Author Topic: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany  (Read 2656 times)

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Offline <k>

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Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« on: April 14, 2019, 03:18:15 PM »
By the end of World War 2, Soviet troops had advanced into Berlin and across much of Central and Eastern Europe. The victorious Allies - the USA, the UK, the USSR and latterly France, rearranged the map of Europe.

The Soviet Union absorbed the Baltic States and kept the territorial gains it had previously made under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. East Prussia was lost to Germany and largely split between Poland and Russia.

Meanwhile, there were mass expulsions of ethnic Germans from countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Thousands of Germans died, and millions fled to the reduced territory of Germany proper.



From Wikipedia:

Upon the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, the victorious Allies asserted joint authority and sovereignty over 'Germany as a whole', defined as all territories of the former German Reich west of the Oder–Neisse line, having declared the destruction of Nazi Germany at the death of Adolf Hitler (see 1945 Berlin Declaration). The four powers divided 'Germany as a whole' into four occupation zones for administrative purposes, under the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union respectively; creating what became collectively known as Allied-occupied Germany. This division was ratified at the Potsdam Conference (17 July to 2 August 1945). The four zones were as agreed in February 1945 by the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union meeting at the Yalta Conference.



Germany's capital city, Berlin, was also divided between the four Allies, although geographically the city was surrounded by the Soviet Zone.

See: Allied-occupied Germany.

France also occupied and administered the Saar Protectorate.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2019, 03:37:36 PM »
After the horrors of World War 2, the Allies were at first keen to de-industrialise Germany, so that it would never be able to become a significant power again. Initially the USA even co-operated in dismantling industrial plant in its zone of Germany and handing it over to the Soviets. The French, whose country had been occupied by the Nazis, were especially bitter against Germany.

Gradually, however, the Soviets by various means pressured the countries of Eastern and Central Europe to adopt communist-dominated governments. This alarmed the West, and the USA in particular.



From Wikipedia:

The Truman Doctrine was an American foreign policy whose stated purpose was to counter Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War. It was announced to Congress by President Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947, and further developed on July 12, 1948, when he pledged to contain threats in Greece and Turkey. Direct American military force was usually not involved, but Congress appropriated financial aid to support the economies and militaries of Greece and Turkey. More generally, the Truman Doctrine implied American support for other nations allegedly threatened by Soviet communism. The Truman Doctrine became the foundation of American foreign policy, and led, in 1949, to the formation of NATO, a military alliance that is still in effect. Historians often use Truman's speech to date the start of the Cold War.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2019, 03:53:37 PM »
At first, the war-weary American public really had not wanted more involvement in Europe. It was not keen to spend American money on helping Germany or Europe. Nor did France wish to co-operate in helping Germany.

From Wikipedia:

During the first two years of occupation the occupying powers of France, United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union were not able to successfully negotiate a possible currency reform in Germany. Due to the strains between the Allies each zone was governed independently as regards monetary matters. The US occupation policy was governed by the directive JCS 1067 (in effect until July 1947), which forbade the US military governor "to take any steps to strengthen German financial structure". As a consequence a separate monetary reform in the U.S. zone was not possible. Each of the Allies printed its own occupation currency.

See: Germany coinage of the Allied occupation, 1945 to 1948.



However, after the brutal 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état, when the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, with Soviet backing, assumed undisputed control over the government of Czechoslovakia, France and the USA dropped their objections to co-operating to help Germany.

Previously the Allied focus had been on de-Nazification. Now the priority was to contain Stalin and his Soviets. Truman told his Americans that it was impossible to regenerate Europe without regenerating Germany. Alarmed by Soviet expansion, the Americans were behind him as he then launched the Marshall Plan, spending billions of dollars to regenerate Western Europe's economies. The three Western Allies in Germany - the USA, the UK and France - then saw that they had to co-operate in producing a common currency for West Germany.

 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 08:18:37 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2019, 03:56:09 PM »
From Wikipedia:

The Bank deutscher Länder (Bank of German States), abbreviation BdL, was the first central bank for the Deutsche Mark. It was founded on 1 March 1948 and was replaced in 1957 by the Deutsche Bundesbank.

The main task of the BdL was to manage currency policy in the American and British occupation zones in Germany. On 21 June 1948 the Bank deutscher Länder introduced the Deutsche Mark currency in the three western zones of occupation. On 1 November 1948, state central banks in the French zone, which had adopted the Deutsche Mark in June too, joined the BdL. In May 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was founded, however, the BdL remained subject to the control of the three Western Allied powers—the United States, the United Kingdom and France until 1951. Later, BdL became an independent agency of the West German states, similar to the concept of independence displayed by the Federal Reserve System in the United States.

In the process of introducing the Deutsche Mark in 1948, the states' central banks (German: Landeszentralbanken, LZB), then entities of the individual German states, founded the Bank deutscher Länder as their subsidiary for the central purpose of issuing the new currency, avoiding thus conflicts among the states.

The capital stock of the BdL, 100,000 Deutsche Mark, was given by the LZB. When the BdL was established, 300 people worked there, but by 1949, their number had already increased to 1,450. The headquarters of the BdL was located in Frankfurt am Main.

Institutions of the BdL were the board of directors and the Zentralbankrat (Central banking council), consisting of the nine presidents of the Landeszentralbanken. These officials elected the president of the board of directors, who then chose the other members of the board. The board's task was to enforce the resolutions of the Zentralbankrat.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2019, 03:58:46 PM »
From Wikipedia:

The Deutsche Mark was officially introduced on Sunday, June 20, 1948 by Ludwig Erhard. The old Reichsmark and Rentenmark were exchanged for the new currency at a rate of DM 1 = RM 1 for the essential currency such as wages, payment of rents etc., and DM 1 = RM 10 for the remainder in private non-bank credit balances, with half frozen. Large amounts were exchanged for RM 10 to 65 Pfennig. In addition, each person received a per capita allowance of DM 60 in two parts, the first being DM 40 and the second DM 20.

A few weeks later Erhard, acting against orders, issued an edict abolishing many economic controls which had been originally implemented by the Nazis, and which the Allies had not removed. He did this, as he often confessed, on Sunday because the offices of the American, British, and French occupation authorities were closed that day. He was sure that if he had done it when they were open, they would have countermanded the order.

The introduction of the new currency was intended to protect western Germany from a second wave of hyperinflation and to stop the rampant barter and black market trade (where American cigarettes acted as currency). Although the new currency was initially only distributed in the three western occupation zones outside Berlin, the move angered the Soviet authorities, who regarded it as a threat. The Soviets promptly cut off all road, rail and canal links between the three western zones and West Berlin, starting the Berlin Blockade. In response, the U.S. and Britain launched an airlift of food and coal and distributed the new currency in West Berlin as well.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2019, 04:04:00 PM »
From Wikipedia:

The first Deutsche Mark coins were issued by the Bank deutscher Länder in 1948 and 1949. From 1950, the inscription Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany) appeared on the coins. These coins were issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 pfennigs. The 1- and 2-pfennig coins were struck in bronze clad steel (although during some years the 2 pfennigs was issued in solid bronze) while 5 and 10 pfennigs were brass clad steel.



Below you see a 1 Pfennig coin of 1948. The coin weighed 2 g and had a diameter of 16.5 mm.

The obverse featured an oak sprig, while the reverse showed the denomination between two ears of rye.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 04:07:43 PM »
The 5 Pfennig coin, first issued in 1949, was very similar in style. It was however made of brass-clad steel. It weighed 3 g and was 18.5 mm in diameter.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2019, 04:09:17 PM »
The very similar 10 Pfennig coin was also first issued in 1949. It weighed 4 g and was 21.5 mm in diameter.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2019, 04:14:27 PM »
A 20 Pfennig coin was never issued. The copper-nickel 50 Pfennig coin was first issued in 1949. It weighed 3.5 g, was 20 mm in diameter and had a reeded edge. It was very different in style and showed a peasant woman planting an oak sapling, which was symbolic of Germany's rebirth after the war.

When I encountered this coin on my first visit to Germany in 1971, I was surprised at the design, which somehow did not strike me as typically German in any way.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2019, 04:29:18 PM »
From Wikipedia:

The complete breakdown of east-west allied cooperation and joint administration in Germany became clear with the Soviet imposition of the Berlin Blockade that was enforced from June 1948 to May 1949. The three western zones were merged to form the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949, and the Soviets followed suit in October 1949 with the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2019, 04:34:47 PM »
From 1950 the inscription Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany) appeared on the coins. Colloquially, the country became known as West Germany, while communist Germany was known as East Germany. Constitutionally, West Berlin remained an occupied city. It had its own Senate, and though West Berliners were not allowed to vote in the general elections of the Federal Republic, West Berlin was allowed to send three observers to the parliament. In all other respects, West Berlin was treated as part of the Federal Republic, and the Deutsche Mark circulated there and was the official currency.

 
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 05:31:55 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2019, 04:35:55 PM »
The common obverse of the 1 and 2 Pfennig coins. It was retained until the adoption of the euro.

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2019, 04:36:20 PM »
The reverse of the 1 Pfennig coin.

Offline <k>

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2019, 04:37:07 PM »
The reverse of the 2 Pfennig coin. This denomination was first issued in 1950.

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Re: Pre-euro Coinage of the Federal Republic of Germany
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2019, 04:38:09 PM »
The common obverse of the 5 and 10 Pfennig coins, which was retained until the adoption of the euro.