Balkan Peninsula, Earth, Europe, Greece, South East Europe

Greece – 1944, WW2 and Hyperinflation

Million Drachmas, Greece, 1944, front, featuring Antikythera Ephebe, the bronze statue discovered in early 20th century

Where the number on a banknote (after all, a piece of paper) is a Million, you can bet there is hyperinflation. The banknotes on this page are from the WW2 era, 1944. War may clarify a few things such as who one’s true friends are, but it distorts most other things, including money.

Million Drachmas, Greece, 1944, back, featuring the Temple of Poseidon
Half Million, 500,000 Drachmas, Greece 1944, front, featuring Zeus, who resides on Mt Olympus, the thunder god.
Half Million, 500,000 Drachmas, Greece 1944, back

From Wikipedia article on Hyperinflation in Greece under the German-Italian occupation, (Reference and links in footnotes below):
With the German invasion in April 1941, there was an abrupt increase in prices. This was due to psychological factors related to the fear of shortages and to the hoarding of goods. During the German and Italian Axis occupation of Greece (1941-1944), the agricultural, mineral, industrial etc. production of Greece were used to sustain the occupation forces, but also to secure provisions for the Afrika Korps. One part of these “sales” of provisions was settled with bilateral clearing through the German DEGRIGES and the Italian Sagic companies at very low prices. As the value of Greek exports in drachmas fell, the demand for drachmas followed suit and so did its forex rate. While shortages started due to naval blockades and hoarding, the prices of commodities soared. The other part of the “purchases” was settled with drachmas secured from the Bank of Greece and printed for this purpose by private printing presses. As prices soared, the Germans and Italians started requesting more and more drachmas from the Bank of Greece to offset price increases; each time prices increased, the note circulation followed suit soon afterwards. For the year November 1943 – November 1944, the inflation rate was 2.5 × 1010%, the circulation was 6.28 × 1018 drachmae and one gold sovereign cost 43,167 billion drachmas. The hyperinflation started subsiding immediately after the departure of the German occupation forces, but inflation rates took several years before they fell below 50%.
Start and End Date: Jun. 1941 – Jan. 1946
Peak Month and Rate of Inflation: Dec. 1944, 3.0 × 1010%. 1

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The Million drachma banknote features the head a bronze statue recovered from the Sea bottom in 1900, off the island of Antikythera, Greece. This small island, a little less than 8 square miles, is important to ornithologists. It is an important resting place for regional migratory birds and is also the largest breeding ground for a certain species of falcon known as Eleonora’s falcon. 2

Antikythera Ephebe
But the tiny island is important to historians too. In 1900, sponge divers spotted the shipwreck off the island. In addition to many treasures and artifacts were two items of tremendous significance. One is a full size bronze statue of remarkable beauty and grace. The head of the Antikythera Ephebe is featured on our 1,000,000 drachma banknote.  The beauty of the artwork startled the artworld, revised art history and was featured prominently on our 1944 banknote.3

Antikythera Mechanism
But it wasn’t until years later that the greatest, perhaps, treasure of all was recognized in the recovered sea-soaked artifacts.  A small wooden box containing bronze items, corroding for two millenia beneath the sea, attracted little attention in the fifty years following its discovery.  Then in 1951 a Yale University professor and science historian began to study it. It has been intensely studied since, and has become known as the Antikythera mechanism.  It is considered by many to be the earliest analogue computer in the world. The technological skill and craftsmanship demonstrated in the mechanism became lost to history for reasons unknown. It wasn’t until the 14th century that anything comparable began to be produced. 4

Temple of Poseidon
On the reverse of our 1,000,000 drachma banknote, is featured the Temple of Poseidon. 5  Poseidon was the god of the Sea.  This temple is constructed on the bluff at the end of a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water, with a commanding view of the Sea, the dominion of Poseidon. 6

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The Half Million drachma banknote in this post features Zeus on the front. One must hand it to the Greeks, whereas other nations feature renowned politicians and other leaders on their banknotes, the Greeks feature God Himself. This is Zeus, the god of Thunder, known by others as Jupiter, the greatest of the planets.  He resides on Mount Olympus as the King of the gods.7

 

Balkan Peninsula, Croatia, Earth, Europe, South East Europe

Croatia – Roger Joseph Boscovich

Roger Joseph Boscovich, 18th century astronomer, physicist and mathematician, is featured on the front of our banknote of Croatia. He developed a method of determination of the orbit of a celestial body based upon just three measurements. he similarly developed a method for determining the rotation of a heavenly body based upon the measurement of the locations of three landmarks. These calculations are illustrated on the front of our banknote.

The sculpture, beloved to Croatians, “History of Croatians” by Ivan Mestrovic, is illustrated on the back of our banknote. She, a woman, as Mother, sits serenely, with a massive tome in her lap, a book identified on its spine as the “History of Croatians”. She is the keep og the Croatin identity, culture and history. A moving tribute is in this blog post here.

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Balkan Peninsula, Europe, Serbia, South East Europe

Serbia – Tesla Powers the World

Nikola Tesla, seated, holding his wireless lightbulb.  Yes, indeed, it has no connecting wires.  One could place it on a desk, or hold it in the hand and it would remain lit, with no connecting wires.  With all other light bulbs wire based, Tesla’s bulbs seem like something from outer space and the distant future.  And this is from the late 19th century and early 20th century.  Of course, there was a Tesla coil nearby.

 

 

In 1960, the name”Tesla” was assigned to the unit of Magnetic Flux Density by the Conference on Weights and Measures.  “A particle, carrying a charge of one coulomb, and moving perpendicularly through a magnetic field of one tesla, at a speed of one metre per second, experiences a force with magnitude one newton, according to the Lorentz force law. The tesla can also be expressed as shown in out banknote, 1 Tesla equals 1 weber per meter squared.

The equation adorns the front of this 100 dinari banknote from Serbia.  Coincidently, 100 T is the magnetic field strength of the average white dwarf star, which is considered the destiny of our sun.

 

Niagra Falls fascinated Nikola Tesla from his youth in Serbia.  He told his uncle that he wanted to place a wheel under the massive water falls to harness its power.

In America, Tesla designed the first hydroelectric plant and supervised its installation at Niagra Falls in 1895.  Thus the electrification of the United States, and indeed, the world, commenced.

 

 

The introduction of Tesla’s motor from 1888 onwards initiated what is sometimes referred to as the Second Industrial Revolution, making possible both the efficient generation and long distance distribution of electrical energy using the alternating current transmission system, also of Tesla’s invention (1888).  from here.

 

Regarding the image of the dove on our banknote, the following, by Tesla’s biographer, is selected from this website.

Nikola Tesla fed and cared for several pigeons, among a beautiful white dove with brown-grey tips on her wings was singled out. According to John O`Neil, the author of Tesla`s biography, the inventor loved this dove like he has not loved anyone else. The author claims that Tesla explained to him the connection.
Yes, I loved that pigeon, I loved her as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. If the pigeon became ill, he would nurse her back to health and as long as she needed him and he could have her, nothing else mattered and there was purpose in his life.
One night as he was lying in bed, she flew in through the window and he knew right away that she had something important to tell him – she was dying.
– And then, as I got her message, there came a light from her eyes – powerful beams of light. Yes, it was a real light, a powerful, dazzling, blinding light, a light more intense than I had ever produced by the most powerful lamps in my laboratory – Tesla told his biographer.
After the dove`s death, something disappeared from Tesla`s life. He knew his life`s work was done for good.

 

Balkan Peninsula, Europe, Greece, South East Europe

Greece – 1944 – Prelude to Civil War

 

Greece, September 9, 1944, 200 million drachmas. The image is from the Parthenon, two thousand years before …..

Above the numeral 200 is the units of the currency of Greece, “drachma”, or, plural, “drachmai”.  Beneath the number 200, in the middle of this banknote, are the two words which may be translated as follows.  “Diakosia” equals “two hundred” in Greek.  “Ekatommusia” equals “million” in Greek.  The date is September 9, 1944.  Two hundred million anything is a quantity beyond the intuition of most everyday people.

The Nazis withdrew from Greece in this month, but left hyperinflation remained; and soon the whole would be engulfed in a civil war that would be considered the first proxy war of the cold war era, the first of many.

 

Greece, 1944, 200 million drachmas

Readers with minds familiar with such numbers, hyperinflation, and hyperinflation’s societal ramifications; will rapidly move in their thoughts to the distress of the peoples who had no choice but to use these banknotes in their everyday lives.

From this website is the following 4 paragraphs beginning at our banknote’s date:

In September, 1944, after Germany’s withdrawal from Greece, British troops landed there. Greeks sniped at British soldiers, and the British arrested what was said to be 15,000 people and shipped them to a camp in a desert area in Eritrea. The Greek resistance retaliated by kidnapping 15,000 monarchists from Athens and marched them out of the city. Roughly 4,000 of the monarchists died during the march, and the Resistance lost support.
          Greece emerged from German occupation and British intervention with a civil war. Britain and the US supported Greece’s monarchical government. The rebels on the other side of the civil war included Communists. Greece’s king since 1947, Paul the First, was a determined enemy of the Communists, and he had the support of moderates.
          The war began winding down in 1948. The Communists in Greece were split between Stalinists and supporters of Yugoslavia’s Josip Tito. Stalin, meanwhile, was giving the resistance hardly any material support. He was unenthusiastic about the rebel cause in Greece – in keeping with an agreement between Stalin and Churchill during the world war. By September 1949 most of the rebels surrendered or escaped over the border into Albania, and the Albanian government, presumably with Soviet approval, prohibited the Greek rebels from launching military operations into Greece. The civil war had ended.
          Writes Elena Panaritis in 2011:
It was the bloodiest and most devastating war in the history of Greece considering the number of lives lost. The death toll reached nearly 10% of the Greek population.

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And now, let’s consider the image on our banknote, the Parthenon.  Towards the conclusion of the horriblest of wars, War World II, and, yet, at the beginning of “the bloodiest and most devastating war in the history of Greece”, our banknote is published; and, this image from the Parthenon is selected, constructed two thousand years previous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balkan Peninsula, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe, South East Europe

Bosnia Herzegovina – The Ghost of the Mostar Bridge

 

The Mostar stone bridge is featured in the ghostly image on the backside of this banknote, dated August 15, 1994.  It is enlarged below, where it appears even more ghost-like.

Our banknote is dated August 15, 1994; whereas the bridge, illustrated on our banknote, was reported destroyed, in this article, dated November 10, 1993, 9 months earlier.

The bridge dates from 1566, 450 years, four and a half centuries.  It is a Bridge of Time.  It connects us today to our History, lest we forget.  And it connects our forebearer builders to their future; imagine their pride.    It is a Bridge of Life.  It provides the only route to drinking water for the townspeople.

Sixty artillery shells killed the bridge on November 8, 1993.  Ghostlike, this image hovers above our banknote, a haunting reminder of beauty lost, a Specter of war.

It is rebuilt now, and the memories of that nightmare are fading.  The bridge is replaced.  It looks almost the same, but it is not the same.  People are crossing the bridge again, but they are not the same.  Money replaced the bridge, but not the war lost lives.  Money repaired the bridge, but not the war scarred psyches of the survivors.

“From whence come wars and fightings among you?”  From whence, indeed.  Like a demon from the Abyss, War periodically seeks to walk among the living.  It is a great evil; to be resisted with great effort.

 

For a fine video about it’s reconstruction as a UNESCO world heritage site, please click this youtube link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balkan Peninsula, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe, Serbia, South East Europe, Yugoslavia

Republika Srpska – The Fortress of Knin

The name Republica Srpska, was adopted August 12, 1992.  This event, together with all the political turmoil overtaking the former Yugoslav republic, led to war, which lasted until the Autumn of 1995.

1993 Banknote of Republic Of Serbia Krajina, front. The nomination, 10,000,000 dinaris is believed to be the largest prepared.

It is doubtful, but uncertain, that the banknote featured on this post, was ever formally issued.  The huge nomination is similar to that of Yugoslavian banknotes of the same decade, and indicates that the new Republic of Serbia shared in the same woes of hyperinflation.  The number, deset milliard signifies Ten Billion, deset meaning ten, and milliard meaning billion.

 

 

 

table of Yugoslav nations and their currencies from Wikipedia

The table to the right, illustrates the place of the short-lived Republic of Serbia during what came to be known as the Yugoslav Wars at the end of the 20th century.  These were considered the deadliest wars in Europe since WWII.

 

 

 

 

 

detail from back of 10,000,000,000 dinari banknote

The ancient fortress of Knin is featured on the reverse of this banknote.  It is the 2nd largest in all of Europe.

Construction on the stronghold began in the 9th century.  In the 11th century it served as the royal residence.

It consists of 5 interconnected towers and towns.  They are named the Donji Grad (Lower Town), Srednji Grad (Middle Town), Gornji Grad (Upper Town) or Kaštel Knin, Kaštel lab or Bandijera, and Južni Grad (South Town) or station Belveder. It is about 1500 feet above sea level and 300 feet above the town of Knin below.  It is 1500 feet long and about 330 feet wide with walls as high as 60 feet in several areas.

 

10,000,000,000 banknote from Republika Srpska Krijana, back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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