Leaflets Rain Down on Germany Not Bombs

During the first few days of the war the RAF executed the most finely conceived pamphlet raids over Germany.  Night after night in the first week reconnaissance flights flew over Northern Germany, including the vitally important Ruhr district and dropped in the first three raids alone over 12,000,000 copies of a note to the German people.

Germany would have been blacked out and the planes would cross the sea, climb high to avoid the beams of the search lights and the sky would be lit up by the anti-aircraft machine guns as intense activity took place below in fear and apprehension of what was coming.  Then down from the sky fell leaflets instead of bombs. Most of them would have been picked up in the morning by people going to work, but the message wasn’t to spread fear or hatred, but reasoning and common sense to make the German people think what they were being dragged into, again!

The First Leaflets Said the following:

Warning: A Message From Great Britain
German Men and Women: The Government of the Reich have, with cold deliberation, forced war upon Great Britain.  They have done so knowing that it must involve mankind in a calamity worse than that of 1914.  The assurances of peaceful intentions the Führer gave to you and to the world in April have proved worthless as his word at the Sportpalast last September,  said: “We have no more territorial claims to make in Europe.”  Never has government ordered subjects to their death with less excuse.  This was is utterly necessary. Germany was in no way threatened or deprived of justice.  Was she not allowed to re-enter the Rhineland, to achieve the Auchlas and to take back the Sudetan Germans in Peace?  Neither we nor any other nation would have sought to limit her advance so long as she did not violate independent non-German peoples.
Every German ambition – just to others – might have been satisfied through friendly negotiation.
President Roosevelt offered you both peace with honour and the prospect of prosperity. Instead, your rulers have condemned you to the massacre, miseries and privation of a war they cannot every hope to win.  It is not us, but you they have deceived.  For years their iron censorship has kept you from truth that even uncivilised peoples know.  It has imprisoned your minds in, as it were, a concentration camp.  Otherwise they would not have dared to misrepresent the combination of peaceful peoples to secure peace as hostile encirclement.  We have no enmity against you the German people.  This censorship has also concealed from you that you have not the means to sustain protracted warfare. Despite crushing taxation, you are on the verge of bankruptcy our resources and those of our allies, in men, arms and supplies are immense.  We are too strong to break by blows and we could wear you down inexorably.  You the German people, can, if you will, insist on peace at any time.  We also desire peace and are prepared to conclude it with any peace-loving government in Germany.

The Third Leaflet Said:

WARNING! England to the German People
The Nazi regime has, in spite of the endeavours of the leading great Powers, plunged the world into war. This war is a crime. The German people must quite clearly distinguish between the pretexts employed by it’s government so as to unleash war and the principles which have forced England and France to defend Poland. From the very beginning the English government has made it clear that the Polish question is not one which can justify a European war with all it’s tragic consequences. Five months after the Munich Agreement the independence of Czechoslovakia was brutally trodden underfoot. So that Poland shall not also suffer the same fate, we must insist that peaceful method of negotiation shall not be rendered impossible through threats of force and that in the negotiations which are requisite the Poles’ right to live must be guaranteed and honourably kept. We cannot accept or admit a Diktat.
If Herr Hitler believe that the English government, our of fear of the war, will allow the Poles to be left in the lurch, then he has been deceiving himself. In the first place England will not break her pledged word. Furthermore, it is high time that the brutal force with which the Nazi regime strives to dominate the World should be halted. Through this war the German Chancellor places himself against the unbending resolution of the English government, a resolution which has behind it not only the resources and means of the whole English Commonwealth, but also a union of other great powers. It is the question of the salvation of human freedom and the right of free peoples to live free. Up to the very last moment the Pope, the President of the United States, and the King of the Belgians, in the name of the Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, made fruitless appeals to your Nazi government, urgently requesting that negotiations should be chosen in the place of war. Now a catastrophe has broken out upon you in that the Reich finds itself isolated from the community of civilised peoples without any support save that of communist Russia. You cannot win this war. Against you are arrayed resources and materials far greater than your own. For years you have been subjected to the most stringent censorship, and by means of an incredible system of secret police and informers the truth has been withheld from you. Against you stands the united strength of the free peoples, who with open eyes will fight for freedom to the last. This war is as repulsive to us as it is to you, but do not forget that England, once forced into war, will wage it unwaveringly to the end. England’s nerves are strong, her resources inexhaustible. We will not relent.

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One Response to Leaflets Rain Down on Germany Not Bombs

  1. Pingback: War Diary 4th Sept – 10th Sept 1939 | WW2 Memories

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