This is a rare example of military currency paid out to German soldiers during the First World war. Unlike the British who were paid in Francs which they could use freely in cafes and shops, the Germans were an occupying power and were not therefore popular with the French or Belgium population., German soldiers were discouraged from any form of fraternisation so were paid in a military currency which was only valid in their own canteens.
This system was very similar to the payment of the British Army of the Rhine, in British Army Special Vouchers (BAFSV’s) in the years following the Second World War. BAFSVs were introduced to combat black market dealings between the British Occupation Forces and the local population, particularly in Germany and Austria.
British Army Special Vouchers
At the end of the Second World War in 1945, France, Britain, USA and Russia agreed to split Germany into four occupation zones. The British area was occupied by the 21st Army Group that was collectively known as the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). The challenging job the Allied forces faced, was to disband and disarm the German fighting machine and reassemble the country’s basic infrastructure and help a population on the brink of starvation. They were operating ‘as a country within a country’ and needed a monetary system which could serve the occupying force whilst the country they were in, was effectively in financial meltdown due to the war. A military voucher system was put in place to curtail the emerging black market of goods intended for the troops yet were being sold to a thriving black market among the local population at inflated prices.
The German Army Coin is on permanent display at Bodmin Keep along with a vast collection of objects and soldier stories relating to the First and Second World war. Bodmin Keep is open Monday to Saturday 10 – 5pm.