1942: British Get a Good Laugh From Rommel’s Crude Propaganda Attempts

PsyWar hosts a photo gallery with some interesting history, such as this one from WWII:

Indian troops in the Egyptian desert get a laugh from one of the leaflets which Field Marshal Erwin Rommel has taken to dropping behind the British lines now that his ground attacks have failed. The leaflet, which of course are strongly anti-British in tone, are printed in Hindustani, but are too crude to be effective. (Photo was flashed to New York from Cairo by radio. Credit: ACME Radio Photo)

Update September 2021: Armchair Historian gives us his perspective on India in WWII

See also, headlines from Operation Torch reporting how badly Rommel was routed by the British:

Rommel was impatient, hot-headed and brutal. He was “liked” only by those least competent to judge. His work often was beset by simple planning failures, such as communications and supply. His troops ultimately were crushed by Allied forces and, perhaps most notably, abandoned by him in 1943. A good thing too, given his personal role in spread of horrors from unthinking devotion to fascism:

…empowered to “take executive measures against the civilian population”, Nazi jargon for robbery, murder and enslavement.

A “famous reputation” of strategy was propaganda highly spun by Nazi military intelligence, which was spread northward in an attempt to “morale boost” troops facing imminent defeat in European campaigns. I mean by 1942 it was apparent that Germany had no chance to win — it became a question only of why Germans made terrible life choices.

Source: “Images of War: The Armour of Rommel’s Afrika Korps” by Ian Baxter. Rommel’s men show utter disgust with him as an “unbeatable and unbearable” General Montgomery outsmarts them at El Alamein.

An interesting footnote on how Rommel was routed so quickly by Montgomery is that the former tried to blame his failures on Hitler while the latter refused to listen to Churchill.

A couple years after Rommel’s disasters in North Africa and Europe he chose suicide (after Hitler said he would kill his entire family unless he killed himself first).

This hot-headed and impatient fealty was spun as propaganda into claims he was popular and died from battle wounds, an ironic twist since he had refused to battle with the forces that actually killed him.

Curiously, American soldiers to this day sometimes buy into the widespread propaganda and lies about the Nazi Rommel, very similar to American desire to believe in the fiction of the Confederate Lee.

Here’s the view from a U.S. Army M2 Bradley during the Iraq War, where a Nazi portrait has been taped to the “fighting vehicle” inside in completely tone-deaf fashion.

Source: Iraq War Footage

Anyone stepping into that vehicle should “get a laugh” as if 1942 Indian troops in the Egyptian desert.

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