During the Second World War, both the Allied and Axis governments expended significant resources in the production and dissemination of propoganda. Directed at their own people, the propoganda of these governments fostered correct thinking, feelings, attitudes, and behaviours. Directed at military personnel of enemy nations as part of psychological warfare operations, this propoganda was far more subversive. Its goal was to undermine the efficiency and coherence of enemy forces and, ultimately, to weaken their will to fight. Among the different media harnessed to achieve this end, aerial leaflets hold a unique place in the history of psychological warfare operations. Their efficacy was debated during and after the war yet these leaflets were disseminated in the millions and collected by soldiers of both sides. It is for this reason, among others, that although inherently ephemeral, Second World War leaflets have been preserved in archival collections, including the Goerge Metcalf rchives of the Canadian War Museum. In the following pages, we will highlight 12 leaflets from this collection, six produced by the Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditioanry Force (PWD) and six by the SS Standarte Kurt Eggers of the German Waffen SS (SKE), all of which encourage enemy combatants to surrender. But what arguments did the psychological warriors of the opposing sides think would convince their target audiences to take this step? What inducements did they offer? What justifications did they provide? And in what ways were the leaflets produced by the opposing sides different or the same?
Lloydlangston, Amber and Lo, Tracy "“The POW Will Safely Return!”: Second World War Allied and German Propoganda." Canadian Military History 17, 3 (2008)