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uring World War II, the Allied troops organized the operation “Corn Flakes”, which involved the insertion of anti-Nazi propaganda material in the German postal service. On January 5, 1945, when German troops were trying to withstand the assaults of Allied troops, a train carrying goods for the Reich Post Office was attacked by air. The train was derailed, so letters and other documents were scattered. The second wave of planes dropped hundreds of letters at the scene of the incident. These letters carried an Anti-Nazi propaganda stamp in the form of Hitler depicted as death as well as, instead of “Deutsches Reich” (German Empire). On the stamps, you could read “Futsches Reich” (Ruined Empire).

Anti-Nazi Propaganda Stamp (Hitler depicted as death) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The operation “Corn Flakes” was conceived by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, a predecessor of the CIA). Each plane dropped bags with 300 letters containing propaganda, destined to reach the families of German soldiers killed on the front, according to the Daily Mail. Cleaning up after the attack, workers at the German Post Office recovered the contents of the derailed train as well as the propaganda introduced by the Allies. A psychological attack, operation “Corn Flakes” received its name from the fact that the mail was delivered for breakfast.

Office of Strategic Services insignia (Source: OSS)

The OSS had attempted to introduce propaganda on enemy-occupied territories in many ways such as dropping leaflets into cities in Germany, Austria and Italy, but because of the strong wind, rain or Nazi services, many did not reach the German citizens.

Members of the OSS across Europe prepared propaganda letters and false stamps which were printed in England, Switzerland and Rome. A group dealt with envelopes bearing more than two million names and addresses of the Germans who had died.

German Postal sacks in which mail was carried (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Another propaganda material made by OSS was newspapers, Das Neue Deutschland, as well as letters ‘sent’ by “Verein Einsamer Kriegerfrauen” (the association of single war widows) to German soldiers suggesting that their wives and girlfriends had sexual intercourse while they were on the front. During operation “Corn Flakes” more than 320 bags that contained around 96,000 pieces of propaganda material were introduced into Germany, according to Daily Mail. After the war ended, fake stamps, envelopes, and letters became sought after by collectors.

The intent of the propaganda was to make German citizens and troops realize the truth about their beloved Reich and have them surrender so that no more lives were lost in what was, at this point, a futile war as Germany was about to be surrounded by Allied troops. At the same time, in the months to come, most men that were German citizens, no matter the age (including even children of 12 years of age), would be forced by SS officers to fight against the allied troops.

This is one of the most interesting attempts to infiltrate propaganda behind enemy lines.

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