Wednesday, June 1, 2016

On Psychological Warfare

On Psychological Warfare: Sometimes called "psychological operations" or PSY-OPS, the struggle to decimate an enemy's morale (or fighting spirit) has probably been around since the Punic Wars when Hannibal brought war elephants to battle the Romans. Ironically, there was a German mortar/rocket launcher (Der Nebelwerfer) from WWII that sounded eerily similar to Hannibal's elephants. Nevertheless, at its core, psychological warfare is about intimidation. Anything from printing newspapers/leaflets to broadcasting subliminal messages to amplifying ominous sounds can be considered part of psych warfare. Perhaps there was no greater master of psychological warfare than the German military, especially during the 1930s/40s. From V-1 rockets whose engines emitted a pulsating buzz to Stuka planes (dive bombers) whose propellers wailed like sirens, the German military certainly understood the value of mass demoralization. In fact, by the end of WWII, the Germans had launched around 10,000 V-1s, with about 2,500 striking London. And since these rockets were unguided, they basically fell to Earth after their engines died (scary stuff).

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