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US Military Pocket Guide Books

The U.S. military, during World War II, printed a series of pocket books for its troops fighting in countries outside of their home. These booklets, each specific to a country, give pointers on how to behave when in the stationed nation, what some of the overall objectives are, and gives cultural guideposts that may be used to navigate a foreign terrain.

PDFs of the guide books are available online from the Central University Libraries of the Southern Methodist University.

As special examples of interest, the World War II era guide book to Iraq is available here, and Iran’s is available here.

An excerpt from the Pocket Guide to Iraq: “American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis (as the people are called) like American soldiers or not. It may not be quite that simple. But then again it could.”

An excerpt from the Pocket Guide to Iran: “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 than a life line. It is a major source of the power that keeps the United Nations’ military machine turning over – oil.”

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