Political Warfare Executive

Political Warfare Executive

During World War II, the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) was a British clandestine body created to produce and disseminate both white and black propaganda, with the aim of damaging enemy morale and sustaining the morale of the Occupied countries.

The Executive was formed in August 1941, reporting to the Foreign Office. The staff came mostly from S.O.1, which had been until then the propaganda arm of the Special Operations Executive. The organisation was governed by a committee initially comprising Anthony Eden (Foreign Secretary), Brendan Bracken (Minister of Information) and Hugh Dalton (Minister of Economic Warfare), together with officials Rex Leeper, Dallas Brooks and Robert Bruce Lockhart as chairman (and later Director General). Roundell Palmer (the future 3rd Earl of Selbourne) later replaced Dalton when he was moved to become President of the Board of Trade. Ivone Kirkpatrick, an advisor to the BBC and formerly a diplomat in Berlin, also joined the committee, while Leeper left to become British Ambassador to Greece.

PWE included staff from the Ministry of Information, the propaganda elements of the Special Operations Executive, and from the BBC. Its main headquarters was at Woburn Abbey with London offices at the BBC's Bush House. As the Political Warfare Executive was a secret department when dealing with the outside world PWE used the covername Political Intelligence Department (PID).

The main forms of propaganda were in the form of radio broadcasts and printed postcards, leaflets and documents. PWE created a number of clandestine radio stations including Gustav Siegfried Eins, Soldatensender Calais and Kurzwellesender Atlantik. In order to deliver its subversive messages, PWE also disseminated reliable news and information on events in Germany and the occupied countries, gathering intelligence from other services and agencies, including POW interrogations, and newspapers obtained from occupied countries, and bombing raid photo analysis. This latter source was used to broadcast lists of streets (and even individual houses) that had been destroyed and on occasion to mock up faked "real time" reports of actual raids.

After D-Day most of PWE's white propaganda staff transferred to the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD/SHAEF) of SHAEF

At the end of World War II PWE were tasked with the re-education of German Prisoners of War. As with different types of propaganda, PWE used the same 'white', 'grey', and 'black' classifications for German POWs. Prisoners classed as 'black' were considered dangerous ardent Nazis, with anti-Nazis classed as 'white' and regular non-political soldiers classed as 'grey'.


*"The Secret History of PWE - Political Warfare Executive 1939-1945", (St Ermin"s Press, 2002), David Garnett. ISBN 1-903608-08-2
*"The Fourth Arm - Psychological Warfare 1938-45", (Davis-Poynter, 1977), Charles Cruickshank. ISBN 0-7067-0212-3
*"The Black Game - British Subversive Operations Against the Germans During the Second World War, (Michael Joseph, 1982), Ellic Howe. ISBN 0-7181-1718-2
*"British Propaganda to France, 1940-1944: Machinery, Method and Message", (Edinburgh University Press, 2007), Tim Brooks. ISBN 978-0-7486-2519-2

ee also

*British military history
**British military history of World War II
*Psychological warfare
*PSYchological OPerations
*Airborne leaflet propaganda
*Psychological Warfare Division
*Office of War Information
*Office of Strategic Services

External links

* [http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/oss/oss.htm OSS - The Psychology of War] : Over 2000 images of OSS documents show an unknown side of World War II, revealing many programs not written about in any history books.
* [http://www.psywar.org PsyWar.Org - Black Propaganda and propaganda leaflets database] : A website with various articles on black propaganda and psychological warfare. The site has an extensive library of propaganda leaflets from WWI to the present day.
* [http://www.psywarsoc.org The PsyWar Society] : The website for the PsyWar Society - an international organisation for psychological warfare historians and collectors of aerial propaganda leaflets.

* [http://members.home.nl/ww2propaganda/ WW2 propaganda leaflets] : A website about airdropped, shelled or rocket fired propaganda leaflets. Many by PWE.
* [http://clutch.open.ac.uk/schools/emerson00/pwe_main.html CLUTCH PWE website]
* [http://www.seftondelmer.co.uk/ Sefton Delmer Black Propaganda Website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Political Warfare Executive — Das Political Warfare Executive (PWE) war eine geheime britische Körperschaft während des Zweiten Weltkrieges zur Verbreitung von Propaganda. Offiziell trat es als Political Intelligence Department (PID) auf. PWE wurde 1941 vom Außenministerium… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Political Warfare Executive — Le Political Warfare Executive (en abrégé PWE ; en français Direction de la guerre politique) est un organisme secret britannique qui opéra pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Créé par Winston Churchill en février 1942, il était chargé de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Political Intelligence Department — The Political Intelligence Department was a department of the British Foreign Office during World War II. Established in 1939, its main function was the production of weekly intelligence summaries. [cite web… …   Wikipedia

  • political philosophy — Branch of philosophy that analyzes the state and related concepts such as political obligation, law, social justice, and constitution. The first major work of political philosophy in the Western tradition was Plato s Republic. Aristotle s… …   Universalium

  • Political media — are communication vehicles owned, ruled, managed, or otherwise influenced by political entities, meant to propagate views of the related entity. A similar term, normative media , emphasizes technical and social characteristics of the media itself …   Wikipedia

  • political system — Introduction       the set of formal legal institutions that constitute a “government” or a “ state.” This is the definition adopted by many studies of the legal or constitutional arrangements of advanced political orders. More broadly defined,… …   Universalium

  • Political status of Taiwan — The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan (or Taiwan Issue as referred to by the Communist Party of China) hinges on whether Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain effectively independent as territory of the Republic of… …   Wikipedia

  • political party — Group of persons organized to acquire and exercise political power. Formal political parties originated in their modern form in Europe and the U.S. in the 19th century. Whereas mass based parties appeal for support to the whole electorate, cadre… …   Universalium

  • Political realism — Realism, also known as political realism, in the context of international relations, encompasses a variety of theories and approaches, all of which share a belief that states are primarily motivated by the desire for military and economic power… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychological warfare — Warfare Military history Eras Prehistoric Ancient Medieval Gunpowder Industrial …   Wikipedia