Andy Ritchie

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For more than thirty years, historians have been aware of once-secret memoranda by senior British intelligence official Victor Cavendish-Bentinck in which he casts doubt on the alleged use of homicidal gas chambers by National Socialist Germany. A broader range of British documents tells us more about the role of British propaganda regarding homicidal gassing claims: Britain’s Political Warfare Executive and its predecessor first deployed stories of homicidal gassing as part of propaganda efforts in two areas unconnected to treatment of Jews. Their objective was to spread dissension and demoralization among German soldiers and civilians, and among Germany’s allies. Partly because they knew of these earlier propagandist initiatives, some British intelligence officials disbelieved later stories about homicidal gas chambers.