JF Ptak Science Books Post 2602
During WWII the Allied forces engaged in extraordinary subversive and hearts-and-minds psychological warfare against the Axis military machine and its population. The mechanics of the effort undertaken by the OSS and other agencies is long and complex (and potentially confusing) and too much for getting into right here, though I did want to address one example of their work. This comes in an archive that I have here (formerly part of the "Pamphlet Collection" at the Library of Congress) and is a single-sheet newspaper leaflet printed to be dropped from planes on the enemy lines. Nachrichten aus der Heimat ("News from Home") was made to resemble, well, news from Germany that just wasn't being disseminated, like the report of Berlin under attack) and other unflattering military news that was intended to weaken the will of the soldier to fight and the civilian to support Hitler's regime. This issue, dated 17 April 1945, also carries a short notice regarding the Buchenwald concentration camp ("Kz", Konzentrationslager, one of 1000+ that were built from 1933-1945 by the Nazis) that comes six days after its liberation. Beginning in early April 1945 the camp (along with many others) was partially evacuated in an attempt to cover up the activities there, the result being many thousands of deaths due to prolonged marches and executions. On the morning of 11 April there was a revolt by some of the remaining prisoners--as stated in the published note below--who were able to seize control of the camp; elements of the 3rd Army 6th Armored arrived at the camp and liberated it later that afternoon. There were still 23,000 people at Buchenwald at that time, and the condition of the prisoners and the camp were appalling.That part however was left out of the Nachrichten report--only the revolt part of the liberation is mentioned, while the nature of the camp and its "political prisoners" was left unspoken. Why this is the case I do not know--perhaps the forces at work in crafting the propaganda thought it not-expedient to mention the horrors for teh consumption of the German soldier thinking that might play against a willing to surrender/cooperate. The story of the liberation of the camp was the main thrust of the intelligence, showing another part of the Reich collapsing and failing. The Holocaust would have to wait.
All that said the rest of the world would find out about Buchenwald right away. Edward R, Murrow was the first reporter there on the 12th, and on the 15th he reported on the radio exactly what he saw there--it is a very powerful piece of reporting. Murrow actually moves to the first person viewpoint to do most of the report--something that "the reporter" certainly would not do.
- For text of the Murrow report see: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/murrow.html and another http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Buchenwald/Liberation3.html ("If I have offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I'm not in the least sorry....")
- Murrow's radio broadcast can be heard here: https://youtu.be/1o-CUOiKCCg
A few days later Eisenhower and Patton and a host of others toured the Ohrdruf concentration camp (a sub-camp of Buchenwald)--their visit was graphically reported by the Illustrated London News on teh 28th of April--you can see the story here: http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2008/09/eisenhower-at-t.html
This one piece is part of a 164-item propaganda leaflet collection that my bookstore is selling--here's a link to the full collection:http://longstreet.typepad.com/books/2016/04/wwii-psychological-operations-leaflets-and-related-materials-january-april-1945.html