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Persuading the inner schweinhund to take a couple days off from the war
May 3, 2013 4:03 AM   Subscribe

One of the stranger methods used in World War II to undermine nazi morale was to get enemy workers and soldiers to pull a sickie. One way to do this was to simulate tuberculosis, which had its challenges.
Supplying the tuberculosis bacilli, actually substitute bacilli, is not for the weak-stomached. The patient should not wash for a few days, allowing for a cheese-like deposit to form under his foreskin, a small amount must be combined with the mucous in the mouth. This substance to an over-worked doctor can easily be mistaken for tuberculosis bacteria under a microscope. Following these instructions will soon lead to your hospitalisation with very good rations, is the promise.
posted by MartinWisse (13 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Worth it for this sentence alone:

The malingering text was written by PWE’s Canadian, one-eyed, resident psychopathologist Dr. John T. MacCurdy.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:28 AM on May 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Naturally the enemy knows that decent soldiers do not respond to such smart and mean invitations; he is only concerned with the scallywags who are to be found everywhere.

The Nazi war machine, brought to its knees... by scallywags.
posted by pont at 4:35 AM on May 3, 2013


I don't know about the British and all their cloak-and-dagger stuff.

"Unfortunately, the Swedish government no longer recognises its agreement with our government regarding repatriation of deserters, which had been in force hitherto. Making reference to irrational regulations of international law, members of the German Armed Forces who have deserted are now offered right of asylum in Sweden, even if they cross the Swedish border in uniform.

I am confident that this incomprehensible attitude of the Swedish government will not be a temptation for honourable German soldiers to commit the shameful crime of desertion."


Of course as a neutral nation during WW2 Sweden maintained internment camps for foreign soldiers - particularly airmen - who were captured on Swedish soil. In one particularly shameful episode, The Swedes also expatriated "Axis" soldiers to the Soviet Union.

I guess a few scallywags were lured by this deception, but I bet it was hardly worth the effort.
posted by three blind mice at 4:46 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't the nazis be just as likely to kill an enemy/slave worker found to have tuberculosis, rather than shower them with care (as well as vital medicine and food)?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:18 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


These weren't for distributing to people in concentration camps or citizens of occupied countries - these were for "Loyal" Germans who were on the verge of wavering under the Nazi yoke. In fact, that's what makes the bit about a pamphlet designed to help party members shirk duty so delightfully insidious.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:22 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Wouldn't the nazis be just as likely to kill an enemy/slave worker found to have tuberculosis, rather than shower them with care (as well as vital medicine and food)?

I think "enemy" in the FPP refers to the enemy of the Allies (citizens and military of the Axis powers), rather than the Nazi's prisoners.
posted by ardgedee at 5:23 AM on May 3, 2013


Wouldn't the nazis be just as likely to kill an enemy/slave worker found to have tuberculosis, rather than shower them with care (as well as vital medicine and food)?

I think "enemy" in the FPP refers to the enemy of the Allies (citizens and military of the Axis powers), rather than the Nazi's prisoners.


This is aimed at those German citizens who have done things like joined the Nazi Party for personal gain, but are too cowardly or lazy (or secretly oppose it) to support the Nazi cause or the war effort or conscripted soldiers that don't actually want to fight/die. Those people would have expected certain benefits under the Nazi system.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:03 AM on May 3, 2013


How adept are we at propaganda huh? As if they gave up these techniques after the war, just chucked them away. No, they founded the IRD and used it on the proles.
posted by marienbad at 6:38 AM on May 3, 2013


Wait, England has a government group to encourage people to call in sick for work? Here in the states we just call it Friday.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:36 AM on May 3, 2013


You'd literally have to be a smeghead to put that in your mouth, wouldn't you?
posted by ambrosen at 7:56 AM on May 3, 2013


Malingering Psyops were common in WWII.

Here's a personal favorite of mine, from a Japanese pamphlet targeted at the Allies, entitled IT IS DANGEROUS TO READ THE FOLLOWING:
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:40 AM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's a personal favorite of mine, from a Japanese pamphlet targeted at the Allies, entitled IT IS DANGEROUS TO READ THE FOLLOWING:

Metafilter: Don't think the reverse of evreything you chance to hear. Or it will easily become habitual with you and develop into regular symptoms of neurosis.
posted by dubold at 9:06 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a personal favorite of mine, from a Japanese pamphlet targeted at the Allies, entitled IT IS DANGEROUS TO READ THE FOLLOWING:

Holy crap, that's like the propaganda version of "You are now breathing manually".
posted by neckro23 at 9:02 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


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