World War I, Propaganda Leaflets

Propaganda Leaflets

Following are examples of leaflets dropped over enemy lines from planes and balloons:

I. Fliegerabwurf-Schriften
II. Leaflet Air Post No. 12
III. Secret Summary of Intelligence, A.E.F.
IV. Fliegerabwurf-Schriften.

(French Propaganda Leaflet
-- said to have come from German soldiers in French prison camps:

Pass this along!

German War Comrades!

Think about this:

1. Only greedy rulers want war. The people want peace, and work, and bread.

2. Only the German Kaiser with his militarists, Junkers, and arms manufacturers wanted war, prepared for it and brought it on. No one wanted to fight Germany, no one opposed her desires for a "place in the sun."

3. If a murderer shoots a revolver on the street, it is the duty of every peace-loving, dutiful citizen to hurry to the aid of the fallen. For that reason Italy, Rumania, and the United States went to war against Germany; to free Belgium, Serbia, and France from the clutches of the murderer....

10. Stop fighting! Turn your cannons around! Come over to us. Shoot anyone who wants to hinder you from coming.


British leaflet dropped into German trenches by balloon:


They tell you that you are fighting for the Fatherland. Have you ever thought why you are fighting?

You are fighting to glorify Hindenburg, to enrich Krupp. You are struggling for the Kaiser, the Junkers, and the militarists....

They promise you victory and peace. You poor fools! It was promised your comrades for more than three years. They have indeed found peace, deep in the grave, but victory did not come! . . .

It is for the Fatherland.... But what is your Fatherland? Is it the Crown Prince who offered up 600,000 men at Verdun? Is it Hindenburg, who with Ludendorff is many kilometers behind the front lines making more plans to give the English more cannon fodder? Is it Krupp for whom each year of war means millions of marks? Is it the Prussian Junkers who still cry over your dead bodies for more annexations?

No, none of these is the Fatherland. You are the Fatherland.... The whole power of the Western world stands behind England and France and America! An army of ten million is being prepared; soon it will come into the battle. Have you thought of that, Michel?

Russian Proclamation to the German Soldiers:

The Provisional Government has fallen. The power is now in the hands of the Russian people, and the new government considers the immediate conclusion of peace as its foremost duty....

We charge you soldiers to stand by us in the fight for peace and socialism, for socialism alone can give the proletariat a lasting peace....

Brothers, if you support us, the cause of freedom is assured success....

Our soldiers have laid down their arms. It is now for you to follow this standard of peace.

May peace triumph! May the Socialistic and International Revolution live!

For the Council of People's Commissars.

December 5, 1917

American Leaflet from the Friends of German Democracy:


The world is in great need. You and you alone can end this need rapidly. We are American citizens of German descent. We know you and trust you. We beg you to trust us.

The great German nation is the barbarian and the breaker of trust in the eyes of the world. You can recover your good reputation only if you overthrow this government, which has made German intelligence and German industry a danger to the world. Take the determination of your destiny into your own hands....

If you will do this the world war will end. In the name of America we give you our word, that the new Germany will be taken up as an honorable member of the society of nations. Your intelligence and industry will once again be a blessing to humanity, instead of a curse.... Arise for a struggle for a free Germany!

In the name of Americans of German descent.

New York, March, 1918

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Comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome:
      Richard Hacken (hacken @
      or Jane Plotke (cd078 @ .

Last Updated: February 2, 1996.