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A British Parody of a French Fifty Franc Note

14 Sep 2021  Tue

The Year of 1941, after the fall of France an interesting imitation of the 50 franc note was dropped over occupied French territory. This note was the brainchild of the Political Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office.

The propaganda on the note is directed at Germany’s deteriorating financial condition and the cost to France of the German occupation. The bogus currency, known as ‘Code 90’, was dropped over France on the nights of 10 to 13 June 1941.

The 50 franc notes were delivered by the Royal Air Force and a British Army Balloon Unit. Few of the notes had a punch hole, it was evident that they ever send through balloon via the English Channel. The one without the holes were dropped from the air.

The above-shown image depicts the Germans and their lackeys look like robbers in the eyes of the public and to decry the cost to France of the occupation. The image of Pierre Laval ‘the French puppet’ is seen in the centre with the image of Adolph Hitler adorns the columns at left and right.

On the signature lines the title Le traitre Laval ‘the traitor Laval’ is substituted for the customary Le Caissier General and L’espion Abetz (the spy Abetz) in lieu of Le Secretaire General. The dejected scribe has written on the scroll before him “Cost of occupation = 400,000,000 francs per day”.

An empty treasure chest lays open on his desk. In place of a serial number, the parody carries the date 23.6.1940, which was the day that General de Gaulle announced the formation of a ‘Free France’ to carry on the fight against Germany throughout the remaining French territories. At the bottom of the note is a cartouche bearing the words Aux Boches plant riens with the unbeliever and impossible meaning ‘To the plundering Germans, nothing is impossible.

Image Courtesy: PDF of John E. Sandrock

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