German subversive activity

Warning of subversive activity, 1915 – extract from a larger document (catalogue reference WO 106/5443)

This document comes from instructions given to all units of the British Army in India warning them of subversive activities among the troops.

This extract shows concerted efforts made by Germany to win over Indian troops to undermine British rule in India. As Turkey had joined Germany as an ally, the Germans especially focused their propaganda on winning the support of the Muslim soldiers.


3. German Plot to distribute seditious pamphlets in the Indian army.

In a communiqué from the Secretary of State, published in the “Times” of 19th March 1915 and reproduced in the Indian papers, the existence of an elaborate German plot is mentioned as having as its object the incitement of the Indians and the Indian Army to mutiny and the seduction from their neutrality of Afghanistan and Persia to a hostile combination with Turkey against the British Government. An important part of this intrigue was to be the distribution through a number of agents of leaflets in English and a number of Indian vernaculars. The information obtained was proved by the discovery of several thousand of violently inflammatory leaflets among the effects of Herr Wassmuss, formerly German Consul at Bushire, leader of the anti-British mission, who is now German Consul at Shiraz in Persia…


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