Primary Documents - Paul von Hindenburg on Allied Propaganda, 6 September 1918

Paul von Hindenburg Reproduced below is the text of an official address issued by German Army Chief of Staff Paul von Hindenburg on 6 September 1918.  In his address von Hindenburg warned of the growing threat of German 'traitors' and specifically of the effects of Allied propaganda leaflets dropped by airman over German lines.

Hindenburg's address came in the wake of the onset of the final phase of the war, namely the Allied advance to victory initiated by the Battle of Amiens almost a month earlier, on 8 August 1918.

Paul von Hindenburg's Official Address of 6 September 1918


We are in the midst of a heavy battle with the foe.  If numerical superiority alone were to guarantee victory, then Germany would long since have been crushed to the ground.  The enemy knows, however, that Germany and her allies can never be vanquished by arms alone.

What are the facts?  In the east we have forced peace, and in the west we are also strong enough to do the same despite the Americans.  But we must be strong and united.

Why does the enemy incite the coloured races against the German soldiers?  Because he wants to annihilate us.

The enemy also endeavours to sow dissension in our ranks by means of leaflets dropped from aeroplanes above our lines.  Ten thousand of these are sometimes gathered up in a day.  The enemy knows what strength resides in our State and Empire; hence he seeks by his leaflets and false rumours to arouse distrust among us.

There have always been some traitors to the Fatherland, a few deliberately false, others unintentionally so.  Most of these now reside in neutral countries, having deserted us to escape sharing in our battles and privations, and to escape being executed as traitors.

Be on your guard, German soldiers.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

'Push' was slang signifying a large-scale attack upon enemy positions.

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