet claims that world indignation has force the United States to stop bombing North Vietnam. The message ends on the back of the leaflet with a listing of propaganda radio programs from Radio Hanoi for American soldiers in Vietnam.

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