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Psychological warfare: Propaganda Notes!

22 Oct 2016  Sat

War brings death and destruction but even more than that it brings..fear!

By the end of the World War II, the world had collapsed into a whirlpool of economic, political and social upheavals. The tides were turning against the Japanese and sometime between 1944 and 1945, the Royal Air Force (British) started airdropping pieces of paper or propaganda leaflets as part of the psychological warfare initiative. This was the ultimate psychological tool used to spread fear and panic amongst the people under the Japanese Occupancy.

Billions of leaflets were dropped during WWII with a variety of themes and some of them were in the form of banknotes. The British used the Japanese Government banknotes used in Malayan occupation for their propaganda message.

Printed in Psychological Warfare presses in Calcutta, India, these 10 dollar banknotes had the original obverse of a genuine Japanese occupation 10 dollar note that was altered by adding a diagonal stripe which read “Wang Jepun Akan Mati Bersama Jepun" in Malaysian (Japan and its Japanese Money will soon disappear).

The reverse had three columns of text, in Malay, Arabic and Chinese. The translated text reads: “Japanese notes are no longer being used in Burma. The only legal money now being used is British. When the British return to the Malay States, their currency will become valid again as before. Japanese notes will forever disappear together with the Japanese, but genuine British notes will be used forever”.

A similar strategy was used by the American forces in Burma.

In late 1944 American Psychological Warfare Units started printing propaganda notes similar to the 5 rupee Japanese invasion money banknote issued for use in Burma from 1942 to 1944. The obverse of the notes was similar to the original occupancy money but the reverse had a message on it. Some notes bore the message in Burmese language and some had it in the Kachin language.

The message in Kachin language was as follows: In the box at left:
“The Japanese Military Government commanded their troops in Burma to keep the following directives secret.
The Military Government is issuing currency notes for your [the Japanese] use in Burma. Spend as much as you like for food and other things, but don't tell the (Kachin) people the secret of the money.”

The text at the right of the box is:
The Japanese are making these valueless notes for your use. It is easy to get these notes but very hard to buy food or other things. Avoid these notes or you will be cheated!”

The message in the Burmese language was as follows: In the box at left:

“The wicked Japanese authorities have secretly issued orders to all Japanese forces stationed in Burma to spend this money freely since it is being produced in great numbers to buy rations and to hire workers during the war.
Citizens of Burma…beware of the ulterior motives of the Japanese!”

The text at the right of the box is:
“To the citizens of Burma!
The paper notes, which you are being forced to accept and use are mere valueless scraps of paper printed by the Japanese. It is easy for the Japanese to print this money, but it shall not be so for the Japanese to make you accept these notes in exchange for your foodstuffs or your labour. Friends! Do not be cheated.
Don't accept or recognize the Japanese currency notes.”

The message was loud and clear and the purpose served! The confidence of the people in the Japanese Government and their money was shaken!

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