Dated 1944, this vintage WWII poster encourages the purchase of War Bonds. The poster depicts a machine gunner in action, fighting in the Pacific theater. His hands clutch a machine gun while a targeted Japanese Zero falls in flames behind him. The poster reads “YOU can’t afford to miss EITHER” at the top of the image, further urging the American populace to “BUY BONDS EVERY PAYDAY” at the bottom of the poster.
This poster was an official U.S. Treasury Department poster, illustrated by Martha Sawyers and printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1944.
The war ushered in the biggest advertising campaign to date, critical to the wartime communication needs of every combatant: from raising money, recruiting soldiers and boosting volunteer efforts, to spurring production and provoking outrage at enemy atrocities. The most common themes found in the posters were the consequences of careless talk, anti-German and Japanese propaganda, and, as seen in this poster, urges to purchase War Bonds and Victory Bonds.
Defense Bonds first went on the market on May 1, 1941, and they were renamed War Bonds after the US entered the war in December 1941. Bonds were available in denominations of $25 through $1,000, designed to be affordable for everyone. Eight War Loan Drives were conducted in the US from 1942 to 1945. Each was meant to raise an additional $9-$15 billion in sales. Towns received quotas, with the aim of promoting competition between towns. Volunteers went door-to-door, pleading for sales and rewarding purchasers with stickers to display on their window or door.
The drives were conducted on the following dates: First War Loan Drive: Nov. 30 to Dec. 23, 1942; Second War Loan Drive: Apr. 12 to May 1, 1943; Third War Loan Drive: Sep. 9 to Oct. 1, 1943; Fourth War Loan Drive: Jan. 18 to Feb. 15, 1944; Fifth War Loan Drive: June 12 to July 8, 1944; Sixth War Loan Drive: Nov. 20 to Dec. 16, 1944; Seventh War Loan Drive: May 14 to June 30, 1945; Victory Loan Drive: Oct. 29 to Dec. 8, 1945.
By the end of the war, 85 million Americans (out of a population of 131 million) had purchased $185.7 billion dollars of bonds – over $2,000 per person, at a time when the average income was $2,000 per year. The patriotism and personal sacrifice of the average citizen played a significant part in the Allied war effort.
Very good condition. Color is vibrant and strong. Signed in stone by Sawyers at lower left of image. Fold lines present, with small tears and creases at bottom.
Poster has been archivally presented in a custom-built black and gold wooden frame. Framed dimensions 43 ¾”H x 35 ¼”W x 1 ½”D.
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