WW II coins:
The coin itself
A bit of history
Officially Portugal was a neutral country during the war. It was the time of the “second state” and authoritarian regime with an integralist orientation.
In autumn 1940, Churchill wrote to Salazar congratulating him on his ability to keep Portugal out of the war.
A huge number of refugees escaped through Portugal during the war (around 1/6 of its population size). Lisbon became a symbol for refugees. Even Ingrid Berman (Casablanca costar) sought a ticket to there. Many went through there to get documents to the US or to Palestine.
According to resources many Jewish refugees were saved thanks to the politics of Portugal.
The decision to stick with the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance allowed the Portuguese Island of Madeira to come to an aid in July 1940, when around 2,500 evacuees from Gibraltar were shipped to the island.
However some did fight on the axis side, especially on the Eastern fronts.
During the 1940s, Portugal had experienced some economic growth due to increased raw material exports to the war-ravaged and recovering nations of Europe.
It may seem like everything was fine and nice on Portugal, however the economy was almost in ruins and it is mainly after the war that helped to bring it back.
The regime was authoritarian; there is a difference from other fascist regimes by its lack of expansionism. But I think it is mainly due to the leader himself. It did uptake the principles for its military in Italy. One of the pillars of the regime was the secret police. Many political dissidents were imprisoned during the period. A lot of views were based on explaining and teaching in schools history from a Portuguese perspective.
It is quite difficult to judge as always, but one can defiantly say that Portugal saved a lot of people during the war period.
The coin itself is in a fair state to say the least; however it is partially silver (what brings us to judge that it wasn’t that bad in Portugal after all) and is quite rare. In fact most coins of this value from Portugal aren’t that common, maybe due to the fact that it many people went through Portugal as a gateway country and coins just got carried away and disappeared with time.
Poor kids in school – Portugal, 1940
All photos of coins are from my own collection
Historical source 1 ;