The PsyWar Society
October 23, 2013 3:31 PM   Subscribe

The PsyWar Society: An International Association Of Psychological Warfare Historians and Aerial Propaganda Leaflet Collectors.
The History Of Air-Dropped Leaflet Propaganda. A timeline of leaflet operations

The journal of the PsyWar Society is The Falling Leaf, with pieces like The First Leaflet Of The First World War
The commander went on to explain that the object of the flight was to influence the morale of the civilian population to a downward trend and to do this it was proposed to make it a bombing raid. But the bombs would weigh only 5lb. each and the attack would be but a nuisance value. Small bombs were to be used not for their power of damage but for the exceedingly loud noise they made for their size. There was always the prospect, the commanding officer said hopefully, that the population might even be so scared as to declare their city 'open'. The pilot singled out for this operation asked, "Where is this place I am to bomb?". "Paris" was the unsmiling answer.
and Red Circle
Delmer's propaganda team produced many leaflets and other kinds of literature signed solely with a red circle. These were sent to the German soldiers and civilians by three main media. Firstly, by infiltration into Germany itself where the items could be posted to individuals or left lying about by agents. Secondly, by disseminating literature from RAF planes who were on normal bombing missions and thirdly, for use against German soldiers in occupied countries by stuffing them in parachute containers as packing for the weapons and ammunition, etc., which were dropped to Resistance groups
posted by the man of twists and turns (5 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
In 1806 Captain Thomas Cochrane (later Rear Admiral and Lord) of the British Royal Navy constructed kites to transport proclamations from his ships into France.

If the name's unfamiliar, it shouldn't be. Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, 1st Marquess of Maranhão had a career that made Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey look utter pikers.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:41 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I just love this stuff.

See also Herbert Friedman's great PsyWarrior site, especially the section on Unusual Propaganda Themes.

I did a radio piece [MP3] with SGM Friedman on the "Wandering Soul" tapes, one particularly chilling piece of PsyOp used in the Vietnam conflict.

Of course, we're still doing stuff like this today. Here [MP3] is some audio of a modern psyop announcement broadcast over Libya from a mobile transmitter in March 2011.
posted by mykescipark at 3:45 PM on October 23, 2013

Loved this stuff since I found a coffee table book containing this at age 10: Verdunkeln!
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:52 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Commando Solo.
posted by timsteil at 5:44 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I went looking for my favorite psywar story, which regarded Paul M.A. Linebarger (who wrote science fiction under the pen name Cordwainer Smtih).

I found this link describing the re-printing of his book Psychological Warfare on a website maintained by Linebarger's daughter Rosana.

She does reference the very story I was thinking of — but also mentions that it is not in Psychological Warfare, but comes from The Best of Cordwainer Smith edited by J.J. Pierce:
While in Korea, Linebarger masterminded the surrender of thousands of Chinese troops who considered it shameful to give up their arms. He drafted leaflets explaining how the soldiers could surrender by shouting the Chinese words for 'love,' 'duty,' 'humanity,' and 'virtue'--words that happened, when pronounced in that order, to sound like 'I surrender' in English. He considered this act to be the single most worthwhile thing he had done in his life.
posted by rochrobbb at 7:00 AM on October 24, 2013

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