Thursday, 1 July 2010

England gave ₤6,000,000 of Czechoslovak gold to Adolf Hitler!

₤6,000,000 of Czechoslovak gold was held in the Bank of England and was transferred to the German Reichsbank in 1939 under the direct control of Adolf Hitler???????

Montagu Norman, 1st Baron Norman

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The Right Honourable The Lord Norman 

Norman on the cover of Time, 1929

In office
Preceded by Sir Brien Cokayne
Succeeded by The Lord Catto

Born 6 September 1871(1871-09-06)
Kensington, London, England
Died 4 February 1950 (aged 78)
Campden Hill, London, England
Birth name Montagu Collet Norman
Nationality British
Profession Banker
Montagu Collet Norman, 1st Baron Norman DSO PC (6 September 1871 – 4 February 1950) was an English banker, best known for his role as the Governor of the Bank of England from 1920 to 1944. Norman, who led the Bank during the harshest period in British economic history, was noted for his somewhat raffish and arty appearance.



[edit] Early life and military service

Norman was the elder son of Frederick Henry Norman and Lina Susan Penelope Collet, a daughter of Sir Mark Wilks Collet, 1st Baronet, himself a Bank of England Governor. He was educated at Eton and spent one year at King's College, Cambridge.[1]
He also joined the 4th Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire militia in 1894 and served in the Second Boer War. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1901.[2]

[edit] Merchant banking

After spending time in Europe, he joined Martin's Bank, where his father was a partner, in 1892, Brown, Shipley & Co., where his maternal grandfather was a partner, in 1894, and Brown Bros. & Co. of New York, in 1895. He became a partner in Brown Shipley in 1900 before leaving for South Africa, and retired from them in 1915.

[edit] Bank of England

He became a director of the Bank of England in 1907 and during World War I he was a financial advisor to government departments. He was appointed Deputy Governor in 1917 and he became Governor in 1920.
Under Norman's Governorship, the bank underwent significant change. In 1931 the United Kingdom permanently abandoned the gold standard, at which point the bank's foreign exchange and gold reserves were transferred to the British Treasury.
He was a close friend of the German Central Bank president Hjalmar Schacht and the godfather to one of Schacht's grandchildren.[3] Both were members of the Anglo-German Fellowship and the Bank for International Settlements.
Norman's exact role and responsibility as director of the BIS during the time when ₤6,000,000 of Czechoslovak gold held in the Bank of England was transferred to the German Reichsbank in 1939, is yet to be determined.[4]
He retired from the bank in 1944.

[edit] Honours

Following his retirement, he was created Baron Norman, of St. Clere in the County of Kent, on 13 October 1944.[5]
In addition to receiving the Distinguished Service Order, Norman was sworn of the Privy Council in 1923[6] and was created a Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown.[7]

[edit] Personal life

On 2 November 1933, Norman married Priscilla Cecilia Maria Reyntiens, London councillor and granddaughter of the Montagu Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon. He gained two stepsons from this marriage; Sir Simon Towneley and Sir Peregrine Worsthorne.
The Norman family were well-known in banking. His brother Ronald Collet Norman and his nephew Mark Norman became leading bankers. His great-nephew David Norman has also led a successful city career and is a noted benefactor of the arts.
Norman died at his home in Campden Hill, London, in 1950 following a stroke. Norman had no children himself and his barony became extinct.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ Norman, Montagu Collet in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  2. ^ London Gazette: no. 27359, p. 6326, 27 September 1901. Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  3. ^ Forbes, Neil (2000), "Doing Business with the Nazis"
  4. ^ Blaazer, David (2005). "Finance and the End of Appeasement: The Bank of England, the National Government and the Czech Gold". Journal of Contemporary History 40 (1): 25–39. doi:10.1177/0022009405049264. 
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 36746, p. 4698, 13 October 1944. Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  6. ^ London Gazette: no. 32840, p. 4605, 29 June 1923. Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  7. ^ London Gazette: no. 33260, p. 1960, 25 March 1927. Retrieved on 28 November 2009.

[edit] References

[edit] Further reading

[edit] External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Brien Cokayne
Governor of the Bank of England
Succeeded by
The Lord Catto
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Norman


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For a detailed discussion of the English translation of Reich, see Reich.
A 100-Goldmark banknote issued by the German Reichsbank in 1908 (
A 10000 Zehntausend Mark banknote issued by the German Reichsbank in 1922. A watermark is present, but not visible in scanned image.
The Reichsbank was the central bank of Germany from 1876 until 1945. It was founded on 1 January 1876 (shortly after the establishment of the German Empire in 1871). The Reichsbank was a privately owned central bank of Prussia, under close control by the Reich government[1]. Its first president was Hermann von Dechend. Before unification in 1871, Germany had 31 central banks – the Notenbanken (note banks). Each of the independent states issued their own money. In 1870, a law was passed that forbade the formation of further central banks. In 1874, a draft banking law was introduced in the Reichstag (the German parliament). After several changes and compromises, the law was passed in 1875. Despite the creation of the Reichsbank, however, four of the NotenbankenBaden, Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg – continued to exist until 1914.
The history of the Reichsbank was volatile. Until World War I it produced a very stable currency called the Goldmark. The expenses of the war caused inflationary pressure and the mark started to decrease in value. The defeat of imperial Germany in 1918, the economic burden caused by the payment of reparations to the Allies, and the social unrest in the early years culminated in the German hyperinflation of 1922–23. The mark, formerly backed by gold, evolved into the Papiermark (paper mark), backed by nothing.
Economic reforms, such as the issue of a new provisional currency – the Rentenmark – and the 1924 Dawes Plan, stabilised German monetary development and thus the economic outlook of the Weimar Republic. One of the key reforms caused by the Dawes Plan was the establishment of the Reichsbank as an institution independent of the Reich government. On 30 August 1924, the Reichsbank began issuing the Reichsmark, which served as the German currency until 1948.
The seizure and consolidation of power by the Nazis during the years of the Third Reich also greatly affected the Reichsbank. A 1937 law reestablished the Reich government's control of the Reichsbank, and in 1939, the Reichsbank was renamed as the Deutsche Reichsbank and placed under the direct control of Adolf Hitler, with Walther Funk as the last president of the Reichsbank, from 1939 to 1945[2]. The defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945 also resulted in the dissolution of the Reichsbank, along with other Reich ministries and institutions.
The Allied occupation authorities (in the West – Great Britain, France and the United States; in the East – the Soviet Union) became responsible for German monetary policy in the immediate postwar years. In this role, the Allies continued to issue Reichsmarks (and Allied military marks) as the German banking system was gradually restored. In 1948, the Reichsmark ceased to exist owing to the introduction of the Deutsche Mark in the West and the East German mark in the East. In West Germany, monetary policy was taken over by the Bank deutscher Länder (Bank of the German States) and later by the Deutsche Bundesbank. In East Germany, this role was assumed by the Deutsche Notenbank (later renamed as the Staatsbank der DDR (State Bank of the German Democratic Republic)).

[edit] Reichsbank presidents

For history of German central banks after 1945 see: Deutsche Bundesbank

[edit] References

  1. ^ Money and Banking
  2. ^ Shrier, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, 1959. 360.

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