Chaos and Currency: Cigarettes on the Black Market in Europe 1940-1950
In the world of illicit trading during World War II, cigarettes were used as a form of currency. The "black market" aspect of wars has a large role in the daily lives of civilians and soldiers alike. Despite the ongoing war, they still need to have access to goods and necessities. This topic is significant because it will showcase the "opportunity bubble" that desperation created in the context of war and discusses the potential that black markets might help civilians and governments during the war. Unfortunately, black markets rarely are presented in historical narratives. I am using the case studies of Auschwitz inmates, German displaced persons, and American soldiers as a method to explore how commodities as small as cigarettes can help rebuild a nation's economy, which is precisely what happened in postwar Germany and Italy. These case studies will allow us to see what illicit trading granted individuals, the risks and benefits for those participating and how the government responded.
Nothing to Lose
Desperate and Displaced
A Soldiers Defiance
ability Accessed American American soldiers amount Army associated attempt August Auschwitz Auschwitz-Birkenau Authorities basic became benefit black market activities Brandt Call caught centered chapter Cigarette Century cigarettes civilians commodities concentration camp crimes currency Customs desperation discussion Displaced Persons Douglas economic Europe's Displaced Persons European exchange existed forced Foundation France German groups Historian History Holocaust Humane Hunger Rogues illicit trading inmates Interview involved Italian Italy Jacques January Last modified Levi liberated lives March Mark Marshall Plan meant Memorial Michigan military million Museum NARA Nazi necessary offered officials operations opportunity Organization packs participation postwar Europe potential prisoners Proceedings profit rations received Records Relief remained residents risk Sandulescu sell smoke smuggling soldiers specific supplies Survivor things thousand throughout tobacco U.S. soldiers United University Western Allies women World Wyman York