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Author Topic: The Money of War  (Read 87611 times)
Alan65
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« on: 25 March 2009, 16:28:14 »
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Perhaps this will grow into a separate area of this section, I don't know, but I thought I'd begin posting another aspect of my 'paper collection of wars', the currency and banknotes used during wartime.  These will be military payment script, government issued currency, occupation currency and bank-issued notes in circulation as money; what people carried around with them, bought and sold during war time.  The first listings will be for notes used and issued during WWII.

At some point I will try to find a way to give an idea of what such notes could buy--what is a Franc in WWII, or a dollar or peso worth at the time?

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Alan65
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« Reply #1 on: 25 March 2009, 16:30:42 »
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Algerian 5 Franc banknote from the 1941 issue.  At this time Algeria was Vichy, occupied by French troops.  This note is identical to those of the 1920s and '30s except for the date--no change in government as far as the French and Algerians were concerned (officially) thus no change in currency design.


Except for the date in the center--this one is from the 1929 series--the Algerian 20 Franc note design did not change between September 1914 and March 1942.  This example could have still been circulating during WWII.


The Bank of Algeria, Banque de L'Algerie, opened and operated under Allied occupation during 1942-43.  This 5 franc note is from the first series, dated 16 November, 1942, and was issued for Algerians and general circulation.
« Last Edit: 25 March 2009, 16:42:58 by Alan65 » Logged
Alan65
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« Reply #2 on: 25 March 2009, 16:48:19 »
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this note was issued by the Alliierte Militarbehorde, the Allied Military Authority, for Austria in 1944.  It is a 1 Schilling note printed in England or Austria depending on the watermark.
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Alan65
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« Reply #3 on: 25 March 2009, 16:55:39 »
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The Belgian 20 franc note of the early 1940s.  This design came out in January of 1940 but was not changed under German occupation thus King Albert and Queen Elisabeth are still seen on this 1943 issue.


Flemish language side of the 10 franc/2 belgas Banque Nationale de Belgique note issued by the Kingdom in Exile in 1943-44.

 
and the French language side of the 5 franc/1 Belga note of the same series.
« Last Edit: 25 March 2009, 17:00:49 by Alan65 » Logged
Alan65
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« Reply #4 on: 25 March 2009, 17:07:44 »
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This 20 korun note is from Bohenia and Moravia and was issued on 24 January, 1944.  Bohemia & Moravia was officially a Protectorate from March 1939 until 1945; it was/is, of course, a part of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) before and after these dates when Czech currency was/is used.  The boy is no one in particular, just a typical or archetypical Bohemian boy.
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Alan65
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« Reply #5 on: 25 March 2009, 17:15:13 »
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From 1942-44 the Japanese government issued occupation currency for Burma.  There were 1-, 5-, 10-cent denominations; 1/4-, 1/2-, 1-, 10- and 100-rupee notes as well.


10-cent Burma note, 1942 under Japanese occupation.

A quarter (1/4) rupee note, under Japanese occupation, 1942.

10-rupee note, 1942-44 (inflation did away with 1-cent, 5-cent etc. later in the war), under Japanese occupation.
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Alan65
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« Reply #6 on: 25 March 2009, 17:20:07 »
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This design for the Canadian 1 dollar banknote was first issued in 1937, used throughout WWII, and finally replace by a design with Queen Elizabeth II in 1954.


Here is the 2 dollar design in the same series.
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Alan65
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« Reply #7 on: 26 March 2009, 18:25:28 »
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The 10 yuan note from the Republic of China government, 1941.  The '30s and '40s were a time when new bank issues came out nearly every year; the country was controlled by different governments and warlords in different areas and currency was issued quite often.  This, of course, made its value lower than otherwise would be in a stable state.


The 20 yuan note from the same 1941 banknote series.


Here is the back of the 1942 10 yuan China banknote.  Military themes found their way into everyday life at this time in history.


This is the 5 yuan 1941 issue from the Bank of Communications, one of several banks issuing its own currency in China at this time.


5 yuan note, 1941, from the National Bank of China.


Central Bank of China 100 yuan note from 1941.


and the Central Bank's 1942 500 yuan note.



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Alan65
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« Reply #8 on: 26 March 2009, 18:30:24 »
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Curacao 1 gulden banknote from 1942.  The image is of Mercury sitting between two ships. this design was used throughout the 1940s; this one is dated 1942 on the back.
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Alan65
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« Reply #9 on: 27 March 2009, 23:14:31 »
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1944 5 Crown note issued by the Czechoslovak Republic but printed in Moscow.
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Alan65
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« Reply #10 on: 27 March 2009, 23:18:32 »
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Egyptian 10 piastres note. This design was first used in 1940 and continued until 1952.


the front of the 5 piastres note of the same series.

and this is the second type of 5 piastre note from the 1940 Law series.
« Last Edit: 27 March 2009, 23:24:30 by Alan65 » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: 27 March 2009, 23:27:50 »
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This is the 2 shilling banknote from 1942.  For some reason, this is one of my favorites; its design is like the early currency of the American colonies and is 'uniface', meaning the back is blank.
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« Reply #12 on: 27 March 2009, 23:33:20 »
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- image (see original post), not quoted -

The 10 yuan note from the Republic of China government, 1941.  The '30s and '40s were a time when new bank issues came out nearly every year; the country was controlled by different governments and warlords in different areas and currency was issued quite often.  This, of course, made its value lower than otherwise would be in a stable state.

- image (see original post), not quoted -

The 20 yuan note from the same 1941 banknote series.

- image (see original post), not quoted -

Here is the back of the 1942 10 yuan China banknote.  Military themes found their way into everyday life at this time in history.

- image (see original post), not quoted -

This is the 5 yuan 1941 issue from the Bank of Communications, one of several banks issuing its own currency in China at this time.

- image (see original post), not quoted -

5 yuan note, 1941, from the National Bank of China.

- image (see original post), not quoted -

Central Bank of China 100 yuan note from 1941.

- image (see original post), not quoted -

and the Central Bank's 1942 500 yuan note.


Here a nice take on money and bills and how banks worked from one of my favorite books about those times (Neal Stephenson´s Cryptonomicon) to put things into perspective with respect to China at those times and what the USMC lived:

Quote
...
Two tires fly. Two wail.
A bamboo grove, all chopped down
From it, warring songs

....is the best that Corporal Bobby Shaftoe can do on short notice - he's standing on the running board, gripping his Springfield with one hand and the rearview mirror with the other, so counting the syllables on his fingers is out of the question. Is "tires'' one syllable or two? How about "wail?'' The truck finally makes up its mind not to tip over, and thuds back onto four wheels. The wail - and the moment - are lost. Bobby can still hear the coolies singing, though, and now too there's the gunlike snicking of the truck's clutch linkage as Private Wiley downshifts. Could Wiley be losing his nerve? And, in the back, under the tarps, a ton and a half of file cabinets clanking, code books slaloming, fuel spanking the tanks of Station Alpha's electrical generator. The modern world's hell on haiku writers: "Electrical generator'' is, what, eight syllables? You couldn't even fit that onto the second line!

"Are we allowed to run over people?'' Private Wiley inquires, and then mashes the horn button before Bobby Shaftoe can answer. A Sikh policeman hurdles a night soil cart. Shaftoe's gut reaction is: Sure, what're they going to do, declare war on us? but as the highest-ranking man on this truck he's probably supposed to be using his head or something, so he doesn't blurt it out just yet. He takes stock of the situation:

Shanghai, 1645 hours, Friday, the 28th of November 1941. Bobby Shaftoe, and the other half-dozen Marines on his truck, are staring down the length of Kiukiang Road, onto which they've just made this careening high-speed turn. Cathedral's going by to the right, so that means they are, what? two blocks away from the Bund. A Yangtze River Patrol gunboat is tied up there, waiting for the stuff they've got in the back of this truck. The only real problem is that those particular two blocks are inhabited by about five million Chinese people.

Now these Chinese are sophisticated urbanites, not suntanned yokels who've never seen cars before - they'll get out of your way if you drive fast and honk your horn. And indeed many of them flee to one side of the street or the other, producing the illusion that the truck its moving faster than the forty-three miles an hour shown on its speedometer.

But the bamboo grove in Bobby Shaftoe's haiku has not been added just to put a little Oriental flavor into the poem and wow the folks back home in Oconomowoc. There is a lot of heavy bamboo in front of this truck, dozens of makeshift turnpikes blocking their path to the river, for the officers of the U.S. Navy's Asiatic Fleet, and of the Fourth Marines, who dreamed up this little operation forgot to take the Friday Afternoon factor into account. As Bobby Shaftoe could've explained to them, if only they'd bothered to ask a poor dumb jarhead, their route took them through the heart of the banking district. Here you've got the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank of course, City Bank, Chase Manhattan, the Bank of America, and BBME and the Agricultural Bank of China and any number of crappy little provincial banks, and several of those banks have contracts with what's left of the Chinese Government to print currency. It must be a cutthroat business because they slash costs by printing it on old newspapers, and if you know how to read Chinese, you can see last year's news stories and polo scores peeking through the colored numbers and pictures that transform these pieces of paper into legal tender.

As every chicken-peddler and rickshaw operator in Shanghai knows, the money-printing contracts stipulate that all of the bills these banks print have to be backed by such-and-such an amount of silver; i.e., anyone should be able to walk into one of those banks at the end of Kiukiang Road and slap down a pile of bills and (provided that those bills were printed by that same bank) receive actual metallic silver in exchange.

Now if China weren't right in the middle of getting systematically drawn and quartered by the Empire of Nippon, it would probably send official bean counters around to keep tabs on how much silver was actually present in these banks' vaults, and it would all be quiet and orderly. But as it stands, the only thing keeping these banks honest is the other banks.

Here's how they do it: During the normal course of business, lots of paper money will pass over the counters of (say) Chase Manhattan Bank. They'll take it into a back room and sort it, throwing into money boxes (a couple of feet square and a yard deep, with ropes on the four corners) all of the bills that were printed by (say) Bank of America in one, all of the City Bank bills into another. Then, on Friday afternoon they will bring in coolies. Each coolie, or pair of coolies, will of course have his great big long bamboo pole with him - a coolie without his pole is like a China Marine without his nickel-plated bayonet - and will poke their pole through the ropes on the corners of the box. Then one coolie will get underneath each end of the pole, hoisting the box into the air. They have to move in unison or else the box begins flailing around and everything gets out of whack. So as they head towards their destination - whatever bank whose name is printed on the bills in their box - they sing to each other, and plant their feet on the pavement in time to the music. The pole's pretty long, so they are that far apart, and they have to sing loud to hear each other, and of course each pair of coolies in the street is singing their own particular song, trying to drown out all of the others so that they don't get out of step.

So ten minutes before closing time on Friday afternoon, the doors of many banks burst open and numerous pairs of coolies march in singing, like the curtain-raiser on a fucking Broadway musical, slam their huge boxes of tattered currency down, and demand silver in exchange. All of the banks do this to each other. Sometimes, they'll all do it on the same Friday, particularly at times like 28 November 1941, when even a grunt like Bobby Shaftoe can understand that it's better to be holding silver than piles of old cut-up newspaper. And that is why, once the normal pedestrians and food-cart operators and furious Sikh cops have scurried out of the way, and plastered themselves up against the clubs and shops and bordellos on Kiukiang Road, Bobby Shaftoe and the other Marines on the truck still cannot even see the gunboat that is their destination, because of this horizontal forest of mighty bamboo poles. They cannot even hear the honking of their own truck horn because of the wild throbbing pentatonic cacophony of coolies singing. This ain't just your regular Friday P.M. Shanghai bank-district money-rush. This is an ultimate settling of accounts before the whole Eastern Hemisphere catches fire. The millions of promises printed on those slips of bumwad will all be kept or broken in the next ten minutes; actual pieces of silver and gold will move, or they won't. It is some kind of fiduciary Judgment Day.

"Jesus Christ, I can't - '' Private Wiley hollers.

"The captain said don't stop for any reason whatsofuckinever,'' Shaftoe reminds him. He's not telling Wiley to run over the coolies, he's reminding Wiley that if he refrains from running over them, they will have some explaining to do - which will be complicated by the fact that the captain is right behind them in a car stuffed with Tommy Gun-toting China Marines. And from the way the captain's been acting about this Station Alpha thing, it's pretty clear that he already has a few preliminary strap marks on his ass, courtesy of some admiral in Pearl Harbor or even (drumroll) Marine Barracks, Eight and Eye Streets Southeast, Washington, D.C.


Rattler
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« Reply #13 on: 28 March 2009, 00:04:22 »
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This was the 5 franc note in circulation when the French declared war in 1939.

and the 10 franc banknote from the same series.

100 francs banknote from 1939.

A 50 francs note from 1941, Jacques Coeur on the front.


1943 issue of French 5 francs banknote, Pyrenean shephard pictured on the front.


1942 10-franc banknote with a miner on the front (the back has farm woman with a baby in her arms)


20 franc note from 1942 showing a Breton fisherman on the front.





these notes are all in the first series of the Allied Military currency issued for use in France in 1944; they were printed in Boston.  The 2-, 5- and 10-franc notes are small and square; the 50- (and 100-, 500-, 1000- and 5000-francs which I don't have!) are larger, more the shape and size of US currency.

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Alan65
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« Reply #14 on: 28 March 2009, 00:09:36 »
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Here a nice take on money and bills and how banks worked from one of my favorite books about those times (Neal Stephenson´s Cryptonomicon) to put things into perspective with respect to China at those times and what the USMC lived:

Rattler


One of my favorite books! Have you read his Baroque Cycle?
Wait until you see my posts for the 1930s Chinese banknotes; they go in a different topic as they are more numerous.
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Alan65
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« Reply #15 on: 28 March 2009, 00:11:55 »
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the 1945 French Indo-china issue of 1 piastre, printed by the American Banknote Company (the ABNC printed US stamps and foreign currency around the world.)
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Alan65
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« Reply #16 on: 28 March 2009, 00:17:51 »
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OK, first--French West Africa (Africque Occidentale Francaise) consisted of the current countries of Mauritania, Senegal, Dahomey, French Sudan, Ivory Coast Upper Volta, Niger, French Guinea and Togo.
This is the 5 franc note from 1942.


1944 1 franc note.
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Alan65
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« Reply #17 on: 28 March 2009, 00:29:42 »
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This 5 Reichsmark note was issued starting 1 August 1942.




These three examples show the Allied Occupation currency printed in 1944 for use in Germany which are obviously very similar to the French notes and as you'll see the Italian issues.  Besides the 1/2-, 1- and 20-mark denominations, there were 5-, 10-, 50-, 100- and 1000-mark issues.
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Alan65
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« Reply #18 on: 28 March 2009, 00:41:20 »
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this 1-cent note (yes, Hong Kong had paper currency for denominations as small as 1 cent) was in circulation starting in 1941.  the notes are very small--less than 3 inches/about 7.5 cm across and were not good for sums over 1 dollar, ie. if you had 200 of them, you couldn't pay a 2 dollar amount.

My wife was born and raised in Hong Kong and my father-in-law was in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded (he was 11 yrs old) so I love Hong Kong currency more than most.
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Alan65
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« Reply #19 on: 28 March 2009, 00:45:45 »
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yes, I even have Iceland WWII currency. . . Brede lach


This design is for what is called the Emergency WWII issue; the serial numbers tell us what year the note is from--this one corresponds to 1945--but the design was issued from 1941-47.  the paper is very fragile, it seems thinner than most and almost 'waxy'.
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