War Bond Posters

War bond propaganda during the Second World War is considered to be one of the most diverse categories due to the large range in audience that they were trying to target. Women were used in war bond propaganda in the United States of America during the Second World War to encourage those on the home front to buy more war bonds. These posters use the depiction of women to inspire both men and women alike to buy bonds. There were also posters that were directed specifically at women who were now in charge of their own finances since many of their husbands had left for war. These posters showed American women what was expected of them. It is uncertain how much of an effect that these posters had on women specifically, but it is known that only a quarter of war bonds that were purchased in the Second World War were bought by individuals. 

Married women in war bond posters were one of the most commonly featured war bond poster that depicted women in the United States. These posters usually displayed a mature woman in them with some feminine charm. They often featured slogans that had to do with sacrifice, safety, or the future. These posters were meant to inspire guilt in the viewer, both men and women, and cause them to feel the need to contribute more to the war effort. There were two different kinds of guilt that the government was trying to invoke, guilt that other women had had sacrificed sons and husbands to the war, the second was that it was because the government did not have the funds to protect these men properly. It was intended by the United States government to make the viewer reflect on the fact that many women had lost husbands to the war. Most of the married women posters also featured children in them as well to amplify the guilt of the viewer by adding the idea that she is now home alone trying to maintain her household alone. Once the viewer has considered this, it was hoped that the audience of this poster, would no longer see the purchasing as a great sacrifice in comparison to all the women that lost their husbands and cause the public to be more willing to contribute.

War bonds were not simply supposed to be seen as a sacrifice and a contribution, they were also supposed to be seen as an investment in the future. War bond propaganda poster’s showed women that the new ideal woman was not only smart and beautiful, she was also interested in saving for the future. They were supposed to trigger women to think about the great depression and how it would be in their family’s better interest to have savings in the bank for when the war was over. Some posters advertised the idea of buying a new home, car, or new appliances, after the war was over, while others, such as the one to the right, simply focused on the future of mother’s children. This poster shows America’s interest in focusing on the American family as a reason it invest in war bonds and displays a woman who is motherly and caring. These posters were directed primarily at women who were now in charge of their own finances.

The American government also had to work against their fear that women who were already living without many luxuries would feel compelled to spend any extra cash on themselves instead of buying war bonds. The way in which the government chose to counteract this fear was by publishing such posters as the one to the left. Theses posters were meant to invoke the idea that the American men who were putting their lives in danger, for the freedom of those who were safe at home, were at the risk of not having enough supplies to support themselves, be it food to nourish themselves with, or weapons and guns to defend themselves with. These posters were intended to cause women primarily to feel  guilty that they would put their own interested and comforts before the necessities that the American troops required. similar posters of the one to the left also reminded women that the more support that the soldiers had financially, then the sooner they would be able to win the war and come home to their loved ones.

The United States of America also came up with the propaganda to sell war bonds by using “The Four Freedom” which were supposed to remind Americans what they were fighting for and encourage Americans to continue financing the war. The poster that was meant to display the freedom from want, which can be seen on the right, features an older woman as one of the prominent figures in the image. By placing the older woman in a dominant position it shows how women were being displayed as an important part of American society during these war efforts. This poster also shows how Americans were more focused on promoting the family ideal when it came to war bond posters instead of having sexually alluring females, more commonly known as The Blond.

The Blond was meant to inspire men into purchasing war bonds. the government tried to us was trying to show men subliminally that war bonds were attractive things as well.   By causing them to make a positive association with war bonds while they were looking at the attractive female in the poster, they had hope that time next time the man was offered a chance to buy a war bond they would remember the sexualized woman and buy a bond. Sexually alluring posters were not as common in the United States as they were in other countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, they preferred to use more of a family idea when campaigning with the selling of war bonds.

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