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H035577 ALLIED ISSUE SAFE CONDUCT PASS.(Passierschein)
BACKGROUND: The OKH, Oberkommando des Heeres, (High Command of the Army), and the OKW, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, (High Command of the Armed Forces), both realized the importance of propaganda and as early as 1938 they both actively began recruiting artists, photographers and journalists who were assigned to Propaganda Companies which accompanied all three branches of service in the field. The Allied forces also realized the importance of propaganda and established specific governmental departments with the British Ministry of Information and the American PWB, Psychological Warfare Branch dealing specifically with combat propaganda. One popular form of propaganda was the use of leaflets on the battlefield. The leaflets were distributed amongst enemy troops in a variety of ways including airplane drops and propaganda rifle rounds. The allied leaflets most often questioned the Germans inevitable failure, raised suspicion of their loved ones behavior back home and enticed them to surrender. Generally soldiers on both sides avoided picking these leaflets up on fear of punishment. This example is an American leaflet/safe conduct pass with both German and English text as dropped by the Allies on German troops from D-Day until the end of the war.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Roughly, 22cm x 14cm, dual sided, light-weight paper leaflet with black printed, German and English text. The pass features both the printed American and British Coat-of-Arms to the top of one side followed by German text which is then repeated in English as follows, "The German soldier who carries this safe conduct pass is using it as a sign of his genuine wish to give himself up. He is to be disarmed, to be well looked after, to receive food and medical attention as required, and to be removed from the danger zone as soon as possible". The text is followed by the facsimile signature of Dwight D. Eisenhower the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. The other side of the pass has printed German script with the heading, "Grundsätze des Kriegsgefangenrechts", (Principal Prisoner’s of War Rights), followed by six numbered regulations as established by the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1929. The bottom of the pass has additional German script, "Regeln Für Gefangennahme: Um Missverständnisse bei der Gefangennahme auszuschliessen, ist folgendes angezeigt: Waffen weglegen, Helm und Koppel herunter; Hände hochheben und ein Taschentuch oder dieses Flugblatt schwenken", (Regulations for Capture: Because of misunderstandings by the captives upon capture the following rules must be obeyed: Weapons must be laid down, Helmet and belt must be removed; Hands are to be elevated and wave a handkerchief or this pamphlet).
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