By the end of World War I the purchasing power of the franc had plummeted and the country was burdened by massive debt. In an attempt to overcome lack of public confidence in the currency, a new version of the franc - the franc Poincare, named after the finance minister - was introduced and the last of the silver Semeuse coins were withdrawn. This did bring brief respite but the new franc soon took a tumble itself, losing two-thirds of its value in five years.
With the occupation of France, the franc became a satellite currency of the German reichsmark - at an advantageous rate for the occupiers. The coins also changed, adopting the emblem of the Vichy regime and the words "travail, famille, patrie" (work, family, fatherland). When American troops liberated France at the end of the war, they brought with them 2FF pieces, minted in Philadelphia, in order to return the franc to circulation.
But troubles continued for the franc in the post-war era and in 1960 General de Gaulle decided to wipe the slate clean, introducing the "nouveau franc" - worth 100 old francs. Around two-thirds of the French population welcome their next new currency, the euro. The design for the coins was opened to a public competition. Among the images chosen is a new engraving of Marianne - the embodiment of the French spirit.
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