Enemy propaganda aimed at troops

Signaller H. Archer, of 24 Dudley Street, Luton, soldier who had just returned home from the Balkan Front, sent a letter to The Luton News (January 9th, 1919) giving an example of Bulgarian propaganda stunts that had been aimed at British and French troops. He wrote:

"Out there we were up against varied enemies, including Germans, Austrians, Bulgars and Turks. The Bulgars, of course, were of greater strength.

"During the early part of 1917 they indulged in a great deal of propaganda work, mainly against the British and French, and also the Italians. Bulgar planes would come over our lines and drop hundreds of pamphlets. Another favourite stunt of theirs was to make raids upon our lines and, before they retired, lave pamphlets and various notices in the trenches and dug-outs.

"They would also leave these notices on the wire in front of our trenches, so that any patrols would see them and bring them in. Of course, the propaganda stunt was an absolute failure, as it did not affect the morale of the British troops in the least. In fact, we used to regard these tricks as a huge joke.

"Whilst out on patrol with the 13th Manchester Regiment on the Vardar Front in February 1917, I managed to secure one of these notices. They were printed. One half of the paper, which was about two feet square, was in English, and the other in French.

"I am unable to forward to you the original, as I unfortunately had to forward it to G.H.Q.. But I made a copy of the English wording, and now let you have it (text below):


We are defending the rights of our country and people. You are well aware of the love Bulgaria possesses for her country, and the bravery with which they are fighting against the operations of her numerous enemies is well known to you.

For our country's sake we are to die. We shall do everything to prevent the enemy from entering our territory. What are you doing in this foreign country?

Are you still believing in the hideous lies of your statesmen, telling you that you are fighting for the liberty and independence of small nations? Has it ever come to your thought you are doing just the contrary? Here!

Look at Roumania, hitherto so flourishing. There you will see the work your diplomats have been doing. She was forced to take part in the war, and in hardly less than two months has been conquered by us and our allies. Bukarest and the whole enemy territory is in out hands. More than 25,000 Roumanian soldiers have been captured by us, and also 1,000 guns. Practically the whole country is devastated in consequence of the operations of the war.

Look at Greece! What are your Government doing with her and her unfortunate people? And it is certainly not creditable to nations pretending to be guardians of small nations.

Why are your following your leaders? Why not ask them to be brought back to your own country, where your wives, sweethearts and children impatiently await you? If this is impossible, come over to us. Do not believe that we are barbarians. Our prisoners, especially the English and French, are very well treated by us, and the nourishment leaves nothing to be desired.

Instead of staying in the 'Himmel' trenches day and night, come over to us and render yourself innocent of an act of infamy and injustice which your statesmen are forcing upon you. Signed BULGAR.”