WWII Anti-French Propaganda Forgeries

After the collapse of France in 1940, Allied propaganda was directed towards the French people. It was specifically used to show that their will to fight had been undermined by pro-German elements.

Marshal Petain, ‘Chief of State’ of Vichy State, from 1940 to 1944, was viewed as a national hero in France, because of his outstanding military leadership in World War I, particularly during the Battle of Verdun. The Allies subsequently sought to show that in the background, influencing his decisions, always lurked the shadow of the pro-German Pierre Laval, 1940 and 1942-1944, Prime Minister of Vichy State.

This conception was cleverly worked into the design of a postage stamp, and was used by the British Intelligence in a propaganda parody of the France 1941-43, 30c scarlet Petain issue. A fiendish-looking representation of Nazi-collaborating Pierre Laval was added, peering around from behind Petain. The vignette implies that Germany is running the French Vichy government. It was produced in perforated sheets of 20 labels (5×4), probably in November/December 1942.

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