Lend as they fight

Lend as they fight, buy more Liberty Bonds

 

Sidney H. Rosenberg

US, 1918

 

An exhausted and wounded soldier on the ground leans against his comrade as they both fire at an enemy in the distance. The sky above them is multicolored from the explosive colors of war with streaks of grey haze rising from the gunpowder. The chaotic and dangerous atmosphere of war is further emphasised through the battle worn expressions on the soldiers faces and the broken line of defenses seen in the jagged lines of barbed wire guarding the trenches. The desperation of the men is palpable as their only salvation, in this case liberty bonds, is helpfully advertised directly below them in bright letters. Created during the final year of the Great War, the poster shows that even though the real battle is currently being fought by their own boys abroad, the help they could provide through the purchase of liberty bonds is just as important to the war effort.

The emphasis has shifted from encouraging enlistment in the beginning of the war to the preservation of soldiers lives and wellbeing whilst they are fighting towards the end of the war. The end of war feeling, that final stretch is sensed in the depictions of the exhausted and bloodied men as they fight on a wrecked and smoking battlefield.

 

During the course of the Great War, the United States issued four separate liberty bond campaigns in 1917 and 1918. The purchasing of liberty bonds became synonymous with patriotism, a clever sales tactic that resulted in nearly $5,000,000,000 of liberty bond sales in the span of eight months!




Literature

 

Yates, Joshua and Hunter, James Davison, Thrift and Thriving in America: Capitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present, Oxford (2011) 386-8; “Liberty Bond History, libertybonds.com.