Jump to content

Most unusual document dropped on the Maginot line 1939!


Recommended Posts

Dear Forum I have recently acquired a ww2 medal group to a British Officer who served in the ranks with the BEF 1939 evacuated at Dunkirk. Commissioned he was awarded the TEM named to him as a Lieutenant, however amongst his documents and papers I came across this?

DSC_0288_zpsri3olunm.jpg

It turns out this "Autumnal leaf" was dropped on the French troops manning the Maginot Line by the Luftwaffe just before the invasion of France, during the so called "Phoney War" period. It is recognised as the very first of these so called "Leaf Leaflets" and the practice was taken up by the allies and they are found being used in all theatres of WW2.

see: http://www.psywarrior.com/leafleaflets.html

The message translates into this rather depressing but apparently highly effective message!

AUTUMN

The leaves fall. We fall like them.
The leaves fall because God wills it,
but we fall because the English will it.
In the coming spring,
nobody will remember the dead leaves
any more than the dead soldiers.
Life will pass on over our graves.

The Germans printed 500,000 copies of the maple leaflet, and the Luftwaffe dropped them over the French lines in late November to December 1939. The back is blank.

The code, if any, is unknown. The Falling Leaf, Volume 2, No. 6, adds, "Some propaganda experts have considered this the most effective single propaganda leaflet ever dropped." Margolen says in Paper Bullets, "This Nazi leaflet was one of the most effective leaflets ever dropped and did more to break France's will to resist Germany than any other single piece of propaganda."

I wonder how many of these survive? I would imagine a fairly scarce item and a superb example of the effectiveness of pyschological warfare!

Regards

Paul

KINGSMAN64

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interesting and very clever verse, I would not have thought many would have survived if only 1/2 million produced and dropped. I remember 'doing areas' (picking up rubbish) on the Gun position near Kuwait somewhere in the middle of bloody nowhere and there were a lot of similar things that the US syops had dropped on the Iraqies, I kept some of them but have since given most of them away. At the time many of them were already degraded due to blowing around in the desert for only a short time so in Europe with a bit of rain?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Blog Comments

    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
    • "(...) disgusting herbal concoction (...)" I took note of this description, to enrich my otherwise limited, English "Wortschatz"...
    • At work the standard indian tea such as PG tips is referred to as chimp tea. This goes back to the days when we had a Spanish girl working for us whose command of the English language was extremely limited. One lunch she said she was going to the shop could she get anything. I asked if she could get a pack of tea bags. She returned with some disgusting herbal concoction. I tried to explain what was required but without success. I then remembered PG tips had a picture of a chimpanzee on the packe
    • When I read Lapsang Souchong i decided to post something about these Tea . Many years ago I dont  know about Lapsang until I read James Michener book Centennial and the description of the savour of the Lapasang as a mix of tar and salt & smoked made me proof . It was exact ! and i liked it since then .
    • I have been known to drink Lapsang Souchong and Tea, Earl Grey, Hot... both "without pollutants". I normally have one mug of coffee in the morning, then spend the rest of the day drinking Orange & Mango squash (by the pint). Then evening comes and it's a pint, followed by red wine with dinner and sometimes a drop of Laphroaig afterwards.
×
×
  • Create New...