La mitja veritat dels 200 paracaigudistes

Dans le document 1.1.1. Objectius de la recerca (Page 34-47)

BRITÀNICA (1939-1945): R UMORS I BBC

2.1.3. La mitja veritat dels 200 paracaigudistes

No obstant aquestes declaracions de principis, la disposició favorable a una propaganda fonamentada en la veritat convivia amb certes concessions a altres mètodes.

El 10 de maig de 1940 Winston Churchill és escollit Primer Ministre. Dues setmanes més tard hi ha la retirada agònica de les forces aliades de Bèlgica. L’exèrcit nazi sembla invencible. I Churchill, el 4 de juny, s’adreça a la Cambra dels Comuns amb un dels discursos que passarien a la historia. Davant la possibilitat ben plausible que Hitler intentés envair el Regne Unit, el flamant cap de govern pronuncia aquell advertiment a l’enemic:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills66.

En un moment, fora de micròfon, sembla ser que va comentar a un que tenia a prop:

“God knows what with; bottles I suppose”. És només un rumor67, però que recull la sensació que aleshores es vivia al cor de l’Imperi Britànic, amenaçat militarment per un Reich sense mostres de feblesa. Al desastre de Dunquerke va seguir la campanya de bombardejos sobre les principals ciutats angleses, entre el 7 setembre de 1940 i 16 de maig de 1941. Londres fou l’objectiu en 57 nits consecutives (entre el 7 de setembre i el 3 de novembre). Es calcula que, arreu de Gran Bretanya, moriren 41.000 persones, i 137.000 resultaren ferides68.

65 Department Electra House (03.04.1940). The Strategic Situation From The point of View of Department E. H. FO 898/04. The National Archives, Kew, pàgines 6 i 7.

66 Churchill, Winston (4 de juny de 1940). We Shall Fight on the Beaches. Discurs pronunciat a la Cambra dels Comuns.

67 Recollit, entre d’altres llocs, a White, John Baker (1955). The Big Lie. London, Evans Bros., pàgina 12.

Aquí es presenta com un comentari a James Stuart, el cap dels conservadors a la Cambra dels Comuns.

68 Cf. Imperial War Museum, secció Second World War.

Segons afirma John Baker White69, qui més tard seria parlamentari conservador, fou aleshores quan el director de Military Intelligence, “Paddy” Beaumont-Nesbitt, va proposar-li la feina d’iniciar determinades tasques de propaganda dirigides als alemanys. Així recordava, l’any 1955, l’encàrrec:

Your job will be to start a special daily broadcast programme for them. You will have to keep in mind also the preparation of leaflets, and very important at the moment, the organizing of rumors. You won’t have to worry about channels of dissemination –that’s someone else’s job- but we want some new minds on rumors70.

Per a White, se li demanava “to create in the minds of the German High Command and of Hitler himself a completely fictitious picture of what they would have to face if they launched an invasion”71.

Pocs dies després que Churchill fes la seva crida a la resistència i segurament pels volts de quan John Baker White rebia el seu encàrrec, el director de Propaganda Estrangera (Foreign Publicity) del Ministeri d’Informació, Ivone Kirkpatrick72, rebia un llarg memoràndum sobre la importància dels rumors en el context de guerra.

El document està datat el 23 de juny del 1940, i va signat per Ronald Turnbull73, agregat de premsa de l’ambaixada britànica a Copenhage. En els seus passatges principals, diu així:

1. Now that the battle for Britain is on, it seems relevant to examine what part can be played by propaganda or foreign publicity as a positive force in achieving final victory over Germany. Propaganda, carefully co-ordinated with the Service

69 White, John Baker (1902-1988). Polític conservador i escriptor. Abans de la guerra havia dirigit un grup de pressió anticomunista (1926-1939). Es va incorporar al PWE en començar el conflicte. L’any 1942 era adjunt al secretari general per a les missions del PWE a l’estranger (cf. D/Q (15/09/1942). To: AD/P. HS 8/307. The National Archives, Kew). El 1945 va entrar al parlament, on va ser representant fins el 1953.

70 White The Big Lie, pàgina 10.

71 Ibid., pàgina 13.

72 Kirkpatrick, Ivone (1897-1964). Catòlic irlandès educat a Downside. Combatent, i greument ferit, a la Primera Guera Mundial. Es va incorporar al Foreign Office el 1919. Fou cap de cancelleria a Berlin entre 1933 i 1938, des d’on fou crític amb la política contemporitzadora del Regne Unit amb Hitler. Conseller de la BBC des del 9 d’octubre de 1941, i controlador dels serveis europeus de la BBC des d’aquell any fins el 1944, passada la guerra va continuar lligat al Foreign Office (Garnett The Secret History of PWE: The Political Warfare Executive, 1939-1945 pàgina. 10, Foreign Office, Ed. (1945). The Foreign Office List and Diplomatic and Consular Yearbook for 1945. London, Foreign Office, pàgina 236, i també Mansell Let truth be told: 50 years of BBC external broadcasting, pàgina 86).

73 Turnbull, Ronald. El juny del 1940 era agregat de premsa de l’ambaixada britànica a Copenhage.

Segons sembla, dins del SOE va incorporar-se a la secció de seguretat, coneguda amb les sigles D/CE (Desconegut (sense data). Organigrama del S.O.E. HS 8/334. The National Archives, Kew).

S’encarregava del control intern de la organització (Cf. Murphy, Christopher J. (2006). Security and special operations : SOE and MI5 during the Second World War. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pàgines 6, 46 i 47). Fou cap de la secció danesa del SOE (Cf. Butler, Ewan (1963). Amateur Agent. London, George G.

Harrap & Co, pàgina 135).

Departments, can contribute devastatingly to Hitler’s overthrow (...). Weak spots in the enemy’s armour, now shielded as a result of the elimination of the French army, can only be reached by skilfully directed shafts of propaganda. Most dangerous and effective of all offensive propaganda is INSPIRED RUMOUR. Rumor, spread with the object of confusing the enemy, can be worth many divisions and many squadrons of aircraft. (...)

2. There can be no doubt that the German Government has for a long time realised that Inspired Rumour is a powerful weapon in a Commander-in-Chief’s hand. In Berlin the Propaganda Ministry works in the closest possible contact with the Service Departments, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that, when a German military offensive is planned, the exact role of the propaganda machine in the said offensive is as carefully thought out as that of the Air Force, the Tank Corps or the parachutists. Propaganda then, in the Nazi conception of Total War, is an offensive weapon and very much part of the war machine.

3. We have seen how German Legation abroad have employed Goering’s horror film of the Polish campaign as an instrument in breaking down the morale of prospective victims74. Against Great Britain it has naturally been impossible for the Germans to use similar tactics except perhaps through the radio. The German Propaganda Ministry have thus been forced to adopt more daring and ambitious tactics towards Great Britain. Much of their propaganda has now for months been aimed at the High Commands of the Allied fighting services. For this campaign they have called into use the weapon of INSPIRED RUMOUR. From Berlin, through many and varied channels, rumours have been sent out with the express object of confusing the High Commands of the Allied fighting services and of concealing the real intentions of the German High Command.

4. Inspired Rumours are circulated through all the channels at the disposal of the German Propaganda Ministry. They are never given publicity by official agencies or spokesmen but only by so-called “neutral” agencies or by generators of whispering campaigns. Sometimes gullible neutral journalists set as unconscious purveyors of deliberately inspired German Rumours. Thus stories, inspired by the Rumor Bureau in Berlin, have appeared innocently during the past months in Montevideo, Amsterdam, Bucharest or Copenhagen. In these places they have been picked up by Allied diplomats or journalists and immediately reported home.

5. The Service Departments in London have always let it be known that they are anxious to be informed of any stray stories or whispers which come to the ears of members British posts in neutral countries. All rumours, however insignificant, are said to be of interest. The sifting of these rumours is to be left to London. I speak now with the particular knowledge and experience of my post as Press Attaché to H.M.Legation, Copenhagen, where the German technique of INSPIRED RUMOUR flourished greatly.

6. At Copenhagen (...), members of H.M.Legation’s staff were instructed to report all rumours or stories to London. I can remember one “reliable” story to the effect

74 Es refereix molt probablement als fets de la nit del 8 al 9 d’abril de 1940, quan el ministre alemany a Oslo va projectar a un grup de polítics noruecs el film Baptisme de Foc, que glorificava la caiguda de Polònia (Cf. Butler Amateur Agent, pàgines 133-134). Ewan Butler, autor d’aquest llibre, era un agent que treballà a les ordres de John Baker White per les retransmissions alemanyes i posteriorment marxà al Caire. Coneixia perfectament l’alemany, perquè s’havia format a la Universitat d’Heidelberg. El 1935 estigué a Nova York com a assistent del corresponsal de The Times. El 1937 anà d’assistent del corresponsal a Berlin, lloc que ocuparia ell sol el 1939. Amb l’esclat de la guerra, s’enrolà a la força expedicionària britànica cap a França, com a oficial d’intel·ligència. Ingressà en el SOE la tardor de 1940.

that hundreds of flat-bottomed German boats were waiting in the Frisian Islands to transport a large invading force to the shores of Britain. This story was reported to London, and I understand that, on the strength of it, a large number of British submarines and destroyers were hastily thrown into patrol of the North Sea between the British and North-German coasts. This is an excellent example of how a

“good rumour” can bring about the movement of ships. It should be equally feasible for H.M. Government to cause the movement of German divisions. So far the German and Italian Government have had the initiative in the “War of Rumour”.

They spread the stories, while it was to London or Paris to assess their value and act accordingly (...)

10. The point of cardinal importance in this rumour campaign is that the source of the rumours should never be apparent. We must adopt the German technique of using “neutral” news agencies and neutral correspondents. There are innumerable ways of spreading an inspired rumour, but at all times their source must be unknown and their instrument of publication above suspicion.

11. If the weapon of rumour is to be used to its full effect in total war its use must be made in complete sympathy with the general military campaign and with the full agreement of the High Command.(...)

12. In order to put this rumour campaign into practice I propose that a specially qualified unit be formed at once to conduct it. I propose that this unit should work in the closest harmony with the Prime Minister and the Defence Ministries under him and also the Foreign Office, and should be under the immediate aegis of the Minister of Information, and under the control of his Director of Foreign Publicity. I propose that the unit’s main function should be to plan and be responsible for the technical side of spreading the rumour and that it should be made up, in part at least, of men who have experience of journalistic conditions abroad. For this purpose some of the foreign correspondents who have returned from occupied capitals would be useful. There are some very good men among them. The unit should be informed by the High Command or Foreign Office as to what is required, from which zones attention should be diverted, or towards which points it is desired that the notice of the enemy be directed. This can be done. Inspired rumour can be a powerful and vital arm in the British war-machine75.

Que els enemics ho feien, era un secret a veus: el 1940 arribava a les llibreries el treball de Bartlett sobre la propaganda que explicava en detall l’ús dels rumors per part dels alemanys en els primers compassos de la guerra76. També el 1940, Ed Taylor parlava dels rumors previs a l’atac nazi sobre França77.

75 Turnbull, Ronald (23.06.1940). Memorandum per a Mr. Kirkpatrick, Director of Foreign Publicity, Ministry of Information. FO 898/70. The National Archives, Kew.

76 Bartlett Political Propaganda, pàgines 90 i 91. El professor de Cambridge Frederic Bartlett fou consultat pel Ministeri d’Informació en diverses ocasions, com a expert per a l’aplicació de la psicologia en les anti-rumour campaign a little better” (Parliamentary Secretary (27.11.1940). To 1. The Director General. 2.

The Minister. INF 1/318. The National Archives, Kew). De tota manera, el propi ministeri no va permetre una implicació total en el dia a dia: “The object of this note is not to criticise what Professor Bartlett said, but to utter a word of warning against getting him at all attached to our Ministry. I have the gravest

Harald Weberstedt, que va servir com a capità a la branca de propaganda de la Wehrmacht78 entre gener de 1941 i juliol de 1942, explica aquestes pràctiques amb l’autoritat de qui l’ha protagonitzat:

The system of spreading desired information through the use of rumor mongers turned out to be very advantageous. Its proper use enabled us to spread an important news item among millions in a few hours. The best starting point for such rumors were markets and newspaper distributing center.

In the early morning hours hundreds of vegetable and grocery dealers came to the Berlin Markthalle (indoor whole sale market) for their supplies, and from there proceed directly to their places of business. They were always eager to hear anything new which they could pass on to their customers. An expert rumor monger perhaps disguised as a worker helping to load and unload, could easily slip some information, which was guaranteed to spread rapidly in all direction. His information only needed to be new and original.

Berlin’s newspaper distributing center is located in the middle of town. There, each day, in the early hours, newspaper distributors called for the latest issues to carry them away on bicycles or motorcycles to all parts of the town. These distributors, too, were ever avid for news. They liked to consider themselves as part of “the press”. The information they got from rumor mongers had to be very short and pointedly significant. There was not much time, as they tossed their bundles to newspaper vendors, to tell long stories.

Sample rumors which spread with success:

“100.000 men of the Reich Labor Service sent East to build large fortifications.”

“We now have submarine troop carriers of 100 man capacity.”

“Thirty high ranking Russian officers arrived yesterday to take a training course at the Cavalry School in Krampnitz.”

“Grain trains arrive daily from Russia.”

“Stalin coming to Baden-Baden for a four weeks’ rest cure.”

“Starting next week there will be no more civilian through trains going West.”

“Furloughs to army personnel stationed in the West are to be discontinued in the course of the next few days.”79

suspicion of psychologists” (D. G. (29.11.1940). To Parliamentary Secretary. INF 1/318. The National Archives, Kew). Sobre l’oferiment de psicòlegs per a serveis durant la guerra, vegeu The British Psychological Society Register for Services during War. INF 1/318. The National Archives, Kew.

77 Taylor, Edmond (1940). The Strategy of Terror. Europe's inner front. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., pàgina 104.

78 Exèrcit alemany.

79 Weberstedt, Harald (1989). Public Deception Regarding the Russian Campaign (1951). Dins Covert warfare. The German view of cover and deception. John Mendelsohn. New York; London, Garland. 17, pàgines 6 i 7.

El Ministeri d’Informació va rebre ressò de rumors malintencionats que circulaven pel Regne Unit. El 24 de novembre, el responsable d’una companyia de maquinària tèxtil preguntava alarmat sobre la veracitat de les veus que corrien, segons les quals emissions alemanyes havien assegurat que serien objecte de bombardeig la seva fàbrica i d’altres de la zona que col·laboraven amb el govern. Afirmava:

I am very suspicious that these threats have not actually been broadcast from Germany, but are the work of enemy sympathisers in this country, trying to create panic amongst the civilian population80.

Cap el mes de juny81 un pastor metodista de Harpenden demanava refutació d’alguns altres rumors segons els quals la mateixa ràdio alemanya (més en concret, un locutor que seria conegut amb el nom de Lord Haw Haw) llançava també alguns advertiments en els quals –per a major sorpresa dels oients- demostrava un coneixement molt detallat de l’actualitat local. El mateix tipus de rumors van afectar la Grammar School de Bradford, que estrenava nous edificis82. Per l’agost corria un rumor segons el qual el govern britànic es preparava per traslladar-se a Canadà83.

Algunes mesures defensives es van prendre per part del Ministeri d’Informació.

Campanyes informatives per alertar la població sobre el perill de difondre informació poc fiable –com ara la del lema Careless talks costs lives- es van dur a terme, amb més o menys encert. Malgrat això, cap a l’hivern de 1941-1942 el pensament de la intel·ligència britànica era que els rumors representaven “an inevitable and to some extent healthy symptom in any society”, perquè assenyalaven –dits rumors- “an interest which has been unsatisfied by the published information and is therefore particularly prevalent during a war when interest in public affairs is considerable and much

80 Prince-Smith, W (24/05/1940). To The Secretary, Ministry of Information. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew. El ministeri va respondre assegurant que aquella emissió radiofònica, efectivament, mai no havia existit (Broadcasting Division (28/05/1940). To Wm Prince-Smith. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew). El rumor es va reproduir a altres àrees del país, amb els noms de les localitats afectades canviats (Peachey, A.W. (29/05/1940). To Duff-Cooper. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew). Per exemple, les amenaces de bormbardeig sobre una factoria a Bristol (Lyon, Edwin (26/06/1940). Foreign Broadcasts.

INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew), Manchester (Clark, F. W. (03/07/1940). Ministry of Information.

INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew) o Londres mateix (Holmes, R. H. (20/09/1940). Ministry of Information. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew). Els Arxius recullen un cas –el del rumor que afectava Bath l’any 1942- en el qual la polica va poder enxampar el difusor del rumor i fou multat amb 5 lliures (Burns, R. (28/05/1942). To: Mrs. Jellice, M. of I. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew). El Ministeri d’Informació va mantenir una mena de Counter-Propaganda Bureau per combatre aquestes maledicències.

81 Barnes, G. G. (06/1940). To The Ministry of Information. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew.

82 Graham, R. B. (14/06/1940). Gossipel Truth. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew.

83 Smith, J.E. (13/08/1940). To R. H. A. Duff-Copper. INF 1/265. The National Archives, Kew.

information cannot be published for security reasons”. Per últim, els rumors “are useful pointers to the topics which are worrying people and the best way of dealing with them is to find publishable information which will make them seem less convincing and sinister” o bé, si això no fos possible caldria pensar en “the possibility of launching variant rumours to offset them”84.

Però, si els alemanys feien rumors i els escampaven per sembrar inquietud, per què no podrien fer-ne també ells mateixos? Un memoràndum del Departament EH datat el 2 d’agost del mateix any 1940 i dirigit al Joint Intelligence Sub-Committe (JIC)85 demostra que aquesta preocupació referent a un ús militar del rumor va cristal·litzar, ben aviat, en accions concretes86.

El redactor parteix amb la constatació d’un seguit de fets:

There is a certain amount of evidence that the casualties suffered by German parachute troops in Holland and Belgium have made a considerable impression on members of the German Forces. Evidences from M.I.9 indicates that members of

There is a certain amount of evidence that the casualties suffered by German parachute troops in Holland and Belgium have made a considerable impression on members of the German Forces. Evidences from M.I.9 indicates that members of

Dans le document 1.1.1. Objectius de la recerca (Page 34-47)