In search of material for a post today, I came across the interesting tidbit that banknotes have historically been commonly used mediums on which to pass propaganda to the public.
In almost all propaganda battles whether political or revolutionary, leaflets in the form of banknotes were produced by both sides.
It makes sense, really. In the form of posters, page-sized flyers, or brochures, propaganda leaflets may be easily avoided by patriotic or frightened citizens of a target country. But why should anyone be wary of a banknote? It’s the perfect way to distribute insidious propaganda messages to unsuspecting passerby.
The Americans, British, Germans and Russians all used this technique in WWII. Half a decade later in the Korean War the United States once again prepared banknote leaflets. Although usually prepared by civilian organizations, these notes were almost certainly sponsored by a higher intelligence agency or branch of the government. The habit of using banknotes as propaganda leaflets especially increased during the Cold War, a time when there was no actual combat by arms. With a relatively low level risk for escalation, both sides were able to attack the philosophy and beliefs of the other without fear of retaliation by force. Propaganda is, after all, a mental game rather than a physical one.
Commonly called, “Political Banknotes,” there are hundreds of these types of notes across multiple countries (with messages in as many languages, of course). For the purpose of keeping things simple, I’ve found an American “Political Banknote” attacking former president Richard Nixon.
In caricature form, Nixon resides in the center of a “frozen” two-dollar bill, making a peace sign with one hand and crossing his fingers with the other—probably in the hopes of escaping the Inflated States of America and returning to whatever State existed before “Phase Two Cash” was necessary.