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Italy was allied to both Germany and Austria-Hungary.She was first neutral, but in May 1915, she joined the British and French against her two former allies. would remain neutral until 1917 when Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare and the British interception of the Zimmermann telegram to Mexico forced President Wilson to declare war on 6 April 1917.Note: Text and/or images from article was used with the authors permission in the book Top Secret; Declassifying the Meaning of Life. In 2016, images from this article were used as part of the Willa Cather Foundation exhibit Telling War Stories the Rhetoric of the Great War. Most authorities consider World War 1 as the start of modern psychological operations as we know them.This was due in large part to the availability of mass communication media like radio, modern printing presses, and the innovative and expedient means to deliver the message to the target audience.
When I first considered a study of the WWI psychological operations (PSYOP) of the Central Powers, I asked the renowned propaganda leaflet author and collector Klaus Kirchner if he had gathered much in the way of WWI German and Austria-Hungarian leaflets. The Allied leaflets enraged the Germans, who actually placed captured British pilots who dropped them on trial for their lives. They were charged with "the distribution in September 1917 of pamphlets detrimental to German troops." They were tried, found guilty of treason, and sentenced to 10 years at hard labor.
Their purpose was to unsettle the enemy by letting them know that good food and warm billets awaited them if they choose to surrender. Gazette des Ardennes This 25 July 1917 copy of the German newspaper was found caught in barbed wire along with many other copies... according to a pinned note signed by a Captain C. One can see that the revolution has started and instead of fighting, the Russian troops are debating and walking away from the front.
However these missions were discontinued after it became known throughout the Corps that pilots brought down in enemy territory while dropping leaflets were treated brutally by the enemy. The commanders have decided to shoot the deserters.
Austria-Hungary's reaction to the death of their heir was three weeks in coming.
It issued an ultimatum to Serbia, which demanded that the assassins be brought to justice. In order to protect itself, the Austria-Hungarian government sought assurances that Germany would come to her aid should Russia declare war on Austria-Hungary.