During the tumultuous era of World War II, strategies extended beyond conventional warfare. Espionage, betrayal, propaganda and economic disruption were all on the table: this was total war, after all.
Amidst the thunderous echoes of bombing raids and the relentless march of tanks, a covert battle was waged through deceptive means. As Great Britain stood steadfast against the tempest of war, Nazi Germany recognized the potency of economic destabilization.
Operation Bernhard emerged as a clandestine endeavor aimed at undermining Britain’s economic resilience. The crux of this operation lay in the creation of printing plates that would be used to flood the nation with counterfeit currency, a tactic devised to erode its economic foundation.
The year 1945 witnessed a turning point. The realization of impending defeat drove the Germans to drastic measures. Fearing the potential misuse of the printing plates, they sought to obliterate their own creation. Amidst the frenzy, one solitary plate escaped the flames of destruction. Today, a haunting relic of this covert warfare rests within the walls of the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, a reminder of the audacious intersection of espionage and economics during WWII.
- Operation Bernhard: Nazi Economic Blitzkrieg and a ton of Fake Money
- Top Ten Wild Nazi Weapons of WW2
Top image: A fake British £50 note created as a Nazi forgery under Operation Bernhard. Source: Bank of England / Public Domain.