Friday Finds: Seeds from the Sky

Friday, March 1, 2013
Seed packets from the U.S. Office of War Information, Psychological Warfare Divi
Seed packets from the U.S. Office of War Information, Psychological Warfare Divi
Sewing kit from the U.S. Office of War Information, Psychological Warfare Divisi

During World War II, US planes dropped gifts such as cigarettes, seed packets, and sewing kits over both the European and Pacific theaters. Many of these items contained pro-Allied forces leaflets and other propaganda aimed at weakening the enemy’s morale and encouraging the people of the occupied countries to revolt. In addition to vegetable seeds, the packets photographed here also contain miniature pages from underground newspapers. The tiny Frankfurter Zeitung in the radish packet, for example, features articles about the devaluation of German currency, the imprisonment of Rudolf Hess, and a poem by Heinrich Heine.

The Hoover Institution Archives holds various collections documenting psychological warfare during World War II, including the papers of William Vatcher and Bonner Fellers.