World War II propaganda collection, 1939-1945

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The collection includes pro-Allied, anti-Allied, pro-Axis, and anti-Axis propaganda leaflets and broadsides that were distributed in Europe and the Pacific war zones with the aim of damaging enemy morale and sustaining the morale of the occupied countries. Also includes a set of Special Service I.B.S. posters warning soldiers against venereal disease.
0.5 Linear Feet
400 items
Materials in English, German, Japanese, French, Tok Pisin, Russian, Finnish, Burmese
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The collection includes pro-Allied, pro-Axis, and anti-Allie and anti-Axis propaganda in the form of flyers, broadsides, and leaflets that were distributed or dropped in the United States, England, Germany, occupied France, and the Pacific arena from 1939 and 1945. The majority of the leaflets are in German and were dropped by the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) over Germany. There is also a significant run of anti-Semitic, anti-Bolshevik, pro-German broadsides published by Theodor Kasse and the Deutscher Fichte-Bund of Hamburg, Germany, in English and intended for Allied audiences. The collection also contains propaganda leaflets from the Psychological Warfare Branch, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific Area, APO 500, most of which are in Japanese (most with English translations), some of them in Tok Pisin. There are also leaflets from the French exile government dropped over occupied France (in French, most accompanied by English translations); some propaganda newsletters, magazines and newspapers from France and the Netherlands (in English translation); German propaganda in English intended for dropping over Great Britain; some examples of Japanese propaganda (in Japanese); and a few single leaflets in Finnish, Russian, and Burmese. One notable portion of the collection is a set of broadsides illustrated by Pvt. Franklyn, printed by Special Service I.B.S., targeting American soldiers and warning them against loose women who may be infected with venereal disease. These posters often include the campaign's catchphrase, "Leave 'Em Alone! Don't be a Dope with a Dose."

Biographical / historical:

During World War II, the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) was a British clandestine body created to produce and disseminate both pro-Allied and anti-Axis propaganda, with the aim of damaging enemy morale and sustaining the morale of the occupied countries.

The Psychological Warfare Division was a joint effort between the United States and Great Britain, and conducted similar operations during and following D-Day, 1944.

Acquisition information:

Purchase, 2007 (2008-0161), 0.1 lin. ft.

Gift, 2008 (2008-0316), 0.1 lin. ft.

Purchase, 2015 (2015-0161), 0.1 lin. ft.

Purchase, 2016 (2016-0257), 0.1 lin. ft.

Portions of this collection were acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture and the History of Medicine Collections (Duke University). Other portions of this collection were acquired as a transfer from the Perkins Library collection.

Processing information:

Processed by Sandra Niethardt and Meghan Lyon, October 2015

Encoded by: Meghan Lyon, October 2015

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2008-0161, 2008-0316, 2015-0161, 2016-0257.

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], in the World War II Propaganda Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.