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OSS's WWII Anti-Axis Propaganda

HitlerStamp.jpgDuring World War II, scientists and engineers creatively supplied the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – CIA’s predecessor – with flawless forgeries of enemy documents and papers.

To boost that effort, the OSS hired an ex-con artist who was known only as “Jim.” He could fake the signatures of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Benito Mussolini, and other US enemies flawlessly.

When situations required more than a simple reproduction, the Morale Operations (MO) branch took over. The MO was responsible for “black propaganda” – material designed to look like it had been produced by Germans or Japanese disgruntled with the war, but was in fact produced by the US. The MO designed the stamp pictured right, which resembled German stamps of that time, except that the image of Hitler appeared as a skeleton.

The branch created the stamp for internal use in Germany. It was designed to be a not-so-subtle reminder to German citizens of the Nazi leader’s mortality and flaws.

To learn more about what CIA scientists and engineers do today, watch their YouTube videos and check out the Directorate of Science and Technology on CIA.gov.


Historical Document
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 09:10 AM
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2013 12:59 PM