Sunday, 15 April 1945

"Paper War" over Berlin

Throughout the war the dropping of leaflets over "enemy territory" was an important part of psychological warfare. In the last weeks of the war, the Allied forces dropped thousands of leaflets over the Berlin city area. In these leaflets, they call on German soldiers to surrender or defect and urge the civilian population to stop work, seek protection and offer resistance.

Described as "enemy propaganda", the possession and above all the passing on of such leaflets is strictly forbidden and can be punished with prison or death.

The leaflet dated 15 April 1945 was owned by the former Polish forced labourer Józef Przedpełski. Przedpełski is deported to Berlin in September 1944 with his pregnant wife Anna from Łódź. There they both have to work in the Reichsbahn repair works in Schönweide (Adlergestell 153-43): "These leaflets were dropped from planes over Berlin," Przedpełski reports in a letter. "They were intended to break the spirit of resistance of the German soldiers, and on that occasion encouraged the 'Ostarbeiter'."

Shortly before the end of the war, Allied planes also drop leaflets aimed directly at prisoners of war and civilian forced laborers. With slogans such as "Foreign workers: discipline accelerates the return home" or "Keep order and discipline", the aim is to prevent chaos, looting and violence by liberated forced laborers.