World War II ends with a defeated Germany along with the other members of the Axis powers. The world finally gets to rest and breathe after the worldwide conflict that results in massive casualties and the destruction of Europe. Now comes the hard part, rebuilding and trying to get back to a somewhat normal life. At this time the US, its Allied Powers and the Soviet Union try to position themselves as the emerging power who will lead the world. The US sees the communist ideology of the USSR as a threat and vice versa. On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivers his famous words “From Stettin in the Baltic, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent”. This moment ushers in the Cold War and frames the geo-political landscape for the next 50 years. They will be years full of rivalry, tension and proxy wars for dominance.
What Was The Iron Curtain?
The Iron Curtain is a metaphor used to describe the division of the USSR and the West in terms of political, economic and military ideology. Under the rule of Joseph Stalin the Soviet Union became industrialized and a power to compete with. His grip on power and brutality is felt throughout the world. In addition, in neighboring countries the USSR installed their own leaders and governments who aligned with their views. They become satellite states. They were Albania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Propaganda and censorship was prevalent. After Stalin’s death in 1952 the restrictions behind the Iron Curtain were reduced however with the construction of the Berlin wall that separated East and West Germany they were revived. However in 1989 the wall came down. Both East and West Germany unified as well. Eventually in 1991 the Soviet Union dissolves and new independent nations arise from the dust.
The Cold War On Banknotes
The Iron Curtain: Six Banknotes of the Eastern Bloc set includes six banknotes from six Iron Curtain countries during the Soviet era. These banknotes are the Albankia 100 leke, Bulgaria 100 leva, German Democratic Republic 20 Deutschmarks, Hungary 10 florint, Poland 100 zlotych, and also the Yugoslavia 5,000 Dinara. These paper bills are in different sizes and colors and have a billfold. Another set from this era is the Stalin album which contains one banknote and one coin from the era of Joseph Stalin. The banknote is a 50 kopek note that features a double eagle and the Romanov coat of arms. The coin is a 20 kopek coin that features the hammer and sickle coat of arms.