27 mei 2024

Political propaganda in the Netherlands on Dutch stamps and postal history

Social Philately

Political propaganda in the Netherlands on Dutch stamps and postal history

Part I: Before the Second World War (b)

Economic crisis 1930-1940

The economic crisis during the thirty’s of last century is very big. War is threatening again. An ‘Exhibition for Peace and the League of Nations’ is organized and slogan postmarks are issued in order to make propaganda for this exhibition.

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Here on a postcard 23-11-1936 (PIC. 10) and a special postmark on a postcard 28-2-1930 (PIC. 11).

In order to fight against the economic crisis many countries stimulated ‘buy products of our own country’, which was stipulated on at least eight different slogan postmarks during the period 1932 – 1938. I show two of them with the same Dutch text ‘Preferably use Dutch manufacture.’ (PIC. 12+13).

Less known is the special postmark ‘Netherlands 1938 Emmen, If you buy Dutch goods, we help each other’ (PIC. 14). Emmen is a small city in the northeast.

The other way around – don’t buy – also exists. A cover sent from Utrecht 16-3-1936 is bearing a Cinderella stamp at the reverse with the Dutch text ‘Do not buy Italian products, national boycott action’ (because of the fascist government of Italy). The map of Italy, as a boot, is crushing Libya and the country is bleeding (PIC. 15). Despite the Netherlands had a strict policy of being neutral, it was delivered without any problems.

That the Dutch postal authorities checked the neutrality very seriously is proved by a telegram regulation. According to the regulation nr. 146 of 15 September, 1939 even the content of telegrams have to be checked. The translation in the English language: ‘Extra check to observe the Telegraph- and Telephone law of 1904 STBL no. 7:

1. Regarding the regulation of 2 September, 1939

2. Nr. LA of the Government, I urgently ask to pay attention to the telegrams in order to keep our neutrality, despite the texts sometimes are very polite or they seem to be innocent, they have to be stopped, or delivered with ‘Contr. Art. 14’. Especially telegrams to head of states, ambassadors, consuls and other official persons from abroad to the country or abroad

3. Despite the call for an extra alert, about two telegrams should not have been delivered

4. Because of the countries interest we strongly ask to control more strict. The director general Van Royen’ (PIC. 16)

Not only the Netherlands is watching its neutrality. Also Hitler Germany has in 1933 its own interpretation of it. On 18 May, 1933 the day of the League of Nations, a peace postage stamp was issued depicting a peace pigeon and a peace star with five points, of which the light symbolize the effect on the five parts of the world (PIC. 17).

Germany however interpreted this as a Jewish star and tried to stop the use of this postage stamp. This postage stamp got out of circulation on 31 December, 1937. According to the postal administration because the supply was exhausted, others stated that it was because of the German objections. But other postage stamps, issued in the same period with an equal amount printed, were valid until 31 march, 1944. We often see that before a war starts, a kind of postal war precedes it.

But not only Germany thought this was an offending postage stamp. Not surprisingly also fascist Italy protested. According to the Italian fascist magazine ‘The defending of the race’, number 7 from February, 1940, this postage stamp was ‘Jewish Bolshevist propaganda on postage stamps’. But also another postage stamp got the same qualification; the 1936 postage stamp remembering 300 years University of Utrecht, depicting the Goddess of wisdom Pallas Athena (PIC. 18). The exact reason never was clear for me.

So we can conclude that there is lot of disputed political propaganda on mail of the Netherlands. If we look in an unusual way, a lot of new items regarding our hobby can be discovered. Such items also are of interest for non-philatelists.

Jan Heijs

to be continued

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