Instructions for British Servicemen in Germany, 1944 (BOK)
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Nine-and-a-half months after D-Day, 30,000 British troops crossed the Rhine as part of the Allied assault on Germany. Two years earlier, work had already started on a guide to assist them in negotiating everyday life in what then was still enemy territory. This extraordinary document was intended to educate soldiers on a range of topics, including German history, the national character, politics, culture, food and drink, currency, and to explain the current situation, including the effect of war on Germany and the German attitudes to the British. It was also intended to condition them to resist the effect of German propaganda by means of a healthy dose of British propaganda. The result is a remarkable booklet, often unintentionally humorous and sometimes crudely stereotypical, it reads by turns like a travel guide (advising on the excellence of German sausages and beer - 'one of the pleasantest in Europe') and a crash course in psychological warfare. It is very much a document of the period, revealing as much about British wartime attitudes towards Germany as it does about British hopes and fears. 'If you have to give orders to German civilians, give them in a firm, military manner. The German civilian is used to it and expects it.' 'The Germans are not good at controlling their feelings. They have a streak of hysteria. You will find that Germans may often fly into a passion if some little thing goes wrong.' 'Don't be too ready to listen to stories told by attractive women. They may be acting under orders.'