Germany's propaganda machinery
Their Occupation of the Channel Islands provided the Germans with enormous propaganda value. They had occupied part of the territory of their principal opponents as the war effort switched in 1940 from the conquest of Continental Europe to the Battle of Britain, an air war which was intended to be the prelude to Hitler's invasion of mainland Britain.
Phil Le Couteur's Occupation diary remarked:
- "A very considerable propaganda value was derived from the mere occupation of the Islands, and many photographs of the beauty spots appeared in the German press. A German band gave several open-air performances, with photographers in attendance to catch the pleased expressions of the faces of those people who were foolish enough to stand and listen.
- "Another device which was resorted to was to gather a crowd around a loudspeaker van by playing records, and then, with the aid of a catch question, to include people to put up their hands, thus giving a photographic record of British people giving the Nazi salute.
- "On another occasion, a cine-camera was seen operating from a car driven through the streets of the town. Tales were told of photographs appearing in the German press of the Jersey streets being decorated with white flags, each of which had a swastika superimposed on it. Other photographs appearing in the German papers included one of a local bus garage with flames and a blazing plane worked in the background, the latter too clearly marked with the RAF rings — ostensibly to prove, as justification for the bombing raid, that there were British aircraft factories in the Island.
- "The news film of the occupation of the Islands was shown locally. This included pictures of the barges loading cars, lorries and buses, sub-titled The First Spoils of British Occupation.
From the outset the Germans attempted to give the impression that their occupation of the Channel Islands had been accepted by islanders; and even welcomed by some sections of the community. Photographs showing German soldiers accompanied by happy island women and families were initially staged, but as time went by a significant number of local women were to have affairs with Germans leading to their being ostracised by friends and neighbours.