Monday, June 1, 2009

US Army World War II Pocket Guides

Pocket Guide to China (1943) [pdf]

"China has been at war for 5 years with her enemy and ours -- the Japanese. She has met heavy defeats and won important victories. She has suffered more than 5,000,000 casualties in those years of war. Yet, today, the free people of China are still fighting, still holding a better armed foe. You and your outfit have been ordered to China to help this gallant ally. Your job, fighting side by side with the Chinese, is to rid that country of the Japanese. No American troops anywhere have a more important assignment. Two problems face you right away. You don't know the language and you don't know the people. That makes it harder to be a guest in China than in a country like England or Australia. Nobody expects you to learn a language as complex as Chinese, although the glossary at the end of this book will enable you to learn enough to get along. To understand a people is something else again. It takes a blend of curiosity, common sense, and courtesy. You might well adopt as your motto one of the many proverbs that guide the Chinese in their own conduct. They say... 'When you enter a neighborhood as what is forbidden; when you enter a country ask what the customs are.' It is the purpose of this guide to tell you about some of these customs. It will take you only about 20 minutes to read, but, by helping you to understand China and the Chinese people, it can add interest to your stay in their country and help you to do a better job for America."

A Pocket Guide to Hawaii (1944) [pdf]

"This is about Hawaii, to introduce you to a new country. New countries are like new friends. You can't get to enjoy them until you've learned something about them -- until you know the score. So here's the score on Hawaii... Before the Japanese went berserk, the Hawaiian Islands had three salable products -- sugar, pineapple, and climate. The sugar and pineapple were shipped to the Mainland (continental U. S.) where you ate them. The climate was used by an ever-increasing horde of enthusiastic tourists. It all worked out pretty happily. Then came December 7, 1941 -- and the foul blow that brought us all to Hawaii, soldier, on the way to Tokyo... The first thing you'll notice about the city of Honolulu is that it's full of drug stores, department stores, soda fountains, movies, offices, and even Americans... So you're not as far away from home as you think."

Pocket Guide to Iran (1943) [pdf]

"As an American soldier assigned to duty in Iran (once called Persia), you are undertaking the most important job of your life. There is no other war theater where military success by the United States and her fighting allies will contribute more to final victory over the axis. You've heard a lot of talk in this war about life lines - the sea lanes and land routes by which military supplies flow into the combat zones to be turned against the enemy. Iran is much more that a life line. It is a major source of the power that keeps the United Nations' military machine turning over -- oil. Because of its prime strategic value, Iran in the only country in the world where the armies of three of the United Nations -- Great Britain, Russia, and the United States -- are operating in daily touch with each other. This combination of great powers, cooperating in the defense of Iran, is a clear-cut indication of the decisive importance of the task you and your outfit have been called upon to do. You, as an American, have a responsibility that goes beyond the ordinary military duties required of you. Your country has a reputation throughout the world for decency and unselfishness in its dealings with other nations. That reputation is a major asset for us in this global war. By your actions you can uphold it or destroy it. Accordingly, it is part of your job to establish and maintain friendly relations with the soldiers of our Allies -- Russia and Great Britain -- and with the people of Iran (Iranis). Most of those you meet won't know very much about Americans, except by reputation. They will watch to see how you act and what you do and will probably say to themselves: 'So, this is what Americans are like.' And what they think of us will have much to do with our military success or failure. It isn't a very difficult job. You'll be expected to act pretty much as you would at home, using your common sense to tell you what to do when you run into a tough situation. You'll be expected to keep your mouth shut and your eyes open even after you are sure of your ground. And you'll need to respect the ways of thinking and doing things of the Iranis and of the British and Russian soldiers, no matter how different they may be from your own. If you adopt the attitude that we Americans don't know all the answers and that the world doesn't revolve around Kankakee, Ill., you won't be very far off the target in your dealings with other peoples. Beyond a spirit of tolerance and a willingness to meet the other fellow half way, the thing you'll need most in order to get along in Iran is information. Your opinion of the country and the people will never be any better than your knowledge of them. As you exercise your curiosity and gain fresh knowledge, you will increase your efficiency as a soldier and will add personal value and pleasure to a tough job. This guidebook is to help you move in that direction, but it is little more than a preview. A smart soldier will soon know far more about the country than is to be found between these covers. That is the target to shoot at, and there is no better way to begin getting acquainted with the country than by understanding Iran's present position in this global war."

A Short Guide to Iraq (1943) [pdf]

"You have been ordered to Iraq (i - RAHK) as part of the world-wide offensive to beat Hitler... American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis (as the people are called) like American soldiers or not... Herr Hitler knows he's licked if the peoples united against him stand their ground. So it is pretty obvious what he and his propaganda machine are trying to do. They're trying to spread disunity and discontent among their opponents whenever and wherever they can... One of your big jobs is to prevent Hitler's agents from getting in their dirty work. The best way you can do this is by getting along with the Iraqis and making them your friends. And the best way to get along with any people is to understand them. That is what this guide is for. To help you understand the people and the country so that you can do the best and quickest job of sending Hitler back where he came from. And, secondly, so that you as a human being will get the most out of an experience few Americans have been lucky enough to have. Years from now you'll be telling your children and maybe your grandchildren stories beginning, 'Now when I was in Baghdad ----.'"

Pocket Guide to New Caledonia (1943) [pdf]

"You and your outfit have come to New Caledonia not only as friends to help guard the strategic interest of the United Nations in a distant and vital corner of the world, but virtually as discoverers. The island of the Free French has been the home of Frenchmen for more than a century, but few Americans have been there, and few know anything about it. This guidebook now in your hand is the first guide of any kind ever published to inform Americans on New Caledonia. Its purpose is to introduce you to the country and facilitate your learning more about a people whose love of freedom is as great as our own. If you are an alert soldier, the time should come quickly when you know more about the country than is to be found in the guidebook... The more you learn of New Caledonia, the better you discharge your duty as an American. The position of this island is of great importance to the security of our country. One glance at the map will tell you why. To win the war, we must keep the freedom of the seas and continue the movement of our fighting materials to our allies and to our own forces. New Caledonia stands guard over the Pacific lifeline which joins our strength with Australia and with the Dutch who still give battle to the enemy in some of the islands of the East Indies. You are fortunate that this island is to be your station for the time being... If you take care of yourself, you will thrive on the island, and will find yourself among friends. The trail has been well blazed for you. The conduct of you fellow soldiers in New Caledonia has been good. They have not only adjusted themselves easily to their situation but have won the respect and admiration of the New Caledonians. The men of New Caledonia are anxious to get at the enemy. They believe that they are the best soldiers in the Pacific. When men think that way, so they are."

Pocket Guide to New Zealand (1943) [pdf]

"You are going to New Zealand. You are going there because it is one of the main bases of the United Nations in the Pacific and one of our principal stepping stones on the road to Tokyo. Since you will be a guest of the New Zealand people it seems a good idea for you to know a little about them. Always remember that it is to our enemies' advantage to sow seeds of discord between us and our allies, and it is to our advantage to understand them and to make them our friends. You are going to meet people who, in many ways, are much like ourselves. For although New Zealand is on the other side of the world from us, its people are about midway between the British and ourselves in manner and culture. Only the last generation of New Zealanders have given up referring to Britain as 'home'. On the other hand, being pioneers, they have developed along much the same lines as Americans. They have been seeing our movies, listening to our radio, and reading our magazines -- and their chief visitors have been Americans. So, you will meet a people with some of the British reserve, with may British methods and institutions, but with American outspokenness and directness -- plus a working knowledge of American slang... The New Zealanders are a hospitable people... [t]hey like Americans and have enjoyed meeting the U. S. troops that have preceded you. They appreciate the help that we have been able to send them but whatever you do, don't get the idea that you are going there to protect a helpless people. The New Zealanders are doing their full share in this war and have been in there pitching since 1939. They are already fully mobilized."

A pocket Guide to North Africa (1943) [pdf]

"You are to do duty in North Africa as a soldier of the United States, and this guidebook has been prepared to assist you in serving in a strange country as well as to give you a more complete understanding of why you are fighting there and to make your service a more worthwhile personal experience... Our Armed Forces are bringing North Africa under control, and from this base they will make the entry into Europe which will become the death wound of the Nazi and Fascist dictators and of their forces. You are a part of the great enterprise. How well you fight and work and how properly you conduct yourself in North Africa will mean much in furthering the cause of your country and her Allies... Instruction in how to cope with the natural difficulties of your position, including how to maintain yourself in desert country and how to deal with your enemies, is primarily the responsibility of your commanders. The purpose of this book is to keep you from making mistakes in your dealings with the people of North Africa so that the United States will have their friendship and its armed forces will have their cooperation."

A Short Guide to Syria (1943) [pdf]

"Your unit has been ordered to Syria. Soon you will be standing on the shores of a sea or on a desert which has played a great part in world history. You, an American soldier, are no one of the countless fighting men, over the past two thousand years, who have tramped across this neck of land connecting Europe and Asia. Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon -- all have struggled on this land for world dominion. Here two great religions -- Christianity and Judaism -- sprang up. Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Roman, Turkish and European civilizations have left a mark on Syria's sparsely inhabited lands. And for three centuries, waves of Crusaders from Europe fought the Saracens for possession of this Holy Land. You are in Syria to fight -- and to win -- against Hitler, who seeks world domination. And a big part of your job is to make friends for your cause -- because this is a war of ideas, just as much as of tanks, planes and guns. You're here to prevent Hitler from taking over this strategic land. He's tried once and probably will again. That's why the Free French and the British occupied Syria in July 1941. Under the League of Nations, France was given a mandate over Syria after World War I. When France surrendered in World War II, German 'tourists' began to filter into the desert. Then the British and Free French acted to protect the oil fields and pipe lines and guard this 'land bridge' to Asia. Your coming will be welcome to Syrians. In fact, at the end of the last war, Syria fought to be placed under American mandate protection. And, too, many Syrians have been educated at the American University at Beirut. So, you are in a friendly country and you won't have much trouble making friends, if you use ordinary horse sense in your dealings with the people of this land. But, with the best intentions in the world, you're likely to make serious mistakes, if you don't learn a little something about Syrians and their ways of doing things. This pamphlet will help to give you a quick picture of Syria which may make it easier to get along."

Pocket guide to West Africa (1943) [pdf]

"In West Africa you will be playing an important role in the world-wide strategy to smash Hitler and the Axis. On Africa's West Coast you will be guarding vital supply lines to North Africa, Egypt, India, Russia, and even China. From this region must come much needed strategic materials for our own war machine and for all of the United Nations. The Nazis had been waiting for the chance to execute their elaborate plans for the exploitation of Africa's vast resources and labor supply. Your presence in West Africa means that these plans have been put on ice. Thus you are striking a hard blow at Hitler, and at Hirohito, too. Before the war not many Americans visited West Africa. But America was well-known there for American goods are popular. Educated West Africans have long stressed the liberality of Americans ideals and policies... Many West Africans know the story of the independent Negro Republic of Liberia and America's role in creating it. In their minds Americans symbolize friendliness and a square deal... West Africa may seem strange to you at first, but you will soon find it easy to feel at home. Both the Europeans (these will mainly be English and French) and the Africans like and respect America and Americans. They will be very friendly to you and will expect in return only that you respect them and their way of doing things. Good will toward America is a valuable asset and you will want to protect it. You will understand that not only you as an individual but also your nation will be judged by how you act and what you say. Even this brief introduction to West Africa, its people, and customs may aid in avoiding anything that might stir up suspicion or even hatred of Americans - and thus serve Hitler's cause."

more WWII Pocket Guides at
Southern Methodist University's digital collection [link]
some can also be found on [link]
also see The Arabists commentary on the guides to Iraq [link] and Iran [link]


Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

One guide missing at your links was the guide to Australia which can be found at

joel. said...

nice. i never saw the australia one. thanks for the link.

here are links to some other guides that i didn't post:
-great britain [link]
-germany [link]
-egypt [link]
-nothern ireland [link]
-italian cities [link]
-paris and the cities of northern france [link]
-cities of southern france [link]
-cities of denmark [link]
-cities of norway [link]
-cities of the netherlands [link]
-cities of belgium and luxembourg [link]

if anyone has links to any more then please share.

*please cite or link when reposting*