by: Herbert A. Friedman
Warning! These historical wartime images
are sexually explicit.
This is a military reference site for adults only.
This leaflet is more typically Japanese. It shows a very attractive woman on a bed looking at her boyfriends picture. She is filled with welling unsatisfied passion. Who will satisfy her passion? She asks:
Why did you leave me like this? Why must I suffer alone this unbearable lonelinessthis silence, this welling unsatisfied passion? Whywhy? Why dont YOU come back?
Sometimes the Japanese used sexual images in order to influence Allied soldiers to pick up surrender leaflets. The leaflet above depicts a bare-breasted female in an inviting pose. The English-language text is:
TICKET TO ARMISTICE
USE THIS TICKET, SAVE YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL BE KINDLY TREATED.
Follow these instructions:
- Come towards our lines waving a white flag.
- Strap your gun over your left shoulder muzzle down and pointed behind you.
- Show this ticket to the sentry.
- Any number of you may surrender with this one ticket.
This is followed by Japanese text:
The bearer(s) of this ticker has surrendered.
It is strictly forbidden to kill him (them).
Commander, Japanese Army forces
The leaflet ends with the English sentence:
Sing your way to Peace pray for Peace.
This leaflet was mailed by an Australian airman to his father at home. He wrote on the back:
I am sending you this Jap propaganda leaflet. The Nips often drop these, but of course we know about all these promises of his. I received your letter and will answer it during the week.
Your loving son
In his book But not in Shame, John Toland tells of a Japanese campaign waged in the Philippines. He states:
The crudest leaflets featured sex. The most effective of these was a "striptease" series. First, the picture of the face of a beautiful woman was dropped from planes. Next came a view of the same woman from the waist up, with a shawl just covering her large breasts. The third showed the woman, full length, draped seductively with a shawl. In the fourth picture, the shawl was gone. The final picture showed the sex act.
Girls Booze and Food
This is a very strange Japanese leaflet found by a 5th Division Marine sergeant on Iwo Jima. It clearly is a one-of-a-kind item since it appears to be typewritten and hand drawn. It is not exactly a sex leaflet in the true sense of the term, but it does offer surrendering American troops GIRLS, BOOZE, FOOD, and more G-I-R-L-S. I think we know what this Japanese propagandist is selling.
The Japanese apparently printed one of the strangest sex leaflets we have ever seen. The leaflet was depicted in The Falling Leaf, Number 132, spring 1991. It depicts a naked European woman and a chastity belt. The actual leaflet is white and yellow on a deep red background. It was dropped over Chinese troops during their invasion of
Manchuriain the 1930s. An unnamed author says:
The message of the leaflet tells Chinese soldiers that European women are slovenly, of loose morals and unchaste, and because of this a soldier husband during a long war fastened a chastity belt to his wife.
The message is apparently intended to instill a feeling of homesickness and yearning and cause him to cease fighting by deserting or surrendering. We should point out that the chastity belt is mechanically correct and similar models appear on postcards from a French museum.
This Japanese leaflet tugs on the heartstrings of American and Australian troops by depicting very kissable lips in full color on the front along with the word:
The back has a short text message in a womans handwriting:
Darling, cant you find a way to come back to me? I miss you so. I send all my love, and my kisses are on the other side of this card.
The finder of this particular leaflet mailed it home with the following comment:
This is what the Japs dropped for Christmas. They want to make us more homesick than we are. I wish that was really you on the other side.
[Authors Note] The New Guinea campaign was fought from 24 January 1943 to 31 December 1944. So, although we cannot be sure, it seems likely that this leaflet was dropped in December 1944.
Sex was always on the minds of the
military authorities according to Bertrand M. Roehners Relationships Between Allied Forces and the Population of Japan, He says that at the end of the war: United States
A 27 August 1945 Excerpt from an Army pamphlet destined to US occupation forces says that Japanese women have been taught to hate you. They do as their men tell them, and many of them have been told to kill you. Sex is one of the oldest and most effective weapons in history. The Geisha girl knows how to wield it charmingly. She may entice you only to poison you. She may slit your throat. Stay away from the women of
, all of them. Japan
This calendar page was offered for sale by the estate of a former member of the U.S. 13th Air Force. It depicts a nude woman and is a bit of a mystery. It bears a December 1943 calendar and there were many propaganda leaflets prepared in the form of a calendar, but there were also many commercial calendars that bear nudes. The producer is COM AIR SOPAC. I am not sure if this was a propaganda leaflet or a morale booster designed for the Anglos. But, if not for the natives, why print the message in Pidgin English? Whatever the use, it is an interesting wartime item. The text is:
The white men who have all come together to the South Pacific by airplane now all want to wish you good friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
British Sexual PSYOP
The British government also authorized the manufacture of a very few pornographic leaflets during World War 2. There are three different items known to have been printed and others may exist. They were discussed in some detail by one of the major British wartime propagandists in 1972.
In an article published in the Times Literacy Supplement of January 21, 1972, Sefton Delmer talked about his "black" pornographic leaflets.
My cloak-and-dagger friends in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) were constantly clamoring for printed pornography. But I still took the same view of printing pornography as I had in France in 1939. Looking back, I do not think my unit produced more than three items of printed pornography during the whole of the war, not because I was squeamish, but simply because I did not think the effort involved on our part would be justified by the subversive effect on the Germans.
The first item was a two-page folding leaflet. Its theme was the Kaiser Germany's patriotic song `The Watch on the Rhine.' A very gloomy picture of a snow-covered grave somewhere on the Russian front, headed the first verse of the Watch on the Rhine: 'Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein' (`Dear Fatherland you may rest assured'). By rights that inspiring thought would be followed by a second verse. 'Fest steht and treu die Wacht am Rhein. '(`Firm and true stands the watch on the Rhine'). Instead, the picture of the soldier's grave and its reassuring caption was followed by a second page overleaf showing in color a picture of a naked girl, painted in the photographic style favored by Adolf Hitler in such beloved pictures as 'Leda and the Swan,' about to seat herself on the upright penis of some dark haired and dark skinned non-German.
Note: The actual leaflet is much more graphic.
This image was intentionally blurred so as not to offend.
Leaflet from the collection of Dr. Rod Oakland
The caption ran: 'Fest steckt's and treu der Fremdarbeiter rein.' ('Firmly and true the foreign worker sticks it in'). Depending on the region selected for this document's distribution, we alternated the word Fremdarbeiter with der Italiener or even der Makaroni.
My SOE friends ordered these leaflets by the thousand. But ironically not because they found them to be subversive of German morale, but because they found them excellent for the morale of their men distributing them!
Ellic Howe points out in The Black Game, Michael Joseph, London, 1982, that Delmer was probably mistaken about the numbers. He says:
Delmers SOE friends did not order these leaflets by the thousands because only the Fremdarbeiter version was ever printed (probably a maximum of 5000 copies) in the summer of 1942. The Nordisk Nyhedstjenste (underground newspaper) reported on 11 August 1944 that copies were circulating among German soldiers in Denmark.
One of these leaflets was discovered in Denmark in 1980. The finder told me at that time, "It is correct that I am in possession of a copy of 'Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein.' This leaflet was one of a large number of `black leaflets,' which came to Denmark during W.W.2. It was distributed in and about Copenhagen, and is mentioned in the underground press. Having gone through all official collections in Denmark, I can inform you that my copy is the only one known to be in Denmark. The exact size is 15x21 cm, and only one side is printed in color."
I received a copy of the leaflet from the owner. It shows a dead German in the snow on the front cover. The leaflet opens to show the woman and her foreign lover on the right side, the text as mentioned on the left. On the back of the folded leaflet the British have printed a long propaganda text. Boxed at the left of the page is "5,800,000 comrades have been killed, wounded, or are missing in action. At the same time on the home front, the number of foreign laborers has increased to 12,000,000."
The text on the rest of the page reads as follows, "Each year, more millions of comrades lose their life, freedom and health at the front. Each year, more millions of foreign laborers are streaming into the Reich. Foreign laborers take over the jobs of German soldiers and therefore make it possible for them to find death in the East. Foreign laborers sit in our homes. They become expert workers and craftsmen, and our German girls have to work under them. With their fast-earned money and black-market food items, the foreign laborers approach our soldier's wives and girl friends. Hunger and poverty often make our girls willing. Foreign laborers are not stupid. They learn our methods of work, find out our manufacturing secrets and industrial patents, and when the war is over, and our factories are nothing but bombed rubble, then the foreign laborers will return to their own countries with the knowledge and expertise they acquired here.
They will return to their own factories, which have not been touched by the war. When the German soldier returns home, he will find only debris where his place of work once stood. We have lost the war. We must now save what we can of the peace. Throw the foreign laborers out. End the war. Enough have died at the front. The rest of us must find work when we return home."
I spoke to one of the Delmer's master forgers, Ellic Howe, about this leaflet. The artist/cartoonist Walter Goetz who was in charge of British white propaganda to Germany for a time actually drew the vignette. Goetz was a German who became a British citizen in the early 1930s. He designed the leaflet at the personal request of Howe. The Fanfare Press of
's Lane, St. Martin , printed it. The Chairman and the General Manager of the firm printed the leaflet after hours. Howe said that "it was not considered advisable to allow ordinary workmen to see the thing. Probably not more than a few thousand were printed. I think we made them about April of 1940." The British government partially declassified Howe's files after the war. This leaflet is coded H.316. Howe later reprinted is as H-714. London
I should point out that even through Howe said Goetz drew the pornographic vignette; Sefton Delmer later stated that his wife Isabel was the artist. I dont see any reason that Delmer would lie, so I believe that Goetz was just used to protect the wife at the time. The British loved to play their little games during and after the war. I was introduced to an Armin Hull in 1965 and putting two and two together immediately said, Oh, you must be Ellic Howe. He was actually annoyed. He believed his code name would be more difficult to crack
The British also started a rumor campaign (what they call a sib) to go along with this leaflet. Sib number N-675 states that Foreign workers in the city of
have a contest to see who can bed the most German wives. Essen
A most secret memorandum in the British Public Record Office dated 24 March 1944 indicates that not all the government officials were willing to use sexual propaganda. The memorandum is from Delmer to Lieutenant Colonel Thurston (Head, SOE German Section). It reads in part, The Director General has instructed me that he does not wish H-714 (Lieb Vaterland ) to be distributed. I should therefore be grateful if you would not distribute any copies of this job which you may still be holding He scribbles at the bottom of the note The Director-General is too ladylike!
Researcher Lee Richards found an archived document circulated to Special Operations Executive propaganda agents in 1942 on the subject of sexual rumors:
Those who have little opportunity for sexual experience consistently enjoy talking about it. Good sexy rumors also have the advantage that they are told and listened to in a more emotional frame of mind than many people realize, and they have therefore a deeper effect.
Everyone must gauge for themselves how dirty a sexual story can be. There is a danger of making stories so revolting that a large proportion of the hearers will never repeat them. On the other hand in certain classes you can go very far, and it should be remembered that the more lurid the setting the more firmly the rumor conveyed will stick.
Martin Herz, a Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) writer agreed with the Director-General. He said:
The enemy could easily see from the elaborateness of the leaflet (which in this case was printed in four colors) that this was Allied propaganda. Even though he might agree with the message, he would resent it since it was painful to him. Moreover, since at the same time all out white media were laboring hard and patiently to establish the essential honesty and forthrightness of our propaganda, some harm was probably done to the credibility of our white media.
Returning to Sefton Delmer's Time article, he continues:
The next pornographic leaflet we did was an exquisite menu for a dinner party, given by some Nazi gourmet for his friends. I cannot now remember who it was. All that I recall was that the menu included dishes way beyond the reach or even the imagination of the ordinary rationed German. Surrounding the menu was a kind of frieze rather in the manner of the old prewar cover of Punch. On close examination, however, it proved to be nothing as harmless as Mr. Punch's cornucopia of frolic. Instead it presented a sphinctrian orgy with all the figures, male and female alike, connected in pervert intimacy. I cannot think why we bothered to add this touch. The essential propaganda ingredient was the menu which provided evidence for any skeptical member of the German public how well the party priviligentsia lived when the ordinary German was forced to obey a strict system of rationing.
The third pornographic leaflet we did was never distributed. Not that SOE objected to it. On the contrary, they were lavish with praise. But an old army colonel--he had served a lifetime in Poona, an experience which had not failed to leave its mark on him--had found it on the table of my secret printer whom he had visited with a view to acquiring some of our latest philatelic counterfeits.
When he saw this particular piece of pornography, he was almost beside himself with indignant fury. I did not want to hurt the old man by challenging him to battle over an item of pornography to which in any case I attached no great importance. So I immediately withdrew it. But it was not really all that bad.
Delmer also received grief about some of the sexual propaganda broadcasts over the black British radio station Gustav Siegfried Eins. Lee Richards discusses the story in his article on Psywar.org. He mentions some of the radio stations plot lines:
A Hitler Youth leader had been caught violating the twelve year old daughter of a soldier
The employment of SS men on the home-front for "race preservation"; their job being to assist wives and widows of fallen soldiers to have the children which their own man would have provided them with normally.
An SS man called Breuter who was in charge of children who had been evacuated from bombed German cities to
. He was removed from his post after being found guilty in 67 cases of assaulting little girls. Czechoslovakia
A mortified Sir
A named German admiral who takes home 4 or 5 sailors with his own mistress. He makes the sailors drunk and excites himself by instigating the sailors to rape his mistress in turn. All this is given in a running commentary which describes in the minutest detail the difficulties of the sailors owing to their drunkenness. Here is a typical sentence from the orgy: "...and if she gets dry between the legs, pour in butter." This is followed by the indignant comment that butter is rationed to the common people. The climax of the orgy is an even more detailed description of how the old Admiral finally works himself up into a state in which he, too, can copulate with the woman.
The pornographic element in these broadcasts was introduced deliberately, not for the sake of pornography in itself, but in order to attract listeners and gain their attention for the main objects of the station, the undermining of confidence in the regime Reports received from American officials in Berlin shortly before America entered the war emphasised that the pornographic element in the broadcasts had attracted a listening public much wider than would otherwise have been the case...We are of course not trying to win Germans to our side by this method; we are trying to turn Germans against Germans and thereby weaken the German war machine.
Delmer threatened to abandon the station if he not did receive full backing for his work.
The success of these broadcasts has been proved on evidence available, and, if an official fiat were to demand that the character of the station should be changed, it would not be possible to continue it. No secret, subversive organisation can operate successfully if its operations are to be limited to what the moral standards of our country would require for work undertaken openly and in the name of His Majesty's Government.
The British were willing to use pornography as a weapon to defeat Hitler, so Delmer got his backing.
Charles Cruickshank mentions Delmers black radio station in: The Fourth Arm: Psychological Warfare 1938 1945, Davis-Poynter, London, 1977:
American diplomats in
Berlin while and the United States were still at peace had no doubt that it was the pornographic element in the transmissions that attracted the listeners. Germany
He quotes a Swedish agent:
He claimed that more people listened to it than any other station in the Third Reich. It insured a regular audience by providing more or less open pornography, which attracted people already coarsened by the Nazi way of life.
Delmer later mentioned that the German army's propaganda unit had been putting out a series of leaflets purporting to expose how the enemy was retouching photographs and faking them to convey untruths. He said:
By this time, my black printer was an expert at counterfeiting German documents, using the same type, the same paper, and the same size as the German original. So, I got him put the same title on our counterfeit, 'Wie sie falschen,' ('How they forge'). Then with a suitable text we exposed a palpable forgery of a Hitler photograph, which we attributed to the despicable treachery of an internal enemy. The genuine original photograph showed Hitler in his usual saluting posture, right arm upraised, his left resting on the buckle of his belt. The forgery, however, showed a huge penis under his left hand. Our caption read, `This is a most appalling forgery. Everyone knows the Fuhrer does not possess anything of the kind'."
Original German Hoffmann photo postcard and parody.
One of the most intriguing and insidious insults to Adolf Hitler was a propaganda
postcard code numbered H.789 produced by Director Sefton Delmer of the British Political
Warfare Executive (PWE) that showed the Führer with his penis in his hand. The postcard
chosen to caricature was originally a product of Foto Hoffman of
What we have, that we firmly hold.
Sefton Delmer first mentioned this postcard in an article in the Times Literary Supplement of 21 January 1972 entitled H.M.G.s Secret Pornographer.
When I interviewed the British master-forger Ellic Howe in 1980 he told me that about
100 copies of the postcard were printed in late 1943 or early 1944 but they were never
disseminated. He thought that they had all been destroyed. My own research later
determined that 2,500 postcards were delivered on 13 March 1944. The operation was
cancelled on the order of the Director General of the PWE. One agent quoted a high British
official as saying that he would rather lose the war to
British researcher Dr. Rod Oakland discovered one of these postcards in a private collection and mentioned it in the spring 1993 journal of the Psywar Society, the Falling Leaf.
The original image that was to be defaced by the addition of a penis
The card was depicted in a British TV documentary entitled Sex and the Swastika. In the documentary, PWE artist Marion Whitehorn stated that she was given a postcard by a Brigadier General at the PWE secret headquarters about 45 miles outside London and told:
You Marion will impose a penis on this card but not too big.
What is very interesting is that the card depicted in the documentary had Hitler wearing Lederhosen with his left hand in his lap while the card we depict has Hitler in full uniform. It is unknown if two postcards were prepared, or if the first postcard was found unacceptable and the vignette on the second postcard was used instead. In a second TV documentary entitled Sex Bomb Whitehorn tells the story again except that this time the producers depict a postcard showing Hitler standing with penis in hand. It seems unclear if there were one or two penis postcards.
This may be the single nastiest personal attack on an enemy leader in any war.
According to SOE in the Far East, Charles Cruickshank, Oxford University Press, 1983; the British Special Operations Executive used black sexual leaflets against the Japanese in the Far East. He says in part:
The theme that the private soldier was required to endure hardship at the front for the benefit of the war profiteer was developed in an interesting series of leaflets depicting the life-style of the profiteer. Six photographs were commissioned: A profiteer at dinner waited on by pretty girls; Smoking and drinking after dinner with the girls; A communal bathing scene; Fornication; Fornication; More smoking and drinking.
The two fornication photographs caused a lot of problems and red tape for the British agents. After searching for suitable pornography without success, Asian models were found who were willing to be photographed separately in the buff. According to Cruickshank, the two photos were combined:
The subjects had to be photographed separately and the photographer is to be congratulated on a really clever bit of photomontage. It was hoped the pictures struck the right not of artistic debauchery. The background looks a bit austere to the Western eye but with the Japanese the plays the thing and the scenery is kept single.
The caption read: This is the way the profiteers are living at home. Soldiers, it is not for such as these that you should die. If you surrender to us you will be well-treated and your lives will be preserved to clear Japan of such scum after the war.
Years later, I read the actual Special Operations Executive file. Everything that Cruickshank said was accurate, and in addition I note the following.
About January 1944, the SOE requested a set of six pornographic leaflets. They had to deal with Scotland Yard, possibly because they were producing pornography; possibly because they needed a professional pornographer. That is not made clear. They wanted the leaflets to be sized to fit in a mortar or artillery shell and the paper to be highly glazed. The leaflets appear to have been ready by May 1944 and at that time blocks were forwarded with the promise of a duplicate set soon afterwards.
By coincidence, the American OSS also prepared a set of six sexual leaflets, though they were drawn by hand rather than photographed.
Sexual leaflets can sometime backfire on the originator when it is clearly wrong.
This is mentioned War by Stealth: Australians and the Allied Intelligence Bureau, Alan
An officer noted in October 1944 that the natives reaction to leaflets has been practically 100% with the exception of one leaflet which accuses the Japs of interfering with native women. This leaflet may even have had a damaging effect as far as can be ascertained; as enquiries among the natives reveal that the Japs did not interfere with their women.
Japanese soldiers are raping and robbing in Burma.
The above leaflet is very odd and one might question if it is a propaganda leaflet. It depicts a Japanese soldier with whip in hand in front of a naked Burmese woman tied to a pole. There is text in Burmese at the top and Japanese at the bottom. There is English text in the center that says: Japanese soldiers are rapping and robbing in Burma. I assume the leaflet was printed in error and the rapping should read raping.
The leaflet is printed on one side only which is a minor problem because we would expect both sides to be printed. The leaflet lacks a code and this is an even bigger problem. The British dropped leaflets on Burma and they used such codes as MPS, B, SB, and SBN. The Americans dropped leaflets on Burma and they used the codes CBA, CBG, CBM, CBN, CBP and 21 different variations of X.
The person who offered this leaflet also had two Australian leaflets that seem to be for New Zealand, both without codes, so perhaps this is an Australian Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO) leaflet. In general, although the Aussies coded their leaflets, it usually did not appear on the leaflet, just the translation sheet. I cannot find any record of FELO leafleting Burma, so this item is still open to question.
Besides leaflets and postcards, in an attempt to raise the morale of occupied Europe and lower the morale of the German military, civilians and their allies, the secret British Underground Propaganda Committee produced well over eight thousand rumors, (they called them Sibs from the Latin sibalare to hiss). Researcher Lee Richards mentions the whisper campaign and many of these rumors in his book Whispers of War, Psywar.org, 2010. In regard to British propaganda rumors about sexual activity in the Third Reich he lists dozens of moral-destroying rumors. I have selected a few of the more interesting ones:
4 July 1941 German officers know the address of all the prostitutes in Amsterdam that have VD. They use them to get medical leave. It is called krank durch Freude, (Illness through joy).
4 September 1941 Catholic women must offer themselves to the SS on the Day of Fructification. The Church believes that bearing children for the State is a mortal sin.
31 October 1941- The German press has been ordered to downplay stories about prison sentences for German woman who have had relations with foreign workers, just as they downplay death announcements.
21 January 1944 A group of necrophiles among SS troops in Berlin has assembled the perfect German girl from the legs, arms and torso of air raid victims.
Did the United States of America produce wartime propaganda leaflets of a sexual nature? No agent of the American espionage establishment will officially admit it. The use of sexually explicit leaflets has always been against official policy.
However, given enough time, secrets will eventually be exposed. This is exactly what happened when several wartime files and scrapbooks of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) were offered for sale thirty years after the end of World War 2. Some of these files were the personal property of former OSS agents. Others were records that had been lost or discarded when the U.S. occupation forces left Italy after the war. They had been carefully safeguarded for many years until their secrets could no longer prove embarrassing or damaging, and then placed on the auction block.
In the past, we had various hints that the OSS was involved in "black" operations to print and distribute pornographic leaflets. Quoting from The OSS document "Final Report of Production and Distribution from July 15, 1944 to May 15, 1945," we find the listing "Sex leaflets." The report states that 79,000 was produced, with distribution of 16,000 to Algeria, 3,800 to Bari, 41,500 to Brindisi, 500 to Northern Italy, 3,600 to France, and 13,500 for various special missions.
The so-called "sex leaflet" leaflet is a black and white cartoon of a high Nazi official fondling a seminude woman. The size of the leaflet is 240 x 175mm. The female is draped across his lap. Her right breast is exposed. The Nazi leers as he slides his hand under the dress of the unhappy woman. The text at the upper right of the leaflet reads:
For us at the front there is only fear and death. For the important officials at home, our women!
There is a longer message on the reverse:
Comrades! The deceit has lasted long enough! We who have been at the front for years, separated from our dearest ones, are now expected to die for the Party shortly before the end. Meanwhile, the Party bosses at home fool around with our women: It is high time that we do away with these swastika vermin! The war is lost, but we can still preserve the honor of our women! Therefore, go home, comrades! Our women need us! Our women wait for us! Signed: The Federation of Fighters on the Front.
The OSS Rome Envelope
The OSS Prints 6 Pornographic Leaflets in Rome
A second OSS propaganda operation with a sexual theme was listed in the "Final Report" under the heading of "Sex Cards and Envelopes." The report shows that there were 70,000 sets produced, with 65,025 sent to Northern Italy, 350 to France, and another 3,100 distributed in unlisted "Special" operations.
An envelope was found in a reference file of OSS material with German text on the front reading In der Heimat da gibt's ein Wiederseh'n! (We will meet again at home). This is an old German song dating back to the First World War. Beneath the title, we find in smaller print: 6 Bilder, (six Pictures). There is what might be considered a pun here because that line can also be translated as “Sex Pictures.” The envelope is colored tan and measures 150 x 100 millimeters. The OSS artist, Ed Lindner, was apparently afraid the leaflets would fall into the hands of minors, so he wrote in red pencil on the envelope in German: For men only. Below the actual envelope, he wrote on the same page that the card was mounted on, with the same red pencil, “For Adults only.” The American agent who prepared this reference file has penciled in red on the envelope Nur fur manner (For men only). Directly below the envelope on the page it was mounted on he has written in the same red pencil "Only for adults." We can deduce that he wanted the message printed on the envelope so it would not be accidentally opened by children.
The leaflets are 140 x 95 millimeters and would fit very snugly into this envelope with just a few millimeters to spare. The leaflets are extremely explicit and pornographic and are not items that a child should see. They feature themes of homosexuality, bestiality, lesbianism and child molestation.
The OSS Morale Operations Field Manual approved of the use of:
Slang, vulgarity, and pornography when consistent with cover, giving gossip and dirt, e.g., describing the sexual life of prominent enemy officials or their wives Exploiting all social problems, especially sexual, which inevitably arise, increase of juvenile delinquency, adultery, pregnancy, venereal diseases; circulating in one enemy country political statements, jokes and satires derogatory to it.
Each leaflet bears a rather crude black and white sexual caricature, a title in Gothic print, and four lines of text in early German "Suterlin," a script taught in elementary schools until the mid-1930s. The style of the text is an artificially concocted verse. Translation is extremely difficult, and cannot be made to rhyme in English. We have attempted to capture the mood of the propagandist author.
The first shows two naked women, one sucking on the breast of the other. The Gothic title reads "New games in the home (The husband is at the front)." A loose interpretation of the script verse is:
"This picture shows your Annette,
in a game with another woman.
Your Plea for her love is in vain,
she now loves only degenerate acts!"
The second leaflet bears the same title in Gothic, but shows a naked woman standing before a mirror with a dog licking her pubic area. The text reads:
"The woman alone without a man
tries to get her pleasure any way she can.
Her clitoris itches and burns like fire,
and the dog's tongue performs miracles!"
Note: The actual leaflet is much more graphic.
This image was intentionally blurred so as not to offend.
The third has the same heading as the first two. This card shows two women having oral sex on a bed. The text reads:
"Her husband isn't here, what should she do?
Her pussy cannot always be idle.
For this reason and to defy you
she now eats another pussy!"
Note: The actual leaflet is much more graphic.
This image was intentionally blurred so as not to offend.
The fourth leaflet has a different title in Gothic: "The Party takes action (and your wife too?)." The caricature shows a naked SS man with an enormous erection saluting a photo of Hitler. On the bed is an unclothed weeping woman. By the bedside is a photo of her husband, a soldier at the front. The 'text reads:
"He threatened her so she would be nice to him
and follow him into the warm bed.
The Nazi has no conscience
and that is how he gets his sex."
This image was intentionally blurred so as not to offend.
The fifth leaflet has the title "HJ = Helpless Boys (Will your boy also be perverted?)." The illustration is of an adult Nazi party member holding a young boy wearing only shirt and shoes. The initials "HJ" are for "Hitler Jugend" (Hitler Youth). This was a semi-military youth organization formed by the Nazi Party. The OSS changed this to "Helpless youth" in an attempt to convince fathers at the front that their children were being perverted and seduced by members of the Nazi Party. The text reads:
"The boy and his leader
are united in love play.
Thus the leader also takes your child.
There are altogether too many games!"
The sixth and final leaflet has the same heading as the fifth. "HJ= Helpless boys (Will your boy also be perverted?)" The illustration is of an adult Nazi Party member about to have anal sex with a young boy.
This image was intentionally blurred so as not to offend.
"The Hitler Youth, always sharp,
also has a love life.
His leader also has seduced him:
The asshole is already stretched."
I spoke to the author of these leaflets many years after the war, and he was quite proud of them. He told me:
That very nasty set of `6 Bilder' in an envelope originated with yours truly who took to verse and rhyme to make a point perfectly clear. Nasty!
I asked him what he hoped to gain by the leaflets, since every study has shown that pornography fails miserably to demoralize the foot soldier. He answered:
The 6 Bilder were not just idle pornography. The "fun" part served, as you rightly observed, to achieve wide and rapid dissemination of the material, which was not designed simply to stimulate raging hormones. Its purpose was to stimulate second thoughts -- a nagging suspicion and discomfort as to the possibility of actual events, even though depicted in pornographic caricature. Could it be that my young son is being corrupted and violated by his Hitlerjugend fuehrer? Is my wife's yearning for sexual fulfillment satisfied by a surrogate, perhaps a neighbor's dog? Whose friend is the Nazi functionary -- the soldier's friend or the soldier's wife's? In other words, it's not the porn part of the picture that we wanted to work for us, but the message part (as subliminal as it may seem). The series of six caricatures also filled a secondary objective: wider awareness of this "underground" activity, including the Neues Deutschland movement, an expansion of, what the Nazi press so much deplored, the "Fluesterpropaganda." They wrote a long editorial about it in the Das Schwarze Corps, the official SS newspaper.
At his request I always kept the name of the American agent secret. He has now
passed on so I would like to give him the credit I feel that he deserves. Ed Lindner (
During WWII Ed was part of the Morale Operations Company of the 2677th
In later years I would often call him to talk about various projects. He was very low-key and when I asked him if he wanted to appear on a TV or magazine interview with me always turned them down. WWII was a job that had to be done, and he wanted no publicity or praise for simply doing his duty.
In 2010, Florian Traussnig of the Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies pointed out another of Lindners little tricks on the envelope.
He used impressive linguistic and semiotic strategies (probably based on intuition, not on academic theories) like the text-riddle of the headline 6 Bilder (6 is in German pronounced sechs [seks] and therefore homophone with Sex).
So, the implication is that 6 Bilder might also be thought of as Sex Pictures. Eddie was always thinking!
Part of one letter Willis C. Reddick Sent Me
During WWII, a Research and Development Department (Dirty Tricks) agent named Major Willis C. Reddick oversaw establishing the OSS printing office in a former laboratory space at 25th and E Streets in Washington DC., and later in London. His job was commanding the printers in charge of counterfeiting documents to be used by agents in the field. I once asked him about pornography. Some of his comments appear at the bottom of one letter he sent to me.
Goebbels with a Starlet
The OSS in Berne attacked NAZI Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels in this leaflet that shows him with a semi-naked starlet on his lap. Goebbels was in charge of the German movie industry and he was known to use his power to have sex with many of his female stars. In this leaflet she is succumbing to his charms as he promises her a starring role over glasses of champagne. Notice that the leaflet is stamped 125. That shows that it was a file copy by the Office of Strategic Services. The text is:
For Goebbels the war is not so bad
He looks for a star for a film
While others bleed to death
He is occupied with harlots
There are other leaflets that are sexual, but less pornographic. For instance, The Morale Operations Section of the OSS produced a series of sixteen leaflets entitled "Wie lange noch?" (How much longer?). The plan was to convince the populace that there was a strong anti-Nazi underground movement within Germany. Besides the leaflets, posters and gummed labels using a large "W" as a symbol were placed on German vehicles, on walls, on doors and windows, in books and other appropriate places, by agents operating behind enemy lines.
How Much Longer - Number 8
Number 8 in the Wie lange noch? series depicts a man and a naked German woman on a bed. The text is:
How much longer will these foreigners disgrace our women?
At the right of the leaflet, beneath the number 8 the author has written:
Read and pass on!
How Much Longer - Number 13
Number thirteen of the series pictures a German wife sitting on the bed with a member of the Nazi Party. On a nearby table we see a photograph of her soldier husband who is fighting on the Eastern Front. The text of this leaflet reads:
How much longer will these bedroom heroes, who always shout Heil Hitler so smartly, be permitted to pursue our women?
At the right of the leaflet, beneath the number 13, the author has written:
Read and pass on!
Hitler's Mountain Retreat
At one time there was an OSS plan to drop pornography over the Eagle's Nest at Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden, Hitler's mountain retreat. The OSS believed that it might drive him insane and end the war quickly. This plan went all the way to the Air Force where it was stopped when a General refused to risk a bomber and crew over the most heavily fortified area in Germany to drop "dirty pictures."
This plan came about because of a 1943 top-secret long-range psychological analysis of Hitler prepared by the OSS. The story is told in part in The Mind of Adolf Hitler, Walter C. Langer, Basic Books, NY, 1972. This was first prepared by the Morale Operations Branch of the Office of Strategic Services as a classified report titled A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler during WWII. I should mention that most of the people interviewed for the report had escaped from Germany. They wanted American acceptance and may have been telling the psychologists what they thought they wanted to hear. Some of the more interesting passages in the book are:
Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe said that one of Hitler's hobbies that is carefully hidden from the public is his love of pornography. He can scarcely wait for the next edition of Der Stürmer to appear. When it reached him he goes through it avidly. He seems to get great pleasure out of the dirty stories and the cartoons that feature this sheet.
Hitler has a large collection of nudes and according to Ernst Hanfstaengl (a former Chief of the Foreign Press Department of the Nazi Party who fled Germany) and others, he also enjoys viewing lewd movies in his private theater.
Other comments are:
On his walls are numerous pictures of obscene nudes that conceal nothing and he takes particular delight in looking through a collection of pornographic pictures that Hoffmann has made for him.
There was a general agreement among the collaborators of the report that Hitler is probably a neurotic psychopath bordering on schizophrenia. He has lost complete contact with the world about him and is still striving to make some kind of psychological adjustment that will give him a feeling of security in his social group.
Hitler's perversion is an extreme form of masochism in which the individual derives sexual gratification from the act of having a woman urinate or defecate on him.
Otto Strasser on a conversation with Geli Raubal (Hitler's niece and "the only woman he ever really loved"): Hitler made her undress. He would lie down on the floor. Then she would have to squat over his face where he could examine here at close range and this made him very excited. When the excitement reached its peak he demanded that she urinate on him and that gave him sexual pleasure.
It is amazing to think that the OSS paid for this report and apparently put some credence into its finding when not one of the agency's psychologists ever got within several thousand miles of Hitler.
Glen Yeadon and John Hawkins talk about the sexual plans to unhinge Hitler in The
Nazi Hydra in
Londonbased OSSgroup decided Nazi would implode if only its leader could be demoralized. After conducting a long psychological profile of Hitler, the group decided he could be unhinged by exposure of vast quantities of pornography. The Germany group then assembled the finest collection of pornography. The material was to be dropped by plane around the Führer-bunker. Hitler was to step outside and pick one up and immediately be thrown into a state of madness. But the Air Force liaison stormed out of the first meeting with the OSS , cursing and swearing he would not risk a single life for such an insane plan. OSS
Another OSS plan was to feminize Hitler. A psychological report claimed:
A large feminine component to his constitution, which made him emotional, outwardly submissive, annoyingly subservient, and a full-fledged and a full-fledged masochist when it came to sex. The OSS believed that when Hitler visited the Eagle's Nest in southern Germany, the vegetables he ate came from a nearby garden. A local gardener was bribed to inject female sex hormones into the beets and carrots destined for Hitler's plate.
Nothing came of that operation.
The United States Navy also produced at least one slightly erotic propaganda leaflet. The item was produced by the Psychological Warfare Branch of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC). It was coded "411," and intended to create anxiety concerning conditions at home.
A photograph of a Japanese woman with one breast exposed is shown on the front. The other side contains text in violet ink on a primrose paper, 5 x 8 inches in size. The text reads:
While you continue your futile resistance against our overwhelming might, your wives, sisters, and daughters back home are daily being reduced to prostitution. These are hard times for your farmers, and badly needed money is easily obtained by selling women to brothels. Factory workers, who now have money, are always eager to pay a few extra yen for a night's fun with women. When peace comes soon, times at home will be even worse. This will be true in all countries. Unless you are at home to care for your families, many of your dearest women will be forced to become prostitutes. Can you think without emotion of your wives, daughters, and sisters submitting to the lustful embraces of jeering workers? Don't throw away your lives in vain. Your families need you!
We warn the Japanese that their women will be used as prostitute under the militarists reign. The form below is not propaganda. But it shows we were right. The women will be prostitutes, but apparently for the victorious Americans. I sense some irony here.
The Official Rate for Sex in the Japanese Geisha Houses in 1945
At the end of WWII the victorious Americans fixed the prices for sex for occupying troops with Japanese prostitutes. Before World War II, the yen traded at roughly 3.6 to the dollar. Then in 1945, the occupation forces landed and adopted a 15-to-1 conversion rate for their transactions with the Japanese. As inflation surged, they changed the rate to 50-to-1 in 1946, to 270-to-1 in 1948 and finally to 360-to-1 in 1949. Knowing the rate we see that to simply sleep over would cost about $6.50, a full-time which meant as much sex as you could handle for as long as you like was .70 cents an hour, and if you just wanted to drop in for a quickie was it was $2, which seems about right because as a kid when you heard about sex with a prostitute they always talked of $2 a pop.
Privately Produced Hitler Sex Photographs
There is another kind of American sexual propaganda that we should mention. During World War II, a number of faked photographs of enemy leaders were prepared to ridicule and humiliate them. There was a rumor from time to time that these were government black operations, but they were almost certainly privately made photographs prepared by patriotic citizens doing their small part to attack the Axis. One of the favorite targets of these photomontages was Adolf Hitler. We illustrate two such photographs above, each showing Hitler in close proximity to a womans breast. It is worth noting that the British Government actually did authorize a black propaganda photograph attacking Hitler. In that case, the Fuhrer was depicted holding his penis which just happened to be circumcised.
The Private life of Dictators
Text in Italian, English and French
There is a mysterious set of ten pornographic postcards that depict both Hitler and Mussolini in various insulting sexual poses. The vignettes of the ten cards are all known. Eight are in horizontal format, two in vertical format. One depicts Hitler and Mussolini chasing each other around the table to see who will bugger the other: others depict a flying penis about to enter Hitler; Hitler and Mussolini about to be anally raped by Moroccans; Mussolini having anal sex with Hitler while he is abused by a phallic Fasces; Mussolini looking at pornographic pictures while his mistress Clara Petacci talks to a Fascist officer; Mussolini performing oral sex on a woman; Mussolini performing oral sex on a woman while Hitler watches; Hitler pointing at a womans naked behind; a woman performing oral sex on Mussolini; and Hitler as a prostitute near a lamppost (Lili Marlene?).
The 2020 Italian Language book Top Secret: Fake News in the Second World War, Espionage and Psychological Propaganda mentions the cards and adds that there is also a wrapper with the title The Last Secret Weapon of Hitler – Mussolini: The Corrupters of Europe.
Leandro says that instead of 10 postcards, there are 12 pornographic leaflets in the second wrapper. He says the photographs are of probable partisan or English origin and were dropped by aircraft together with other brochures with similar content over the town of Codogno in the province of Lodi to mock the German and Italian Fascists. All the leaflets are focused on Hitler, Mussolini and Petacci portrayed in obscene poses commented in Italian and English.
Notice there may be as many as three separate sets of pornography Hitler-Mussolini cards. These were black so their origin would be hidden, and we have no idea how many sets were printed, or by whom.
All of these postcards are pornographic and four have homosexual themes. They all have text in three languages; Italian, English and French. The anti-Fascist postcards might have been printed in Italy in late 1944.
The 10 cards we depict have an interesting history. Toward the end of World War II, the present owners father, a displaced Serbian, took asylum at the Vatican Citys refugee facility. Incredibly, these postcards were displayed at that location. He obtained a set and after the war, he took the postcards with him to Argentina and then later brought them with him when he settled in New York.
I asked the owner's surviving family what they meant by "displayed?" Their answer:
There is a family theory about the description of the postcards having been "displayed" at the Vatican's asylum unit. The Serb spoke Serbian (his nationality) and Spanish (from living in Argentina after the War) to his family. In Spanish, the word "mostrar" means "display," but it also means "show." So it's possible that rather than being on display, these postcards were shown to the Serb. That is pure speculation, but I have trouble believing that any Vatican charitable organization would put such sexual cards like those above on display.
All ten cards are well drawn and use propaganda text to embarrass and vilify the Fascist leaders. They were clearly meant to be used as postcards since the back has three lines for an address.
The Wrapper for what I believe is the Reproduction set
It seems to be designed for the American military souvenir trade
Because the wrapper is cut and torn it is possible that it originally said:
For American Soldiers in Rome
The postcards were re-issued in Naples in 1978 as Seven unwelcome postcards of the twin regime, by Colonnese. The twin regime could be the regimes of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, or could be near the end of the war where there was a regular government in the south of Italy and Mussolinis Fascist Italian Social Republic in the north.
The back of what I believe to be the Reproduction Postcard
At the right side of the back of the reprinted cards there is a dotted box for a stamp and three lines for the address. On the left side, each card bears a printers imprint at the lower left in the message area that reads: Nazifascismo proibito (the card number) Colonnese editore, (Forbidden Nazi Fascism - (number) - Colonnese publisher). The reprinter Colonnese points to a library/bookshop in Naples, Italy, named Colonnese Editore. The bookshop was founded in 1963 by Gaetano Colonnese. It soon gained a reputation for books and journals related to the working class. Working class could indicate Communist and this could tie in Communist guerrillas to the anti-Fascist postcards. The reprinted set I saw had ten cards so perhaps more were added at a later date.
These reproduction cards appear to have come in a wrapper entitled American Soldiers in Rome with an American flag at the far left. The wrapper is made from a thick paper which could be folded around the cards.
Numbers 1 to 6 of these cards were included in the collection of John Perkins of Jersey Island, UK, that was auctioned by Stanley Gibbons in July 2014. Lot #1129 was described as follows:
Selection of six black and white artist drawn postcards on pages from a series entitled Nazifascismo Proibito (numbered 1-6 on reverse) believed to have been prepared by Italian partisans and depicting various depraved and explicit poses of Hitler and Mussolini, also three similar designs on thin paper (proofs?) and a colored plain back card, some with overall stain spots, otherwise fine, Estimated price 120-140 pounds.
I corresponded with Perkins from about 1999 to 2004 and he was a very dedicated collector with wonderful propaganda material in his collection.
One of the Sex Leaflets with the images found on the Postcards
In addition, in October 2018 eight leaflets (not postcards) that are bear only Italian text (No French or English) were offered in a German auction.
Here is the complete set of cards, followed by the back of one of the original cards to show the absence of the stamp box.
1. Hitler and Mussolini around table: He who stops is lost. Hitler: I almost think I shall stop.
2. Hitler with flying penis: The last secret weapon has changed direction.
3. Hitler and Mussolini with Moroccans: The promised prize to the people of Morocco. Hitler to Mussolini: Now it is your turn.
4. Hitler and Mussolini with two women: They take new pre-arranged positions.
5. Mussolini looking at pornographic pictures: Fascist headquarters, Clarella: keep quiet the Duce is examining new positions.
6. Mussolini performing oral sex on a woman: The war that I prefer.
7. Mussolini performing oral sex on a woman while Hitler watches: The Corruptors of Europe.
8. Hitler pointing at a womans naked behind, seeming to indicate that it is not fair that she has a bigger ass than he is: Unloyal competition!
9. A woman performing oral sex on Mussolini: Historical meeting Encouraging arts, talking with his inspirer.
10. Hitler as a prostitute near a lamppost, perhaps imitating Lili Marlene as a soldier walks by: Who wants me?
The back of the original Pornographic Postcards
This is a very interesting postcard set. Why were they in the Vatican? Were they sent there by the OSS as anti-Fascist propaganda, or were they privately made by some anti-Fascist or Guerrilla movement? As wartime propaganda they are amazing, but are they officially government-made or unofficially privately-made? Their value depends on proper identification.
The “Kosher Meat” card
This strange item appears to be a standard WWII British Postcard with the usual words POST CARD, For Correspondence and Address Only on the back. It was offered for sale by the Stade Auction House of Germany and estimated at 30 Euros ($34 U.S.). I don’t know how this could be sold in a store because it is very pornographic and depicts what actually looks like a German caricature of a Jew having anal sex with Adolf Hitler. The text is:
Giving Hitler some Kosher Meat
What I thought was particularly interesting is that the word “Kosher” is in Hebrew as if the card was designed to be bought be Jews to ridicule Hitler. This could be just a gag card, or it might be something governmental meant to vilify Hitler. I have not a clue.
Most Russian leaflets to
The Hitler Gang is making
These documents show you how your officers are spending their time.
You are assigned to District IIa, which will be more clearly described to you, comprising nine women and ten girls.
Should you however be capable of taking charge of another district besides the one you are assigned to, you will become a deck Officer and you will receive the Copulation Order First Class on a blue and red ribbon.
Additionally, we would like to mention that should you be able to take a third district you will be exempt from taxes and become eligible for a pension.
We want you to start your blessed work immediately after the receipt of the list and report the success of it to this office after a term of nine months by using the forms you are shortly due to receive.
Curiously, although the Russians used the term prostitution as
propaganda, it was becoming a real problem in
is causing us many a headache these days. During a raid we found that 15 per cent of all women arrested had VD, most of them even syphilis. We must certainly do something now about it. In the long run we cannot possibly avoid setting up a "red-light district" in the Reich capital similar to those in Berlin Hamburg, , and other large cities. You simply cannot organize and administer a city of four millions in accordance with conceptions of bourgeois morals. Nuremberg
The Soviets were prudes concerning sex and seldom resorted to female nudity in their leaflets. However, on occasion they would use or imply sexuality in an attempt to turn the common German foot soldier against the SS and Party bosses. The next two leaflets are examples of this theme.
German soldiers! At the Front
The Soviets printed a sexual "divide and conquer" leaflet in August 1941 that depicted black-uniformed SS troops dragging German women into a building labeled "National Beschälanstalt." Below, the leaflet depicts German soldiers dying on the Eastern Front. The text is:
At the front, you risk your young life senselessly, meanwhile Hitler creates the Beschälanstalten and turns your wife and sister into tools of lust for the officers.
This same image of the women dragged by force into the building appears on several other Soviet leaflets. "Beschälanstalt" is an old and unusual German word that indicates the place where bulls and cows are brought together to copulate. In this context, the word refers to the "Lebensborn" institutes or homes. There were rumors that in many cases these institutes were not only a place for unmarried women to bring their babies into the world, but also a place where "Aryan" SS officers could find women for their own pleasure to make racially pure, blonde, blue-eyed babies. The Soviets imply that these women are not entering voluntarily for the good of the Party, but instead, the SS force them into prostitution.
German soldiers! You Spill Your Blood
Another Soviet image that appears on several leaflets depicts a jack-booted SS officer tearing the clothes off a German woman while her infant daughter tries to pull him away. Once again, her husband appears below, wounded and about to die on the Eastern Front. The text of this August 1941 leaflet is:
German Soldier! You spill your blood in the battle, you suffer terribly and lose everything you have; while back at home the SS rapes your woman.
The Soviets did a poor job of translating the text into German. The last two lines are written to rhyme ( lande, Bande) but if you read them as a normal sentence it means:
While back at home your wife rapes the SS.
The swastika on the soldiers cap is inverted, an error that the Germans were sure to find humorous and one which would discredit the veracity of the leaflet.
July 1943 issue of Front Illustrierte fur den Deutschen Soldaten
The Russian 4-page propaganda leaflet newspaper Front Illustrierte fur den Deutschen Soldaten (Front Illustrated for the German Soldiers)was published on a weekly basis from July 1941 to April 1945 and then airdropped over German troops. The newspapers were about 90% illustrations with many photographs and photomontages of a defeatist nature showing dead or wounded German troops and destroyed German war weapons and materials. Occasionally special issues would be produced with more than the usual four pages. Hardly an issue can be found that does not show rotting German corpses or burning German tanks on Russian soil. Hitler is often ridiculed, sometimes depicted with Napoleons hat, sometimes as a drunk, sometimes as a vulture on a mountain of corpses or sometimes leading an army of skeletons. Other Nazi leaders such as Göring, Goebbels and Himmler appear in various poses as rats, monkeys, money-grubbers and other strange creatures. Many of the illustrations were designed by the Russian artist Alexander Zhitomirsky. Besides German language editions, there were some copies of the newspaper printed in Italian, Romanian and Finnish.
The Russians generally did not care to show sexual images and they are quite rare. The issue of July 1943 depicts a dark foreign worker in bed with a beautiful blond German wife. A picture of her husband in uniform hangs over the bed with the text:
While the soldier is at the front
Text below the picture is:
11 million foreigners live in
today, driven or attracted there by Hitler - meanwhile on the East Front, millions of German men fall senselessly and pointlessly. Germany
We should start this section by saying that the United States fully understood that showing naked women in sexual poses was anti-productive. In fact, there were constant directives coming down from higher echelons that pointed out that sex leaflets had no effect on the North Koreans and Chinese. As a result, we find no U.N. leaflets that use pornography, though many have implications of sexuality. Major Albert C. Brauer, served in the Eighth U.S. Army Korea as Chief of the Projects Branch, Psychological Warfare Division, G3 Section (February 1951 to January 1952). He prepared a paper for Georgetown University in 1953 entitled Psychological Warfare Korea 1951. He said in regard to the use of sexual propaganda leaflets:
Sex evidently does not appeal (strange as it may seem) to the Oriental in any manner comparable to that of Americans. All Orientals I worked with held this view. They could, however, give no satisfactory explanation, nor did they know how the sex angle could be exploited against an Oriental target audience.
I conducted a simple test on three members of a POW panel who were aiding us in the preparation of leaflets, in an effort to determine if even a rudimentary reaction to sex (by our standard of measurements) could be detected. Four proposed leaflets, together with a picture of a luscious female nude, were handed to these members for any response upon which effective propaganda leaflets could be based. They took one look at the nude and without batting an eye handed it back as no good.
Lieutenant Colonel David G. Underhill of the 7th PSYOP Group told me that using sex on a leaflet aimed at the North Koreans was a terrible idea. He said:
I did a leaflet for North Korea trying to talk about Korean culture that depicted a ballet dancer, but it was far too racy for the North Korean farmer. When we questioned the Koreans about what they thought of that leaflet we were told, No one runs around with naked legs. They hated another one I did with a solder saying goodbye to his wife with his right hand touching her face. A woman said, Of course a man loves his wife, but he would never commit such a display in public. There was even a comment made I believe by ex-POW General Walker that Korean women were so modest that when crossing a river they would flounder and drown before they would disrobe. He said that Chinese women soldiers would disrobe in public, bundle their clothing and carry it on their heads.
Brauer later gives an example of how the implication of sex can work on the enemy. He mentions a leaflet to the Chinese with the text:
To be a "virtuous man" one must have a family and a career. When will you return home to fulfill your obligations? On this foreign battleground you are the cannon fodder of the Communist aggressor. Reflect Warriors: Many of you are killed, wounded, or crippled each day. How can you expect to marry and father children?
Friends: Come over to UN lines now: Save your life so that you will live to see your parents again, marry, and have children.
He then remarks:
This leaflet was developed to heighten feelings of nostalgia in the CCF and to create concern at the lack of fulfillment of social duty generated by his being in a foreign land. The concept of filial duty or obligation is particularly important to the individual Chinese Many of the CCF are unmarried youths from rural areas who should be especially susceptible to such an appeal. The message is crystallized in terms of marriage, tending the land, and fathering a son. This I believe, is the only way that sex can be used effectively against the Chinese Communist.
An early divisive Korean War First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group propaganda leaflet dated 19 January 1953 depicts a Communist Chinese soldier raping a Korean woman. Text to the right of the vignette is:
SAVE YOUR WIVES AND SISTERS FROM THE EVIL HANDS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNISTS!
Text on the back says in part:
Front line soldiers and officers often lay awake thinking of their dear ones at home especially of their beautiful wives.
But Lee Won Sop, platoon leader of the 50th regiment, 15th Division, saw a terrible scene involving one of those wives. He wants you to know about it and the heartbreaking tears that he felt.
When Lee went back to the rear for training, he was asked to carry a message to Private Kangs wife.
When he reached Kangs house, he heard a woman screaming.
Lee peeped through the window and saw a Communist Chinese soldier trying to rape Kangs wife.
At that moment, Lee realized that the true enemy of
is the Chinese Communist forces. Korea
North Korean people and soldiers! The Chinese Communist dogs, by meddling in the Korean War, not only prolong the war and kill your blood brothers, but they also rape your women while Korean men fight at the front.
The above leaflet was released in both Chinese and Korean versions. The leaflet was entitled Rape of Manchuria and printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group on 19 January 1953. There was a note in the Korean language on both sides that said: This is a United Nations message to the Communist Chinese forces. Post it for them to see. The Chinese version depicts a school girl (identified by her bag being labeled book bag and her book labeled High school, being raped by a horrific looking Soviet soldier while two other soldiers hold another poor woman prisoner while they wait their turn. The message, intended for Chinese soldiers fighting in Korea, was for them to stop fighting and return to China to "Guard your Homes and Protect Your Country."
The text on the front to the left of the vignette is:
Dont forget the shame inflicted upon the Chinese people during the Soviet advance into
Northeast Chinaduring the autumn of 1945. Even Chinese mothers and sisters did not escape!
is still walking boldly there. Russia
Against continued Soviet aggression: GUARD YOUR HOMES AND PROTECT YOUR COUNTRY.
On the back of the leaflet Russian soldiers steal Chinese goods and place them on a train labeled To Russia. A machine is labeled: Dismantled for Soviet Russia. The text is:
Near the end of 1945, the Soviets looted machinery and stockpiles from the Chinese Northeastern provinces worth an estimated two billion U.S. dollars.
It will take at least 30 years to recover this loss.
Against continued Soviet aggression GUARD YOU HOMES AND PROTECT YOUR COUNTRY.
This leaflet might not be just the usual propaganda. One non-forgiving Korean now living in the
told me: United States
When the Soviet Soldiers entered
North Koreain 1945, they committed terrible rapes and other crimes as they had in the other occupied countries in Eastern Europe and Manchuria. The Soviet Uniondeployed penal soldiers in the front lines as the expendable undesirables. They were the most despicable sub-humans and deserved to be killed.
This is not a leaflet I would normally add to this article because there is no sex or violence as part of the propaganda theme. It simply shows a pretty woman. However, the communist Chinese were rather prudish about such things and I suspect that many troops carried this leaflet around as a sort of pin-up. It might be as close to a sexual leaflet as the Americans used against the Chinese. We will see a similar pretty girl fully-dressed in the
section. This leaflet was produced by the Psychological Warfare Division G3 (Operations) EUSAK on 8 March 1953. The leaflet is designed to stimulate longing for normal human relationships and to create dissension against the government which denies them. The front depicts a photograph of Pretty Chinese woman in a formal silk dress. 500,000 of these leaflets were dropped on 14 May 1953, and they were dropped on other earlier occasions. The text is: Vietnam
No mans Life is Complete without a Wife and Sons.
The back is blank.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this leaflet is that it turned out that the pretty young woman was the very patriotic daughter of a South Korean Minister who had never given permission for its use. Allegedly, the minister came upon a copy of the leaflet and raised Hell with the American propagandists.
Are sexual leaflets outdated? The answer to this is a definite no. The Sunday Telegraph of 17 November 1963 reports that Indonesian Guerillas fighting British and Malaysian troops in 1963 used leaflets showing nude women with the text, "John, go home, she needs you," or "Darling, she's waiting for you to come back."
Vietnam War Sexual PSYOP
There were no official sexual leaflets used by the United States during the Vietnam War, but there were some that showed pin-ups or sad wives waiting for their husbands to come home from the south. The 4th PSYOP Group produced a leaflet coded 4-133-68 that depicted an attractive Vietnamese girl in a bathing suit and the text:
DONT DENY YOURSELF THE RIGHT TO BE A MAN.
The back was all text:
Right now your only satisfaction is that you hope you are able to stay alive through the terrible Army of Vietnam attacks. Dont deny yourself the right to be a man. Return to a life of happiness and personal freedom. Rally to the open arms of the Government of Viet Nam.
Robert W. Chandler mentioned this leaflet in War of Ideas: The U.S. Propaganda Campaign in Vietnam, Westview Press, Boulder CO., 1981. He mentions the United States Information Agency (USIA) in Saigon warning that "Cheesecake photographs might be acceptable to Western standards but would likely offend native canons of good taste. He quotes another writer, "The Americans often distributed their propaganda messages with pictures of voluptuous scantily clad women. The Americans assumed the pictures would turn the thoughts of enemy troops toward home. But to most Vietnamese, there is nothing captivating about over endowed women. Pinups just don't have the same appeal here, says an American psywarrior, a little sadly." Chandler is correct. This leaflet was probably a failure. The Vietnamese people are very staid and traditional and the sight of a young girl in a bathing suit would be insulting to them. They would assume that she was a prostitute or bargirl.
Lieutenant Colonel David G. Underhill who was with the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa during the Vietnam War agrees. He said about this leaflet:
The 4th PSYOP Group prepared a very tame white leaflet that depicted a Vietnamese woman in a bathing suit that brought a strong adverse reaction in post-testing. The girl in the picture, the enemy claimed, was a prostitute for the American soldiers. Do you think any soldier would be induced to defect by a prostitute?
In 1968, Don Rochlen, Chief of Special Projects for the Field Development Division of JUSPAO gave a talk about the training and indoctrination that the Communist Cadre are given before being sent to the front:
A good political officer knows how to take advantage of any situation. When the Americans prepared a morale leaflet for the Viet Cong showing young lady in a bathing suit, the political officer was ecstatic. He called his men together, held up the leaflet and said to his men: Do you see this? See how these depraved Americans have degraded Vietnamese women. Now I believe the story that every woman in Saigon is a prostitute. We must fight to stop this; we must save our women. The Communist political officers are as well trained as our PSYOP officers are, and that is why they can take a leaflet we thought would be an advantage for us and quickly make it an advantage for them.
The Joint United States Public Affairs Office Policy 70, dated 29 October 1968 says about the use of sex in American propaganda to the Vietnamese:
The mores of the peoples of Viet Nam differ greatly from those of Americans about the relationship between the sexes and the limits to which one can go in exploiting the female form in communications media. Most Vietnamese, particularly in rural areas, are still as conservative as Americans were eighty years ago. This conservatism also characterizes the North Vietnamese approach to women and sex and is held up to the people of the north as a cardinal principal of socialist morality. The Cheesecake approach is looked upon as decadent and symptomatic of the hedonism and moral rot in capitalist society.
The use of sex appeal and the youthful female form in PSYOP material should be limited to young women dressed in appropriate Vietnamese traditional clothes. This type of illustration should be in support of and directly related to the PSYOP message. Cheesecake or the exploitation of the female form either clothed or semi-clothed and depicted in such a manner as to appeal to the sexual instincts will be avoided.
Midshipman Jason Thomas Chaput mentions this leaflet in his 2000
Naval Academy Department of History honors thesis. He says: U.S.
Other messages such as those of the sex appeal leaflets acted to turn the reader off to entertaining the idea of the Chieu Hoi program because they were anchored in American values and not those of the Vietnamese. The sex appeal propaganda which depicted bikini-clad, over endowed Vietnamese women stated that the soldier could find true happiness and the satisfactions of life which every man was entitled if he chose to rally to one of the programs centers. The individuals drafting the propaganda mistakenly believed that Vietnamese soldiers saw the world through the same masculine goggles as did American GIs. The
advisors failed to understand that the Confucian ideals held by a majority of the Vietnamese directed them to be in harmony with their environment by adopting a middle path in all areas of conduct. The effect of the sex appeal leaflets was to turn off the Vietnamese by solidifying their views that the corrupt outside Western influence present in their country had to be defeated. With the input of the Viet Cong defectors at the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) centers, the program coordinators discovered the error of their ways. Essentially, the propaganda themes which had been carried over from the Korean War were no longer effective in inducing the enemy to rally. U.S.
The Marine’s Unit Leader’s Personal Response Handbook
The Vietnamese are a very moral people. They hold their women to a higher standard than some other cultures to. The Marine’s Unit Leader’s Personal Response Handbook adds:
A survey among civilians in Da Nang showed that 98% of the local people were strongly opposed to seeing any American hold hands with a Vietnamese girl in public. Eighty-two percent (82%) felt that any girls appearing in public with Americans must be “bad girls.” Seventy-nine percent (79%) just plain disliked seeing any of their girls with Americans. In Vietnam people show friendship and affection publicly with words and smiles. Very seldom do they touch each other the way Americans do.
Curiously, at the same time the 4th Group produced the inappropriate leaflet showing a female in a bathing suit, they produced a second leaflet showing a Vietnamese woman in traditional garb that was completely appropriate and certainly a better medium for a propaganda message. Text over the primly dressed beauty is:
WHY DO YOU DENY YOURSELVES THE SATISFACTION OF LIFE?
The back is all text:
LIFE IS FULL OF JOY. YET, WHAT GOOD IS LIFE WHEN YOU TURN YOUR BACK ON IT?
The animal-like existence that the Army of
forces you to lead brings no happiness, only denial, without hope, love or offspring. You have nothing to look forward to change this hopeless situation. Rally now to the open arms of the Vietnam Republicof Viet Nam.
A former officer of the Seventh PSYOP Group reported on another
propaganda item with a sexual theme. Vietnam
I have this 17 x 22 inch poster leaflet made by the same guy who made the 4th group bathing beauty leaflet. He paid professional actors to do the shots. He rented the site for $2,000. There was nothing pornographic, just a semi-bare butt and the like. I never used the leaflet.
An even more unsuccessful black and white leaflet has a photograph of a naked female on the front. The girl was a "professional" who worked in the "White Rose" in Vientiane, the capitol of Laos. The back had a 1972 calendar and a standard Royal Government of Laos safe conduct pass. The text on the pass is
To all North Vietnamese soldiers in Laos:
You are offered the chance to escape death and live in safety and peace for the duration. The Royal Lao Government and people will welcome you and treat you as a brother. Show this pass to any Royal Government citizen or soldier and he will guide you to safety.
Signed: The Commander in Chief, Lao National Armed Forces.
Rumor has it that the propagandist who designed this leaflet was reprimanded.
I was later told by a soldier who worked closely with Lao PSYOP:
The leaflet was produced by an Asian contractor (who may have been Vietnamese) for the Company. The leaflet was shown to me for comment. I felt it was a poor idea since the Communists tended to be somewhat puritanical and the leaflet would simply reinforce the message of decadence on the part of the government side. I also expressed the opinion that the commanding general of the Lao army was unlikely to be pleased at having his name attached to a piece of soft porn.
The leaflet was used anyway. This same contractor was enthusiastic about the idea of using sex in PSYOP and thought a great leaflet would be a picture of spread female genitalia with the caption: Been getting any lately? I told him I thought it was an awful idea.
To my knowledge, one other sex oriented leaflet was produced (there may have been others). The other one was a picture of a North Vietnamese diplomat having sex with a Lao prostitute. The message being that the higher ups were living it up while you're dying in the field. I do not know if that leaflet was ever used. Once again, if it was produced, it was a Company production.
Sex was a concern for the Pathet Lao and the Army of North Vietnam. When General Vang Pao took the Plain of Jars in 1969, Chinese sexual potency pills were found. Each came in an ornate box and was a large, round, white ball of a pill containing such ingredients as alligator testicles. The explanation given to me at the time is that these were probably given to party cadres who then sublimated their sex drive becoming more energetic and charismatic leaders.
The girl in the picture is named Kham and she and a friend were seasonal visitors at the White Rose. When there was work on the farm they stayed home and when there was no work on the farm they came to Vientiane to earn a little extra money; probably more money than they earned farming. They came from northeast Thailand from very poor families. She eventually disappeared from the White Rose whether back to her village to get married or as someone's mistress is unknown to me.
I knew quite a few young ladies who worked at bars during the 5-plus years that I was there. Very few of the girls I talked to enjoyed or wanted to stay in the profession. Of course, you did have some that liked what they did or at least considered it preferable to growing rice. For the most part, they wanted out of it and hoped that somebody would marry them or at least take them away from the bars. Many of them incidentally, were useful intelligence resources. Anyone from senior officers to cabinet ministers to Americans and others (yes, even Communist diplomats) showed up at the bars and the girls were simply regarded as part of the furniture. They picked up some of the darndest stuff. You could also tell what the military situation was in any given part of the country by the flow of girls into the bars. They gossiped about the sexual preferences and behavior or all sorts of folks who would probably had fits if they knew what was being said about them.
The American pilots in Laos seemed to like their bargirls. Colonel Joseph D. Celeski mentions the use of bargirls by the pilots in Laos in Special Air Warfare and the Secret War in Laos, Air Commandos 1964–1975:
Both Air America and Continental Air Services supported CIA PSYWAR initiatives. Loudmouth propaganda broadcasts were flown in the north at night urging enemy troops to defect—sometimes using Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries—while a leaflet drop program was flown in the south in the vicinity of the Bolovens Plateau. Some leaflet drops conducted by the CIA were called “Bubble Gum,” after the name of a lady of the night working in a bar in Vientiane.
“In-Country” Cartoon about Vietnamese Prostitutes
We might mention here that an alleged pornographic leaflet produced by the Central Intelligence Agency is said to have depicted a prostitute standing naked in high-heeled shoes in a Vientiane, Laos bar. The message was a standard surrender offer. One almost wonders if the leaflet above is the item in question. Or, it could be the following, mentioned by Colonel Joe Celeski in his book Special Air Warfare and the Secret War in Laos: Air Commandos 19641975:
Some leaflet drops conducted by the CIA were called Bubble Gum, after the name of a lady of the night working in a bar in Vientiane. Ed Dearborn came under enemy AA fire when dropping leaflets during a Bubble Gum mission. Questioning the risk to life, he asked his bundle kicker to bring him one of the leaflets while circling around to make another pass, more dangerous now that the enemy gunners knew he was in the area. He described the leaflet: I couldnt believe it. There was a picture of a local lady of the evening, standing naked in high-heeled shoes in one of the local taverns in Vientiane. The message was Come on down. Surrender and meet Bubble Gum. I thought, Im risking my rear end out here in enemy territory to drop this!
John L. Plaster tells of an unauthorized black use of sex by
Americas secret soldiers in SOG: the Secret Wars of Americas Commandoes in Vietnam, , 1997. He says: Simon & Schuster, N.Y.
But the most mind-blowing dirty trick I ever saw was conceived by my good friend Floyd Pigpen Ambrose. He went all the way to
to have a printed poster of his own design, showing a nude, large-breasted Asian woman, which hed tack on trees beside major enemy trails. Bangkok
Imagine the shock of an NVA soldier, raised under a straitlaced Communist orthodoxy that prohibited pornography, who came upon Floyds poster not to mention the provocative headline, which boldly asked in Vietnamese, Whos sleeping with your wife, and has she got jugs like these? As the message grew more inflammatory, the print became smaller, luring the engrossed soldier closer and closer and hed forget caution and step on the small "toe-popper" mine Floyd had planted and lose a foot.
C-ration cigarette pack and matches
Another way was use the toe-popper was to place some C-ration cigarettes (the military put a miniature pack in each box) so the enemy had to step over onto the hidden mine to pick them up.
The Toe-Popper Improvised mine
A section of pipe, bamboo, or hole in timber with a nail through the base as a firing pin, with a cartridge seated above slightly above the ground so that body weight will cause the cartridge to fire. They were apparently common in III Corps in the AO of the 25th Division. Other units that prepared the small improvised mines called them alpha-alphas. Some of the 101st Airborne Division troops used them, but only in areas thick with Viet Cong and little or no civilians.
Richard H. Schultz tells more about these posters in The Secret War Against Hanoi, HarperCollins, NY, 1999. He mentions the poster showing a woman with large breasts and then quotes a second text:
If your wife has jugs like these, she is probably sleeping with a Chinese military advisor in
. North Vietnam
He mentions a second poster
Colonel Dan Schungel, Chief of OP 35 in 1969, related: In a place where we would think that there would be a lot of NVA troops going by on a supply mission or something like that, we would put up a dreadful poster of Ho Chi Minh [with a young boy] with a message under him saying something derogatory about Ho Chi Minh, and make it an easy reach of the Vietnamese soldier, anticipating that one would come and tear it down. Right below, we would put a little mine about the size of a shoe polish can that would blow off his foot when he stepped on it."
I have read many Vietnam War Intelligence Reports and one theme that appears quite often is the complaint by the low-ranking enlisted guerrillas that while they were not allowed the companionship of their wives or lovers while in the field, the high-ranking officers and political commissars were allowed such visitations. Apparently on several occasions this led directly to defections by some soldier or groups of men who were tired of seeing the wives and girlfriends being seduced by the officers of their unit.
Major Nelson Volk told me another similar story about activities by his men in the 6th PSYOP Battalion about 1966 or 1967. He said in part:
Our intelligence people noticed complaints from Viet Cong Main Force units that they had been employed out of their operating areas for extended periods of time, and that this had caused them needless difficulties and hardships, and that Peoples Army of Vietnam units were available and deployed in their area. They thought PAVN units should be used when troops were needed far from the guerrillas homes.
We thought it worthwhile to try to enhance this friction. We took the position that it is natural for men to be uneasy when they find that strange men have been moved into their home areas. In Indochina, South Vietnamese women are considered very beautiful. We wondered if we could find evidence of this thinking by PAVN personnel.
One of my Specialist 5s had a portrait studio in Hawaii. He took a survey team to a POW camp, where a number of PAVN prisoners were interviewed on a volunteer basis. They were asked what they thought about South Vietnamese women. The answers were simple and decent; e.g., they are nice, graceful, beautiful, etc. Each volunteer was photographed. The resulting photographs were taken to the Bien Hoa area and adult male and female Vietnamese were asked to pick the soldiers they liked the best. We then placed the ones most liked on one side of an oversized leaflet (I dont remember the number of photos 6, 7, or 8). On the reverse side of the leaflet, opposite their photos, was that soldiers quote about what he thought of South Vietnamese women.
The leaflet was dropped in the areas where the disgruntled Viet Cong units were located, to let them know what PAVN troops in their home areas thought of their women. A few of the leaflets were recovered from POW and Chieu Hoi.
In 1968, Orrin DeForest was sent to Vietnam as the CIA’s Chief of Military Region Three. He later wrote a book titled: Slow Burn – The Rise and Fall of American Intelligence in Vietnam. In the book he mentions the interrogators sometimes using sex to loosen a defectors tongue:
“Maybe I can arrange for you to get a piece of tail. You know, get you a pass from the center, fix you up in place I know right down the street from here. What do you think?” And the guy’s eyes would light up. Even if he was being recalcitrant and surly, he might not have had a girl in the last five months, or maybe the last five years if he had been a real bunker dweller out in the jungle. Wave something in front of their faces they really wanted, and they would grab at it. The rapport would be established. That was the key. Then the guy would get friendly, and the information would start flowing.
Prophylactics were to be part of this effort. We thought it would be a nice touch to scatter some PAVN prophylactics in the target areas, where the Viet Cong personnel could find them and think; Those bastards, theyre using them here with our women! A Japanese industrialist said he would be happy to make as many as we wanted pro bono, to include any wrapper and appropriate markings. We actually had an Intelligence type visit North Vietnam to get us a sample. When he came back he said, Forget it, that they didnt use them! Im sorry that part of it didnt work out. It would have been interesting to see what, if any, results would have ensued.
The American PSYOP prohibition on sex propaganda is rarely found published in military documents. Occasionally a sentence or two will be discovered in an army regulation (AR) or field manual (FM). During the Vietnam War, a policy was published on this subject. PSYOP POLICY Number 70, dated 29 October 1968 is entitled Use of Sex Appeal in Propaganda Programs and Material. It is, "In accordance with U.S. Mission directives, this is mission Psychological Policy and Guidance and is to be implemented as Pertinent by all U.S. Elements in Vietnam." The published policy follows:
To provide guidance on the use of sex appeal in propaganda programs and material.
The mores of the peoples of Viet Nam differ greatly from those of Americans with regard to the relationship between the sexes and the limits to which one can go in exploiting the female form in communications media. The large majority of Vietnamese, particularly in rural areas, are still as conservative as Americans were eighty years ago. This conservatism also characterizes the North Vietnamese approach to women and sex, and is held up to the people of the north as a cardinal principal of "socialist morality. The "cheesecake" approach is looked upon as decadent and symptomatic of "hedonism and moral rot" in capitalist society.
III. PSYOP OBJECTIVE:
To avoid giving offense to Vietnamese canons of good taste and to prevent providing Communist political cadre with material which can be made to suggest the existence of moral laxity and corruption in both the Government of Vietnam and its American ally.
The use of "sex appeal" and the youthful female form in PSYOP material should be limited to young women dressed in appropriate Vietnamese traditional clothes. This type of illustration should be in support of and directly related to the PSYOP message. Cheesecake or the exploitation of the female form either clothed or semi-clothed and depicted in such a manner as to appeal to the sexual instincts will be avoided.
I should add a general word about the idea of sex leaflets against the Viet Cong. They were very provincial and the idea of a naked woman was absolute anathema to them. During an interview with Lam Quang Truong, a political and PSYOP cadre who defected to the South in 1969, the subject of sexual leaflets was discussed. He said:
There were some leaflets from the provinces that showed nudes. Worse yet, they were terrible. There was a promise that once you returned to the Government you might receive good treatment from the women. Isn't that disgusting? Appealing? No! Not at all! The majority of the Communist combatants are peasants. To attempt to use sex to lure them is a bad policy. This is bad propaganda and it works against you. While we are dealing with nationalism, there are lots of other ways to do it and those sex leaflets hurt us and the national cause very much.
A 5-page document from the Viet Cong Political Department entitled Action against Enemy Psychological Warfare and the Chieu Hoi Program mentions women in two places:
The enemy seduces our men with money, women and sympathy When one has a deep hatred of the enemy and a noble revolutionary ideal, one is immune to the threat of arms, the appeal of money and beautiful women, and the lure of deceitful tricks .
This would imply that the Viet Cong have seen leaflets offering women, though I have never seen any such leaflets, except the two JUSPAO leaflets that show a female in a bathing suit or completely dressed, or could just be alluding to surrender leaflets that tell the guerrilla to return to his wife and family or to his childhood sweetheart.
The North Vietnamese were not shy about accusing American PSYOP officials of using sex to somehow cloud the mind of their soldiers so that they would not think about the killing of Vietnamese women and children. The Hanoi daily newspaper Nhan Dan said in its issue dated 21 May 1967:
The American authorities find every means to save the dandy combatants from the labor of thinking. For instance: the procurement of a number of cardboard target games for the American soldiers so at any time that they are free from holding weapons they can spend their spare time for putting colors on these targets just like children in kindergarten. From the target colored by the Free World Fighter will emerge the picture of a nude woman. Each target gives a different pattern of nude so the soldiers will not become bored of coloring these targets.
Vietnam Short-Timer Calendar.
I wondered about this story because I never heard of targets being so used. However, there were short-timer calendars that were so used. A soldier might purchase one of these at the Post Exchange and color the days he had to spend in Vietnam until his return home. I assume the calendars were found on the bodies of various dead or wounded soldiers and the Vietnamese did not understand how they were meant to be used.
American troops are often deployed to foreign lands for a specific time. In Vietnam, the tour was usually one year for Army, thirteen months for Marines. As the end of their tour approached, they often used short-timer calendars to count each passing day. As they approached the end of their tour they would tease each other, How short am I? I am so short I could slide under a slugs belly.
A Privately made Short-timer Calendar
This homemade "Short Timer Calendar" was drawn and used by Specialist 4 Ronald Booth. He was a drafted Armorer and Door Gunner with the 118th Attack Helicopter Company "Bandits" Gunship Platoon from 1966 to 1967.
When I asked Specialist Fourth Class Charles Kean Jr., one of the illustrators from the 245th PSYOP Company in Vietnam if he ever drew or even heard of sexual images on leaflets there he said:
As far as sex as a psychological weapon, we didn't do any of that. What we did do were themes about them missing their homes and families.
The Grey Propaganda Radio Station "Mother Vietnam"
To give the reader a better idea of how staid and puritanical the South Vietnamese were, the following is a narration from a broadcaster who tried to use slightly sexual content on the propaganda radio against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese:
On Mother Vietnam Radio I made three attempts to interject sex in our content, which was discouraged by our Vietnamese counterparts:
1) John and Marsha. I had my people create and record a Vietnamese version featuring 2 male and female VC simply addressing each other as "dong-chi" (comrade) which involved the two wooing, an argument, and then making up with at least giggling foreplay, if not sex. I think we aired our version only once, because my counterparts hated it.
2) Steamy "soap opera" monologue. I had a young writer draft a "Dear John" type of talk in which a lonely wife in North Vietnam confesses to her husband fighting in the South that she had finally given in to the advances of a local Party cadre because she had gotten so lonely and starved for affection, and the cadre had kept saying her husband would never survive the war. It was aired once, but not repeated.
3) Sexology show. I wanted to do an informative and titillating series about "What every cadre wants to know about sex, but is too shy to ask." My ARVN counterparts said "No way!"
We also broadcast "altered" parody versions of North Vietnamese songs and short radio dramas that were very funny.
VC Sex Leaflet
The Viet Cong rarely, if ever, depicted a naked woman on a leaflet. Some of the Communist leaflets imply sex, but it is never illustrated. For instance, one leaflet pictures a woman in bed with the blankets covering all but her eyes and the text: I am waiting for you darling. The back of the leaflet is all text and says in both English and Vietnamese:
I'm longing for your return home. Our happiness is here in our sweet home, NOT IN
! SOUTH VIETNAM
Martin Herz, who was a chief leaflet writer of the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF during WWII mentions the Viet Cong use of sex in propaganda in an article entitled Lessons from VC/NVA Propaganda. He says:
Sex is ineffective as a theme. Sex as a theme addressed to American troops suggested itself to the NVA/VC just as it suggested itself to the Germans and Japanese in WWII. It did not work and must have been quickly abandoned, for I have seen only one example in an extensive collection of enemy leaflets. We, on our side, learned the same lesson, but had to learn it again and again, since some of our commanders seemed reluctant to believe that the prudish VC/NVA couldnt be influenced by such appeals.
United StatesMilitary Assistance Command Command History Volume II 1967 mentions a suspected Viet Cong sexual plot. It says that the Viet Cong came up with an interesting PSYOP campaign to use their attractive young women. It was called the Beautiful Girl Scheme. They would attract beautiful young women to work in urban areas frequented by Americans. They would elicit information and learn the ways of the Americans. They would then return to their rural areas where they would disrupt American combat operations. They would solicit sexual advances from Allied troops and, where successful, clutch the man tightly; call for help and this expose the American rapist to the people. Vietnam
The Orlando Evening Star of 23 October 1969 tells of an American campaign that used a pretty Viet Cong female defector to bring in defectors. When an 18-year-old Viet Cong female named Nguyen Thi Man rallied to the Republic of Vietnam, PSYOP troops decided to use her on loudspeaker surrender appeals. She talked in a sexy voice to her former comrades inviting them to come over to the government side. Six of the eight men in her squad went Chieu Hoi. Apparently, she had convinced almost the entire squad that she was their girl.
I should point out that there are all kinds of pornographic and sexual leaflets offered on auction sites on the Internet. Looking at those auction sites, one would think that the entire war was fought with sexual leaflets. As I have shown above, with the exception of a few very rare "black" unauthorized items by some American troops, there really was no use of sexual leaflets in Vietnam. I asked retired Colonel Charles V. Nahlik who spent several years during the war holding down important PSYOP positions what he recalled of sex leaflets. His answer:
I never heard of that being done anywhere at any time during the Vietnam War.
When I asked Bob Turner who worked in the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office during the Vietnam War if he ever heard of sex leaflets he could only remember one case:
The only suggestion I heard in regard to sex propaganda was a new officer assigned to PSYOP who thought we should drop Make Love, Not War leaflets on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Official U.S. Army Pornographer Patch
Let me end this story of American sexual propaganda with a funny anecdote from Vietnam. Former Captain Roger B. Hawkins of the 221st Signal Company (Pictorial) told me:
A major topic of discussion at a weekly staff meeting was whether or not the men of the 221st Signal Company could have a patch on their uniform to represent their function. My job was to decide whether or not to have the patch say "U.S. Army Official Photographer" or "Official U.S. Army Photographer." I made a decision, ordered the patches and a week later, handed them out. Hearing laughter from the rear of the room, I asked "Whats so funny?" The answer came, "Sir, we wondered if you would like one of our special patches?" The custom patches said "Official U.S. Army Pornographer." Apparently the Vietnamese did not translate the term well.
I stuffed my patches in my pocket and promptly forgot about it. A short while later I had an appointment to see the commanding general, Major General Hugh Foster. I got a haircut, put on my best uniform and polished boots and headed up to see the Big Man. As he was looking at my paperwork, he looked up at me and gazed at my shoulder, saying "Captain Bird, that doesnt say what I think it says, does it?" My hootch maid had sewed on the patch that read "Pornographer." Looking the general straight in the eye and swallowing, I said "No sir, it doesnt say that." I left the office quickly.
SEXUAL WAR STORIES
In the military you hear a lot of war stories about the enemy using sex in various campaigns. Certainly 98% of these stories are myths, but since it is interesting propaganda, and sometimes used by one side or another (especially to discourage fraternization), perhaps we should mention them.
A number of the stories come from WWII. One that almost sounds like it could be true was told to me by a Panzer major of the SS Viking Division on the Eastern Front. He said that along a distant tree line his men saw a group of naked Russian women. His men gathered to look at the women with binoculars and were suddenly hit by a Russian artillery barrage, killing several of them. It sounds like a fake story, but he was an SS Major so I have to think that it could be true.
There are similar German stories from the
. Wehrmacht troops stated on several occasions that they saw Russian girls taking baths naked in lakes and streams. It may have been sexual PSYOP to concentrate the Germans, or it may just have been that the women were unable to wash themselves properly wearing underwear. USSR
According to Hitler's Arctic War: The German Campaigns in Norway, Finland, and the USSR 1940-1945, Chris Mann and Christer Joergensen, St. Martins Press, N.Y., 2003, something similar occurred along the Finnish-Russian front. Allegedly the Russians had some of their female soldiers bathe in streams in front of the Finnish lines. When the Finnish troops in the trenches stood up to get a better view, they were shot. The Finns then resorted to building covers and blinds and using trench periscopes to identify the location of the Soviet snipers and had their own snipers eliminate them.
We actually have a similar story from the battle of Okinawa found in the diary of an Army engineer. He says that on 26 July 1945, two women emerged from a Japanese cave stark naked and beckoned to one of the patrols. The soldiers were seasoned fighters who had seen numerous ambushes and traps and immediately opened fire killing both women. As they fell to the ground both had hand grenades hidden beneath their armpits.
A Vietnam case is found in U.S. Combat Intelligence Lessons 1968-1971. This is like a “Lessons Learned” series of papers keeping the men updated. In entry was titled, “Watch out for skinny-dippers.”
A recent investigation into the circumstances surrounding two U.S. personnel missing in action and one killed in action revealed that at least one of the three had observed three girls swimming in the nude prior to his disappearance. The investigation concluded that the women had probably been used as lures to entice personnel into the hands of the Viet Cong. So, remind you men that while women are the most beautiful of the species, they can also be the deadliest. Watch out for skinny-dippers!
A different sort of story is told by the Vietnamese coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War. Both Vietnamese and Chinese women helped carry the supplies and often had to pass through deep streams or rivers. Vietnamese men have proudly told me that their women would cross fully dressed and get their clothes soaked, while the Chinese women would strip naked to keep their clothes dry. The Vietnamese believed that showed the superior modesty of their women.
In one case, the sexual propaganda backfired. A German soldier told of finding a very insulting Russian sexual leaflet on the Eastern Front in 1941 that discussed how German women were stretching their vaginas with all the sex they had while their men were at the front. The soldier took personal offense at the insult to his wife and German women in general, and said that afterwards, no pardon was given to any Russian soldier that he came across.
Three interesting stories come out of
. The first claims that when the French were surrounded while fighting the Viet Minh, they would send a soldier out each night to the local stream to fetch water. Allegedly, the guerrillas would let the French succeed three or four nights in a row and even have sex with local girls at the stream, but about every fourth or fifth Frenchman would have his throat cut. According to the myth, the French were horny enough to play the odds each night. That story sounds more anti-French than pro-sex. Vietnam
A Vietnam vet told me this story. What would a lonely GI do for sex in Vietnam? Just about anything. Here, one is sent back for a few days or rest and relaxation and decides to find some fun in town. To me, the scariest part of this story is the walk through the tunnel. All I would be thinking is that this is a Viet Cong hiding place. He said:
They took my gun and helmet and said to relax and have fun but don’t leave the compound! I met a grunt that had been in the jungle for six months and not been with a girl during that time, we became friends and decided a little fun wouldn’t hurt. We snuck out in the back of a laundry truck and headed to a village called Dog Patch. We met a couple cute girls that had a store front that were selling clothes. We made our deal to spend the night for $13. We came back at dark, and a little boy ran up to us and said the MPs were looking for us. The girls said, “come with us” we went to their hootch and pulled a bed aside and pulled open a hatch door and we climbed down into a tunnel. One of the girls led us thru the tunnel. We walked in the tunnel for about a half hour when we finally came up thru a trap door in a closet. The girls said the coast was clear and we went into their store, where two beds were waiting, we took off our clothes and were ready for action, when the MPs busted down the door and I had a cocked 45 caliber pistol pushed against my face. They took us to the brig and then returned us to the R&R center and sent us back to our bases in the bush the next day. The 1st Sergeant called me in, with the paperwork in his hand. With a smirk on his face, he asked me if I “got a little.” I lied and told him I did. He just smiled and sad “Good, now get back to work!”
The best and most horrible story from the soldiers standpoint is the myth about Vietnamese women that would fight for their cause by placing razor blades in their vagina. They would entice service members for sex with the expected result. That story makes you shiver just thinking about it, but it probably did a lot to discourage fraternization between American troops and Vietnamese women. Although I would have bet my life that it was a hoax, I have found one veteran who claims that it happened to a man in his unit. He told me that he was with the 3rd squadron of the 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division, during the summer of 1968.
We were posting road security for a convoy during daylight hours. We would space our vehicles out on either side off of the road and erect a cover out of a poncho liner and bamboo poles so we could sit in the shade. One of our troopers went over to the wood line with a boom-boom girl. When he entered her his dick got split wide open. He grabbed his dick worrying that he was going to bleed to death and the girl just got up and walked off back into the tree line. He got medevaced out, and he got an article 15 on top of it all. He was out of action for maybe a month. We still give him shit about it when he attends reunions.
I should point out that this idea of emasculating a rapist did not start in
. Back in the days of the British Navy and their sailing ships there was a little ditty that went: Vietnam
The cabin boy, the cabin boy,
that naughty little nipper.
He lined his ass with shards of glass,
and circumcised the skipper.
Then from just about every war there is the story of the terrible sexual disease that cannot be cured. It started in WWII, carried on in Korea and probably hit its apex in
. The poor soldier with the incurable disease could not be sent home to infect his wife or girl friend so was always sent to some secret location to die. In WWII it was alleged to be Vietnam Greenland. During the Korean War it was an island off the peninsula. In Vietnamit was the mysterious Islandof the Black Syph. The island was known as Poulo Condore to the French and, in Vietnamese, . There are people today that still believe this story. Con Son Island
Another story that is true is that in general when a soldier was deployed to a foreign country his first trip to a whore house was free. Like a drug pusher giving a prospective customer a little taste to get him hooked, the local girls would always be very generous to a new Cherry man. Of course, some wise guys went from whore house to whore house for months claiming to be cherry until they ran out naive girls or luck.
Fakes and Counterfeit
Sex Leaflets Vietnam
Fake Reward Card
Fake Sex Leaflets
Readers should be aware that many counterfeit Viet Cong sex leaflets have been offered for sale. If you look at the genuine leaflets made by the enemy, you will notice that they are on crude paper, often just typewritten, and seldom in color. No credible intelligence source that I know of has ever seen a
sex leaflet. The counterfeits, such as those shown above, are usually on modern paper or cardboard, better printed, and often in multiple colors. EBay abounds in fakes. Perhaps as many as 90% of the alleged Viet Cong leaflets offered for auction are modern reproductions or fantasies. Leaflets that should be crude and discolored are printed in full color on high quality pristine paper or cardboard. These can be identified as frauds because the color and quality of the leaflet is far beyond anything that the National Liberation Front or Viet Cong could produce 40 years ago. Curiously, all of the frauds are in mint condition, and many that feature nude women in full color and mint condition are obviously made to entice veterans to buy the fraudulent leaflet as a souvenir of their service. A Vietnam leaflet should only be purchased from an individual who either brought it back himself, or is able to identify and vouch for the person who did so. Vietnam
I did some research on where this junk was coming from. Thousands of such fake leaflets and posters are regularly offered on auction sites and the average soldier stationed in Vietnam might see just one or two enemy leaflets in a one-year tour if he was lucky. They are very rare. A single genuine Viet Cong leaflet is worth about $20 and up, but the fakes are listed at $5 each, and often can be bought in sets of 100, 250 or 500. The original source claimed that he had over 10,000 Viet Cong leaflets in ten boxes acquired from a sergeant attached to MACV-SOG who simply smuggled them out of Vietnam after the war. I have never met a single veteran who saw one of these in Vietnam, but they are still being offered on the auction sites every day. Buyer beware!
A New Variety of Fake Viet Cong Pornography
After years of seeing the same old fake postwar pornographic Viet Cong leaflets and posters, in late 2022, a new and perhaps more colorful and artful photographic poster appeared on the market priced at about $10 each. These were more graphic and used a more modern type of photography. Some were masochistic and some almost comic in their crudity. The poster above is in full color and shows a beautiful nude woman lying on a bed with the text:
Hey American - Why fight and die - Choose to live.
Other posters in this same series depict a naked blonde with what might be a devil’s tail, a standing woman it a see-through negligee, a mistress with a whip, and a woman with oversized enormous breasts. The text on the posters is:
Hey GI, why leave your girl to fight us?
Hey GI, why leave your girl to fight us?
Do you miss your woman?
Hey GI, why leave your girl to fight us?
Cold War Sexual PSYOP
Although this Communist North Korean leaflet was advertised as Korean War propaganda, I do not believe that it is. The texture and style of drawing indicates that it is a postwar divide and conquer leaflet of the type fired and ballooned over the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on a daily basis during the Cold War of the 1960s.
The leaflet numbered 4044 depicts a hairy American military policeman tightening his belt with his fly still open. I find it interesting that he wears two watches. I wonder if the Communists are implying that the Americans are also thieves as well as rapists. Beside the soldier, an unconscious bare-breasted Korean woman is on the ground with her hands tied to a stake. The Korean-language text is:
Your wives, sisters, and even mothers, are being raped by the Americans. How can you tolerate these atrocities? Americans are the enemy of
. Would you fight for Americans after seeing a rape like this? Pick up your rifles and kill the evil American devils. Korea
This North Korean poster implies that American soldiers have molested or sexually assaulted South Korean women. It attempts to build a feeling or hatred among the South Korean people toward the Americans and their military. The poster depicts the shadow of an ominous American soldier near a fearful Korean woman with her clothes ripped and torn. The text in both English and Korean is:
We prosecute the nefarious barbarism committed upon the South Korean women by the
The use of the word prosecute is strange. I would have expected protest. Perhaps the poster is attempting to appear to be from the south and demanding prosecution of Americans that commit criminal acts in
. South Korea
During the lengthy "Cold War" fought between the United States and the Republic of Korea against the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, both sides regularly used leaflets. In 1981, American propagandists sent a leaflet to the north that showed pretty girls in bathing suits posing in a beauty contest. The title of the leaflet was "Happy New Year." The back was a calendar for the year 1981. This leaflet surely infuriated the "Puritanical" North Koreans.
Although the official story is that no sexual leaflets were ever sent North, in 2010 I spoke to a Major assigned to Korea who had visited some Korean troops and told me that they showed him a scrapbook of products that had been sent north by balloon during the Cold War. He said:
They seemed to know their audience well. They were trying to communicate to unmarried men in their twenties. They printed and disseminated a few leaflets that displayed full frontal nudity. The North Korean society is rather prudish, so it may have not had the desired effect on all the finders. However, men do have raging hormones and that kind of forbidden pleasure might just add some strength to the message on the leaflet. Other leaflets had pictures of families sitting around tables covered with food and of all things, pictures of gridlocked traffic in Seoul.
German Democratic Republic - Cold War
The DDR and the (West)
produced thousands of different leaflets which they sent to each other by balloon, small rocket, mail, and sometimes wind velocity all through the Cold War. They rarely used sexual images to strengthen their propaganda message. However, in the case of the leaflet above, a naked man and bare-breasted woman in gas mask are depicted. The fact that they are naked is simply a "gimmick" to catch the attention of the reader, since the message is entirely about pollution and the environment. Even that message is false, since the real agenda of the propagandists is for the German Federal Republic to stop spending money on armaments, something that would make it very vulnerable to the Communist East Germans and their Russian occupiers. The title and text on the front of the leaflet are: Federal Republic
Back to the Stone Age?
Cities under a dust cover. Rivers and lakes contaminated, food stuffs poisoned by DDT - an environmental catastrophe is approaching. What do you intend to do about it.
The back is a long 6-paragraph text. It says in part:
A miserly 0.01 billion marks are spent yearly on environmental research...
We can live safely and in peace if spending on military armament is cut and if the
will work constructively on a European peace arrangement. This is the best environmental protection! Federal Republic
America's Use of Sex on their Own Soldiers
Marilyn Monroe Training Leaflet
Army war game training leaflet depicts the flag of the mythical state of Ridgeland and the text: U.S.
GUARANTEE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The American soldier who presents this certificate will be removed from the battle zone, fed, given medical attention and repatriated.
General of the Army
Ridgelands Peoples Army
The Military Governor
What is particularly interesting about this leaflet is that the back depicts the famous 27 May 1949 Tom Kelley photograph of Marilyn
that would become the first centerfold of the very first issue of Playboy magazine in December 1953. The magazine sold over 54,000 copies, an amazing number for a new magazine with no advance publicity. Hugh Hefner did not date the magazine because he was uncertain there would be a second issue. He didn't know the magazine would become an icon of Monroe 's cultural history. America
This is what your life can be like
In training exercises where PSYOP specialists get to test and refine their skills, leaflets with a hint of sex occasionally show up. One leaflet that just barely uses a sexual theme is coded Army Ft. McPherson Ga 1277 / 51. It depicts a young man in a swimming pool talking to a pretty girl on a diving board. The text on front is:
This is what your life can be like in an Aggressor Rest Camp. It's up to you.
The back is all text and tells the American troops how to defect to the aggressor side where they will be sent to a "rest camp" to meet young women. One of the more interesting lines of text is:
And dont forget to bring some ready cash. Remember, you can buy beer, cokes, cookies and other snacks at an Aggressor Rest Camp
Good practice for the troops, but not a very effective leaflet.
Tired of your Beachhead Try mine
Sometimes these training leaflets are confused for genuine wartime products. In the case of the sexual leaflet above, the owner described it as a Korean War leaflet. The text, especially the use of the word "aggressors," and with no information on where or how to surrender, clearly shows that it is a training leaflet designed for use in a military wargame.
How long has it been
These uncoded and unidentified training leaflets are part of a group. The leaflet does have an almost hidden Stall 55 on the front, and that could be the name of the PSYOP illustrator and the year of the exercise, or it could be some part of the name of the actual exercise. Researcher and Navy Veteran Tommy Trapp says that it was produced by the 1st Leaflet and Loudspeaker Company and the code is 1st LL-4001 1953. The 1st L&L was in Korea from 1951 to 1954 so we assume even during the Korean War they needed to train new troops by having them design and print training leaflets. The leaflet uses sex as its theme and thus we have placed it here. During training exercises and war game the PSYOP specialists need to practice drawing images, writing text and printing leaflets under a wartime scenario. This leaflet is similar to many German leaflets that used the same theme in WWII. The text on the front is:
How long has it been since youve had a good nights sleep?
Some of the text on the back mentions three weeks in the woods so we can assume that is the length of the exercise. It mentions pine needles too, and that almost makes one think of the Pineland exercises near Ft. Bragg. The text on the back is:
BLUE FORCES SLEEP ON SHEETS EVERY NIGHT
Three weeks in the woods are a long time. Pine needles arent the softest things to sleep with. You could probably sink right into a double bed with silk sheets right now. Sheets would feel pretty good to a tired body too. Theres a big difference between itchy pine needles, bug bites and sweaty clothes; particularly when there are so many pleasures that feel so good.
SURRENDER AND JOIN US
Some of the comments on other leaflets from this same set prove that it is a training leaflet. For instance:
Dont kid yourself its not training. It what youre doing were done the right way it could be handled in one week, not three Of course you are afraid to come over to Coffees general store. Not that it isnt easy enough to buy the cold beer, roast beef sandwiches and ice cream they have at the store but the girls girls like a man who knows his way around.
Vacation on Vieques
Another training leaflet that uses sex as a theme was prepared for use on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. This island was used for naval training for several decades since about 1941 and the eastern end of the island was used for live training exercises, ship-to-shore gunfire, air-to-ground bombing and US Marine amphibious landings. There is a roughly 11,000-acre Eastern Maneuver Area for Marine Corps ground exercises.
Puerto Rican nationalists demanded that the U.S. Navy stop using the island for live firing exercises and the Navy is in the process of totally leaving the island.
The front of the leaflet is coded TID 3- 2 (Tactical Information Detachment 3, leaflet 2?) and depicts two beautiful girls in bathing suits. The text is:
Vacation on Vieques
Beautiful Caribbean isle but
The back of the leaflet is all text and says:
Not for you soldier. Only heat, barracuda, sharks, bad chow, mosquitoes, poison cactus and Aggressor, a first class fighting man. Remember aggressor treats prisoners right!
The U.S. Army has used sexual images in an attempt to educate and train soldiers for many years. One training bulletin, PS The Preventive Maintenance Monthly is an official publication of the Department of the Army, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Back in the 70s and 80s, it regularly depicted sexy girls (one blonde, one black girl) in halter-tops, short-shorts, and other revealing outfits breaking down M16 rifles or pulling the treads on tanks. The training Command apparently believed that the men were more likely to read the booklets if there was some light cheesecake in them. Looking at the same bulletins today, they have become much more politically correct, and all the women are "properly" dressed.
WWII map incentive
The U.S. Army also placed pin-ups on the front of map documents during WWII in an attempt to assure that the person in command of a unit would use the latest available maps. Hans Moonen of the Netherlands has found two such items, one with a girl named Thelma on the front, the second with a girl named Yvonne. They are marked with such comments as, "Prepared & photolithographed by 66th Engr Top CO., US Army - Dec 1944." The sheets have the symbol of the Engineer Corps at the top above the pin-up. Some of the text on the front and back of the documents is:
Check your map edition! Here is the key!
Red figures indicate the latest map editions. The engineers supply maps with contours. Demand the latest edition. You owe it to your troops - see your division or corps engineer.
The "contours" remark is a double entendre. The female obviously has contours, and plenty of them. And, if you have taken a military navigation course you know that there are three kinds of map contours, usually supplementary or broken lines for 5 meters, intermediate or regular lines for 20 meters, and index or dark numbered lines every 100 meters.
The back of the document depicts the latest map series and reminds the commander that any of the several hundred maps listed and marked in red are available in a new edition from the Engineers.
WWII Hostile Shelling Report
Another official document that was often printed in a risqué form was the military shelling report. My old 1973 FM 30-5, Combat Intelligence explains the report.
Information on enemy bombing, shelling, or mortaring activity is initially disseminated by means of a BOMBREP, SHELREP, or MORTREP, as appropriate. Submission is the responsibility of the affected unit.
The form required the unit to list the time and type of attack, the number of shells, the size and type of the armaments, direction, the damage, and other technical information. The information on enemy fire and its origin is useful to Intelligence and used by friendly artillery batteries for counter-fire. The form above is dated 1945. It was found by the Dutch collector Hans Moonen.
Shelling Report WWII Pacific
This sexy shelling report features an artistic picture labeled Tokyo Rose, drawn by artist Milton King in May 1945. The back of the report has 12 lines to record the required information.
Korean War Shelling Report
During the Korean War, some troops were less than conscientious about filling out their shelling reports. In order to get units to carry and use the SHELREP, a form was prepared (8038 ETD-6000 - 17 August 1950) that depicted a naked girl at the top right and the text at her left, "Save me. Carry me with you. Use me. I may save you when you fill out my form. Send me back for a new one." It is impossible to say if field units used the form, but there is no doubt that many of the GIs carried and saved them.
Another training aid that used naked and semi-naked women to teach a skill to military personnel was the Celestial Navigation Trainer. This was a booklet published by Link Aviation to help pilots identify the stars as they flew on bombing missions. Each page depicted a female body with the stars in a specific pattern across her breasts, waist or groin. It was apparently believed that the navigators would look at these pictures in depth and memorize the pattern of the stars. I am sure that the stars were studied in detail.
During the Vietnam War, cigarette lighters, and especially Zippo lighters became a major item for the troops to carry. Some had unit insignia, some had proverbs, some showed weapons, and some threatened death to the Viet Cong, and others had just about every theme imaginable. Today, those lighters are a major collectible item and can be found in museums and on auction sites. In April 2018, Combat, a Japanese military magazine that I occasionally write for published a 9-page article featuring no less than 35 Vietnam War lighters. The lighter above bears a sexual theme and the title of a poem which allegedly is:
Two little dickey birds,
Sitting on a wall.
One named Peter,
One named Paul.
Fly away Peter,
Fly away Paul.
Come back Peter,
Come back Paul.
So, what is a good way to end an article on Sex and PSYOP? How about a nice beauty pageant with girls in bathing suits and the theme of PSYWAR? In the old days they called military propaganda psychological warfare because it was used in time of war. Once the Army figured out that it was also used to keep the peace and do humanitarian service the term was changed to psychological operations. We dont know much about the background of this contest, only that it took place in Washington State in the 1940s during WWII, and that it featured young women in swimsuits and a propaganda loudspeakers.
Using sexual themes in an attempt to demoralize the enemy does not work. Instead of becoming emotionally crippled and unable to carry out their duties, "pin-up" pictures become collectors items and often have the effect of raising morale.
Does that mean we will no longer see sex in psychological operation? It is doubtful that American forces will use them. In one of the older military manuals, FM 33-5, Psychological Operations Techniques and Procedures there was a section on theme taboos. One of the taboos is female figures not fully dressed* or references thereto; sexual stimulation except nostalgia induced within the confines of good taste; pornography. It would appear that such vignettes are banned until we read the footnote. It is, A waiver of the proscription against techniques, symbols, representations of themes listed above, if marked with an asterisk, may be sought with appropriate justification . The United States does not want or support pornography in PSYOP, but is willing to bend the rules under certain circumstances.
Vehicle pinup Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. Marine on an LVT heading for Tarawa Atoll checks his lucky Vargas pin-up
(Colorized by Paul Reynolds)
There is a good chance this 2nd Marine Division member was dead shortly afterwards. Tarawa was a disaster for the Marines, the tide was low, and the coral was high. Many Marines drowned trying to walk ashore. The 4,500 Japanese defenders were well-supplied and well-prepared, and they fought almost to the last man, exacting a heavy toll on the United States Marine Corps. The 2nd Marine Division suffered 894 killed in action. The fact that this Marine about to face death had time to look at his pin-up shows the power of such pictures among fighting men.
At the same time, many third world countries have the opinion that the United States is a country of decadent, sex-obsessed infidels, opinions reinforced by photos as shown above. To disseminate such leaflets would only reinforce this opinion. There may be more sex in future U.S. leaflets, but if so, it will certainly be a black operation with deniability by our government officials.
Readers with questions or comments on the above article are encouraged to contact the author at email@example.com.