World War II Advice: Defeat The Enemy By Being A Terrible Employee

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iStock

At the height of World War II, with the Allied powers battling the encroaching Axis powers on multiple fronts, any little bit of assistance helped. Though citizens in the United States, Britain, France, and other similarly minded nations could freely dedicate their efforts to defeating Germany, Italy, and Japan, residents of those rival countries sympathetic to the Allied cause had little recourse to openly offer any help. To tap into those suppressed networks of support, the Office of Strategies Services (precursor to the modern CIA) published a “Simple Sabotage Field Manual,” distributed by pamphlet and targeted international broadcast.

The instructions direct ordinary citizens to obstruct the functioning of their local governments and economies with a series of outwardly normal, but secretly disruptive actions. According to the manual’s introduction [PDF], “sabotage varies from highly technical coup de main acts that require detailed planning and the use of specially trained operatives, to innumerable simple acts which the ordinary individual citizen-saboteur can perform.” Luckily for that ordinary citizen, “simple sabotage does not require specially prepared tools or equipment […] and it is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal.” 

The suggested acts range from openly seditious (start fires, slash military vehicle tires) to brilliantly subtle, the latter variety of which read hilariously like a guide for how to be terrible at your job:

For train conductors: “Make mistakes in issuing train tickets, leaving portions of the journey uncovered by the ticket book; issue two tickets for the same seat in the train, so that an interesting argument will result.” “Make life as uncomfortable as possible for passengers. See that the food is especially bad, take up tickets after midnight, call station stops very loudly during the night, handle baggage as loudly as possible.” “Switch address labels on enemy baggage.”

FOR FARMERS

“Feed crops to livestock.” “Spoil fruits and vegetables by leaving them in the sun.”

FOR MAINTENANCE WORKERS

“Be inefficient in cleaning.” “Jam paper, bits of wood, hairpins, and anything else that will fit, into the locks of all unguarded entrances to public buildings.” “Forget to provide paper in toilets.”

FOR RIVERBOAT CAPTAINS

“Spread false rumors about the navigability and conditions of the waterways they travel. Tell other barge and boat captains to follow channels that will take extra time, or cause them to make canal detours.”

FOR MOVIE THEATER PROJECTIONISTS

“Ruin newsreels and other enemy propaganda films by bad focusing, speeding up or slowing down the film and by causing frequent breakage in the film.”

FOR RADIO ENGINEERS

“Overmodulate transmissions of talks by persons giving enemy propaganda or instructions, so that they will sound as if they were talking 'through a heavy cotton blanket with a mouth full of marbles.”

FOR TELEPHONE SWITCHBOARD OPERATORS

”Delay putting enemy calls through, give them wrong numbers, cut them off ‘accidentally,’ or forget to disconnect them so that the line cannot be used again.” “Tell important callers the boss is busy.”

FOR BUS DRIVERS

“Go past the stop where the enemy wants to get off.”

FOR TAXI DRIVERS

“Waste the enemy’s time and make extra money by driving the longest possible route to his destination.”

FOR COAL MINERS

“A slight blow against your Davy oil lamp will extinguish it, and to light it again you will have to find a place where there is no fire damp. Take a long time looking for the place.” “Send up quantities of rock and other useless material with the coal.”

FOR OFFICE WORKERS

“Misfile essential documents.” “Multiply paper work in plausible ways. Start duplicate files.” “Make mistakes in quantities of material when you are copying orders. Confuse similar names. Use wrong addresses.” “Even it you understand the language, pretend not to understand instructions in a foreign tongue.” “Spread disturbing rumors that sound like inside dope.”

FOR ADMINISTRATORS

“Insist on doing everything through ‘channels.’ Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.” “Make ‘speeches.’ Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your points by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate ‘patriotic’ comments.” “When possible, refer all matters to committees, for ‘further study and consideration.’ Attempt to make the committees as large as possible - never less than five.” “Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.” “Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.”

And for ordinary folks with no opportunity to engage in any of these other acts of simple sabotage, the OSS has a number of suggestions for actions anyone can take, from prank calls to general rudeness: “Hamper official and especially military business by making at least one telephone call a day to an enemy headquarters; when you get them, tell them you have the wrong number. Call military or police offices and make anonymous false reports of fires, air raids, bombs.” “Audiences can ruin enemy propaganda films by applauding to drown the words of the speaker, by coughing loudly, and by talking.” “Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or police.” “When the enemy asks for directions, give him wrong information.” “Act stupid.”

Under “Possible Effects,” the manual declares that “occurring on a wide scale, simple sabotage will be a constant and tangible drag on the war effort of the enemy.” While there’s no measurable data on how many people were inspired by the distributed pamphlets to subvert the Axis powers from within, that might even be considered a sign of their success; after all, no one was ever outed as an enemy sympathizer simply for being very bad at their job. However, decades later, the war long over, some of these actions still seem suspiciously prevalent in particularly inefficient workplaces everywhere. If anything here seems too familiar, keep an eye out for possible subversives among you—or maybe just nudge your coworkers to pick up the slack.

[h/t Business Insider]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Longest Movie Ever Made Would Take You More Than 35 Days to Watch Straight Through

Nishant Kirar, Unsplash
Nishant Kirar, Unsplash

A typical movie lasts between 90 minutes and two hours, and for some viewers, any film that exceeds that window is "long." But the longest film you've ever seen likely has nothing on Logistics—a record-breaking project released in Sweden in 2012. Clocking in at a total runtime of 35 days and 17 hours, Logistics is by far the longest movie ever made.

Logistics isn't your standard Hollywood epic. Conceived and directed by Swedish filmmakers Erika Magnusson and Daniel Andersson, it's an experimental film that lacks any conventional structure. The concept started with the question: Where do all the gadgets come from? Magnusson and Andersson attempted to answer that question by following the life cycle of a pedometer.

The story begins at a store in Stockholm, where the item is sold, then moves backwards to chronicle its journey to consumers. Logistics takes viewers on a truck, a freight train, a massive container ship, and finally to a factory in China's Bao'an district. The trip unfolds in real time, so audiences get an accurate sense of the time and distance required to deliver gadgets to the people who use them on the other side of the world.

Many people would have trouble sitting through some of the longest conventional films in history. Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996) lasts 242 minutes, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Cleopatra (1963) is a whopping 248 minutes long. But sitting down to watch all 857 hours of Logistics straight through is nearly physically impossible.

Fortunately, it's not the only way to enjoy this work of art. On the project's website, Logistics has been broken down into short, two-minute clips—one for each day of the journey. You can watch the abridged version of the epic experiment here.