From Jim MacClay, Web Staff  Feature Index      NEXT

Germany Occupation Booklet 1945
"Don't Be a Sucker in Germany"
(still somewhat relevant for U.S. troops in Iraq in 2003-2007)

  Distributed to 3AD troops in May, 1945, shortly after the German surrender, this 15-page booklet was the 12th Army Group's basic primer for GI's as occupiers. It was then "Restricted" (Classified) info that makes very interesting reading now. As one short example, a section on "Women" included: "German women have been trained to seduce you. Is it worth a knife in the back?"

For full booklet text

Actual booklet size: 5.5 x 4.5 inches x 15 pages

Return to Introduction




During the occupation of Germany, combat units will police large areas of that country. It is possible that these occupation forces will meet organized resistance and sabotage by individuals or groups of die-hard Nazis. The facts in this booklet were compiled by the Provost Marshal of the Ninth U. S. Army as a guide for troops in Germany. Nothing here was "dreamed up" by someone behind a desk.

This booklet is a summary of the experiences of French, Dutch and Belgian underground workers now serving with the American armies. These men resisted German occupation in their countries. They know the tricks ... and the answers. That's why they are alive to pass this information on to you. Their advice will keep you healthy during the occupation of Germany. Listen to them and remember what they say.

[Commanded by Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley with operational
control over the U.S. First & Third Armies & other elements]


The German people may appear to be friendly and docile as you move into Germany. Are they? We've occupied Aachen for several months. Twice, at night, Germans have strung wires across the main road through Aachen to tear the head off some jeep driver. Two months after we moved into one little German village and posted proclamations directing Germans to turn in all arms, we made a house to house search and found more than 20 assorted firearms.

Would you be friendly to a foreign army that occupied your home town and gave you orders ? If some friend of yours back home shot one of those men, wouldn't he be a hero to you and the whole community?


Your attitude toward women is wrong -- in Germany. You'll see a lot of good-looking babes on the make there. German women have been trained to seduce you. Is it worth a knife in the back ? In Holland, girls belonging to the resistance made dates with German soldiers. Just after dark they walked their dates along a canal or river. At certain places, Dutchmen waited. Then, a wallop with a sock full of sand from behind, and another unconscious German soldier was shoved into a canal to drown.

One Dutchman now serving with the Ninth Army teamed with his sister to drown 15 Germans in canals during the German occupation of Holland. Altogether hundreds of German soldiers were "liquidated" this way. A French resistor says: "From my experience during five years of occupation, I know that German women are often used as underground workers, and sometimes they are slyer and more fanatic than men."


Don't believe there are any "good" Germans in Germany. Of course you know good Germans back home. They had guts enough and sense enough to break away from Germany long ago because they couldn't go along with German militarism and intolerance. Don't believe that it was only the Nazi government that brought on this war. Any people have the kind of government they want and deserve. Only a few people bucked the Nazis. You won't meet them; the Nazis purged them long ago.

Most prisoners and conquered German civilians deny being Nazis. They are all "good" Germans. After the war you won't find any German -- man, woman or child -- who will admit to ever having been a Nazi. One Belgian major, wounded twice in two wars with Germany, knows Germans better than most of us ever will. He was stationed in Germany in the Belgian Army of Occupation from 1918 to 1929. He says: "A German is, by nature, a liar."


Toward children, you're wrong again. You've generously given them chewing gum and candy all across Europe. Don't do it now. All kids aren't friendly and innocent. Yell "Achtung" (attention) at a bunch of these kids and watch them snap-to. That's how they're trained. For what? You guess. A kid can carry messages. A kid can shoot you just as dead as a grown man. Some German kids have been trained for underground work, espionage and sabotage.

In January 1945, a known group of five boys between the ages of 12 to 16 were behind our lines attempting to cut telephone lines. They had been trained for that job -- and others -- in a school of sabotage for boys. The idea was that soft-hearted Americans who like children so much wouldn't suspect kids of sabotage. You wouldn't suspect these five -- just talking to them.


Military Police spend a large part of their time collecting from civilians the clothing and equipment soldiers leave behind, give away or trade for a night with a woman or a few drinks. Here's what one Belgian said after searching a German town: "It is very easy to provide oneself with American weapons, uniforms and equipment just by taking those articles left behind in billets. It is certain that we (Belgian resisters), in the same situation as the Germans, would soon provide ourselves with large quantities of weapons and ammunition." Such carelessness in occupied Germany may cost many American lives.

Allied resisters offer these additional suggestions for staying healthy in Germany: "Never go out alone at night; take a buddy or two along." "Stay away from dangerous areas -- rivers, canals, etc." "At night, walk in the middle of the street." "Don't forget to black-out billets and offices; your shadow may make you a poor insurance risk."


A concealed weapon is usually thought of as a gun or a knife, but a rock tied in a handkerchief or a few ounces of sand in the toe of a sock will do the business just as well. There are lots of ways of killing a man. Resistance fighters in France, Belgium and Holland give these hints : "In general, all underground operations were hidden under sentiments of respect, morality, charity and religion." "Old women so crippled they walked with two canes carried weapons."

"Sometimes men with wooden legs carried weapons in the artificial leg." "Hump-backed persons concealed weapons under their humps." "Weapon dumps were established in graves and tombs." "Watch when the dead are placed in their coffins and when the coffins are buried." "Do not hesitate to search the beds of sick people." Our Allies are telling you the inside dope on how resisters work. These are the things they did.


Here are some of the ways resisters carried messages in France, Belgium and Holland during the German occupation. Children carried messages in their school books, book bags or clothing. Women carried them in their underwear or other clothing, in special belts, in market baskets. Men carried them in their socks, hats, the cuffs or seams of their clothing, in newspapers or magazines, in the bindings of books, in cigarettes, in bicycle pumps or tires or the tube support of a bicycle saddle.

One French resistance group delivered all its messages by hiding them under the blankets that covered a baby in his baby carriage. There are no rules. Every messenger will think of a different hiding place. Where would you hide a message?


When searching people have them stand out from a wall or tree, legs apart, hands over head supporting them in a backward leaning position against the wall. They can't move from that position without falling. A slight kick will knock them down. Your buddy should stand a few feet away to cover you. Don't open fountain pens, cigarette cases, spectacle cases or other containers found on a suspected person. Such articles may be small grenades. Make the person being searched open them while you stand aside. Many Nazi fanatics wouldn't hesitate to blow themselves up if they thought an Allied soldier would die with them.

The Belgians say Germans did not search women and that it was a mistake. Resistance groups used women to carry messages, guns and explosives. You may find a weapon by making women pull their dresses tight against their bodies here and there, but it's much better if another woman does the searching -- and does it thoroughly in a private room.


Here's how two Allied resisters fooled the Germans. A Dutchman: "I had an important message to carry, so I placed it inside my daily newspaper and carried the paper naturally in my hand. I was stopped and searched. I raised my hands over my head, still holding the newspaper in one hand. The stupid Germans didn't pay any attention to the paper. I delivered the message."

A Belgian: "One evening in winter, I was carrying a pistol in each pocket of my overcoat. My hands were in my pockets. When stopped for a search, without waiting for a command, I raised both hands over my head, a pistol in each hand. The Germans searched my coat for weapons, but didn't pay any attention to my hands overhead." A girl, now a Dutch WAC, said her closest call came one day when a German sentry found four pistols on the luggage rack of her bicycle. Asked how she got away, she said simply, "I had one more pistol he didn't find." It's your life soldier.


If resistance is organized, if we encounter organized sabotage or guerilla warfare, there will be considerable transportation of arms and explosives. When searching for such things, make drivers of all farm wagons completely unload their carts, no matter what the load is. The Belgians say that Germans failed to do this. They paid for their failure.

Passengers of vehicles should be required to dismount. They should be kept apart and not allowed to speak until they have been searched. Finally the vehicle should be searched. Allied resistors advise you to make your search as thorough as you can. Look and probe into tank carts. Search fire department vehicles. Search hearses and ambulances. Look into milk cans and the gas generators of converted automobiles, Don't skip anything.


Check points are set up in towns to control dismounted travel by checking the identifications of every German that passes. Allied resistors warn us not to establish our check points always in the same places or at the same hour of the day. Germans will learn their locations and avoid them. Belgian resistors suggest that additional men should be concealed on the approaches at some distance from the check point to pick up anyone who turns back when he sees what is going on. Why won't he risk a check ?

The Belgians say they had "guards" precede them when they were on dangerous missions or traveling without proper papers. When the guard ran into a check point, he (or she) turned back to warn them. French, Dutch and Belgians all agree that it's tough to detect forged identity papers, travel permits, etc. They forged lots of them during the German occupation of their countries. Generally, they say a forged pass is rather new and clean looking, or the color of ink used on it may be slightly different. Compare it with others. Ask the German to give you the data on the card. Suspect him if he hesitates. He may have memorized the false data.


Road blocks to check vehicular traffic should be moved frequently for the same reasons as check points. Here's the way Belgian resistors ran through German road blocks: Armed men lay on each front fender of the car. Others rode inside. At night, the car was driven quietly and without lights to within 50 yards of the road block. Then suddenly, the lights were turned on, blinding the sentries, and everyone began shooting. The car sped through the road block.

To prevent that sort of thing, the Belgians say at least six men are needed to stop and search automobiles and passengers. The six men should be placed in pairs along the road over a total distance of 75 yards. The middle pair does the searching; the other pairs cover them. Barricades on each side of the block point should he built and closed at dark to prevent surprise.


Most of you will be on guard duty in Germany at some time. Double sentries should be posted, never single guards. Here's why: (a) Two resisters work together. One creates an unusual noise, perhaps just by throwing a stone, to attract the guard's attention in one direction. The other attacks from behind with a knife. (b) A couple of good-looking girls come close to the sentry to flirt. One flirts -- the other knifes him. (c) A man, pretending to be drunk, approaches a sentry and talks to him. The sentry may laugh at him and try to send him on his way. When the sentry relaxes, the "drunk" will find his opportunity. One less American soldier.

There are other ways, too, that resisters may work. A parcel or traveling bag set down near a sentry may blow up. That has happened. The job of the second sentry is to cover his buddy, watch for the knife behind his back. Both should be sure to know -- and follow -- the second General Order about being alert.


Our Dutch, French and Belgian allies learned how a guard should work. They learned from the outside, but they learned well. It was their lives at stake. Here's their advice to you. It may mean your life, too. Sentry posts, the time the guard is changed and the location of the guardroom should be changed frequently. Avoid routine in everything. If a German underground fighter knows just what you are going to do next, his job is easy. Whenever possible windows should be screened and wire constructed around buildings at such a distance that grenades or bombs can't be tossed in.

At night the rear of all buildings should be strongly guarded. Double sentries should be posted, one with the sole duty of protecting the other. Guards should be posted under bridges and the surrounding area thoroughly patrolled within a radius of a mile. Waterworks, banks, power stations, factories and telephone centrals should be especially well-guarded. Most vulnerable spots are generators, transformers, switchboards and the places where cables enter the building.


The Belgian officer who lived 11 years in Germany as a member of the Belgian Army of Occupation says this about Germans: "The German mentality generally is not known to American soldiers. Before the war Americans had only commercial relations with Germans. The Germans were dependable businessmen. Americans fought against German troops and found them courageous soldiers. They will meet the real German when they occupy his country. "A German is a liar. He doesn't know the truth; Nazi propaganda has seen to that. Individually he is peaceful enough, but collectively, Germans may become cruel.

The German is very much a patriot and will not stop at murder if he thinks the Reich's greatness depends on it." A Dutch resister warns: "Never trust a German. Every German can be an underground worker who is your friend by day and your enemy by night. Women will try to get information from you by every means they have. When you are suspicious, don't show it; try to get the names of the Germans involved, then start counter-measures. It is most important that you do not trust anybody in occupied Germany. Friendships can be very dangerous."


Here's what a Belgian officer who resisted the German occupation in his country says we may expect in Germany. He knows how he felt in 1940 when Belgium had been overrun and the Belgian army disbanded. "When occupying enemy territory after the collapse, one must count on free survivors of the German Army making all sorts of attacks on Allied soldiers. Surviving German soldiers will try to go back home. They will be bitter, angry, and many of them will still have arms. Individually they will not accept their defeat, but will look forward to doing evil."

Another Belgian resister warns: "If a German underground movement breaks out, it will be merciless. It will be conducted by S.S. and Gestapo agents who don't flinch at murder. They will have operatives everywhere. Every German man, woman and child must be suspected. Punishment must be quick and severe. This is not the same thing as brutality. Allied forces must show their strength but must use it only when necessary."


[From final page: Printed by Imprimerie Nationale - J550223. Booklet designation: 5-45/309 M/77739.]

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