|ISO 4217 code||VM|
|Official user(s)||People's Republic of Germany|
|Unofficial user(s)||Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania|
|Coins||1,5,10,20,50 volkspfennig, 1,5 volksmark|
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.
The Volksmark (sign: VM) was the currency of the People's Republic of Germany. The Volksmark was divided into 100 Volkspfennig. The Mark is an ancient Germanic unit of weight, traditionally used in coinage. Therefore, the name "Volksmark" literally means "People's Money".
The Volksmark was introduced in 1920 as a permanent replacement for the Papiermark. This was done in part as a form of proof that the new Communist German government was a different entity than the former German Empire, and thus was no longer subject to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The exchange rate between the old Papiermark and the new Volksmark was 1 VM = 1,000,000 Papiermark. As a planned economy, the Volksmark was effectively immune to the effects of the Great Depression.
Aftermath of World War II
After the Treaty of Moscow was signed, Germany found itself in possession of five states it liberated from Veep Russia: Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. Per the terms of the Treaty of Moscow, the allied powers were not allowed to annex any states liberated from Veep Russia. Germany got around this though by illegally manipulating local elections to ensure that the local communist parties would come into power. This formed a de facto collection of satellite states answerable only to Berlin. As a show of "Communist Solidarity", all currencies of the five satellite states were pegged at a set rate to the German Volksmark:
|State||Value in VM|
In 1933 coins were struck in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 Volkspfennig and 1 and 5 Volksmark. All coins were struck in aluminum, with the 1 and 5 Volkspfennig coins plated in bronze and the 1 and 5 Volksmark coins plated in brass. From 1939-1946 all coins were struck in zinc, allowing copper and aluminum stores to be reserved for the war effort.
|1 Volkspfennig||Bronze plated Aluminum||Mint year, National Emblem of the People's Republic of Germany||Denomination|
|5 Volkspfennig||Bronze plated Aluminum||Mint year, National Emblem of the People's Republic of Germany||Denomination|
|10 Volkspfennig||Aluminum||Mint year, National Emblem of the People's Republic of Germany||Denomination|
|20 Volkspfennig||Aluminum||Mint year, National Emblem of the People's Republic of Germany||Denomination|
|50 Volkspfennig||Aluminum||Mint year, National Emblem of the People's Republic of Germany||Denomination|
|1 Volksmark||Brass plated Aluminum||Mint year, National Emblem of the People's Republic of Germany||Denomination|
|5 Volksmark||Brass plated Aluminum||Mint year, National Emblem of the People's Republic of Germany||Denomination|
The first Volksmark banknotes were introduced by the Volksnationalbank in 1920, in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 1000 Volksmark. This was followed by the series of 1933, in denominations of 10, 20, 50, and 100 Volksmark. The 1000 Volksmark banknote was eliminated completely, while the smaller denominations were relegated to coinage. The series of 1933 was the most well known in the west due to the effects of World War II. Once the Cold War started, though, German currency became harder to come by outside the nation's borders.
Series 1933 banknotes had unchanged colors from the first series of 1920, but more detail and security features were added and the designs underwent significant changes. Political leaders were chosen to be portrayed on the obverse of each banknote -- two male and two female, representing the German "Double Leader Policy". The architectural features on the notes' reverses were well-known landmarks in 1930's Berlin.
|Obverse||Reverse||Dimensions||Main Color||Secondary Color||Obverse||Reverse|
|10 Volksmark||140 x 70 mm||Orange||Brown||Clara Zetkin, cofounder of the German Communist Party||Berlin City Hall, site of the 1919 treaty creating the People's Republic of Germany|
|20 Volksmark||152 x 82 mm||Olive Green||Blue||Rosa Luxemburg, first President of the People's Republic of Germany||Brandenburg Gate|
|50 Volksmark||165 x 95 mm||Gray||Purple||Karl Liebknecht, first Chancellor of the People's Republic of Germany||Volkskammer building|
|100 Volksmark||177 x 108 mm||Blue||Green||Karl Marx, founder of modern Communism||Marx-Engels Monument|