Primary Sources: Propaganda collections

The Library recently acquired three collections of propaganda materials: two from World War II a collection of anti-Semitic materials published before the war.

Psychological Warfare and Propaganda in World War II: Air Dropped and Shelled Leaflets and Periodicals

This publication collection consists of over 1,000 air dropped and shelled leaflets and periodicals created and disseminated during the Second World War. The majority of items in this collection were printed by the Allies then air or container dropped, or fired by artillery shell over German occupied territory. Many leaflets and periodicals have original publication codes and were printed in over 10 languages. Only shelled leaflets, Germans to Allies (115 items), are in English.

Allied Propaganda in World War II and the British Political Warfare Executive

This collection presents the complete files of the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) kept at the U.K. National Archives as FO 898 from its instigation to closure in 1946, along with the secret minutes of the special 1944 War Cabinet Committee “Breaking the German Will to Resist.”

German Anti-Semitic Propaganda, 1909-1941

Comprised of 170 German-language books and pamphlets, this collection presents anti-Semitism as an issue in politics, economics, religion, and education. Most of the writings date from the 1920s and 1930s and many are directly connected with Nazi groups. The works are principally anti-Semitic, but include writings on other groups as well, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Jesuits, and the Freemasons.

Primary Sources: Correspondence from German Concentration Camps and Prisons

Letter from prisoner in concentration camp on a form that provides instructions and guidelines in German. Correspondence from German Concentration Camps and Prisons is a digitized version of a “collection of items originating from prisoners held in German concentration camps, internment and transit camps, Gestapo prisons, and POW camps, during and just prior to World War II.   Most of the collection consists of letters written or received by prisoners, but also includes receipts for parcels, money orders and personal effects; paper currency; and realia, including Star of David badges that Jews were forced to wear.”1

1 Archives & Research Collections, McMaster University. “World War, 1939-1945, German Concentration Camps and Prisons Collection.” Accessed July 13, 2023.