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League of Lonely War Women

Discussion in 'History of Italy during World War II' started by Jim, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    After lieutenant general Mark W. Clark’s U.S. Fifth Army captured Rome on June 6, 1944, Field Marshal Albrecht Kesselring, the German commander in the Mediterranean, pulled back his forces and established a heavily fortified belt across Italy. Typically, the German soldiers fought tenaciously. In Rome that fall, the twenty-two men and one woman assigned to the Morale Operations (MO) branch of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services hatched an innovative scheme to dent the morale of the Germans in northern Italy. The machination focused on the “League of Lonely War Women,” and it was aimed mostly at the Germans who had wives or girlfriends in the Fatherland.

    Field Marshal Albrecht Kesselring


    German language experts in the MO carefully created a document announcing that a “League of Lonely War Women” had been formed in Germany to make furloughs at home more pleasant for the fighting men. To withstand later scrutiny by German technicians, an old printing press that had actually been used in the Third Reich ran off thousands of copies. All a war-weary German soldier had to do when he arrived in the Fatherland for a brief respite was to pin a small replica of a heart on his lapel, the fake document stated. Then he would quickly find a woman most anxious to fulfil his every desire, because there were members of the league throughout the Reich.

    “We German women realize it is our duty to our fighting men to help however we can,” the printed piece stated. “Your wife, sweetheart, or mother is one of us, doing her duty for the Fatherland and bolstering its birth rate.”
    Members of the Italian underground surreptitiously distributed thousands of the printed pieces behind German lines.

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