Buy War Bonds!
May 30, 2006 8:34 AM   Subscribe

World War II Posters from the large collection at the Northwestern University Library.
posted by Gamblor (19 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some are beautiful.
Some are comical.
Some are familiar.
Some are creepy.
Some are timely.
And some are just strange.

(A belated post for Memorial Day)
posted by Gamblor at 8:35 AM on May 30, 2006


As if that SA photoshop is in the Northwestern collection.
posted by Jairus at 9:19 AM on May 30, 2006


I'm always in awe when I look at these how the national mood was "grow your own food" and "save every scrap of leather," etc. And then sixty years later, the national mood is "buy this Hummer for FREEDOM! Conserve gas? What are you, a Commie?"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:20 AM on May 30, 2006


My thoughts exactly. The idea of citizens sacrificing for the common good during wartime seems so distant now, and almost quaint. I thought this one was kind of timely, as well.
posted by Gamblor at 9:29 AM on May 30, 2006


Why exactly is fish a fighting food?
posted by GuyZero at 9:38 AM on May 30, 2006


Why exactly is fish a fighting food?

I'm guessing either because it's good for you (fish oil etc) and hence gives you bright, fit and brainy troops, or perhaps relying more on fish as a meat reduced reliance on livestock and freed up farmers to fight.

Great post - I have spent a happy half an hour browsing through these.
posted by greycap at 9:46 AM on May 30, 2006


Bookmarked for later perusal ... it looks quite cool, thanks.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:48 AM on May 30, 2006


This is remarkable. Thank you, Gamblor.
posted by Zozo at 10:10 AM on May 30, 2006


Whatever you do, DON'T tell James Lileks about these.
posted by slatternus at 11:28 AM on May 30, 2006


This is a great collection, thanks!
posted by blendor at 11:44 AM on May 30, 2006


While we are still your friend, we avoid the tam'o'shanters these days.
posted by GuyZero at 12:08 PM on May 30, 2006


Strange? Wouldn't the waste fats be used to make nitroglycerine?
posted by porpoise at 2:02 PM on May 30, 2006


XQ, you and I don't agree on much, but yours was also my first reaction. We certainly have gotten away from the "shared sacrifice" part of war. There is something ignoble (or maybe the word is creepy) about going into war with the stated intention of disrupting American lives as little as possible.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:14 PM on May 30, 2006


Why exactly is fish a fighting food?

I'm guessing either because it's good for you (fish oil etc) and hence gives you bright, fit and brainy troops, or perhaps relying more on fish as a meat reduced reliance on livestock and freed up farmers to fight.


GuyZero and Greycap
Meat was rationed - as were sugar and many othere foods as well as gasoline. Tires were hard to get; there were no new cars.
Fat like bacon grease was saved, but I have no idea how it was collected.
posted by Cranberry at 3:17 PM on May 30, 2006


Yeah, but was it just the alliteration for the poster or does fish have special combat properties? Seriously. I mean, fish is healthy and all but was probably considered a lower class food back in the 30's. Maybe that's it - it's to promote people eating foods that they'd normally reject.
posted by GuyZero at 3:54 PM on May 30, 2006


This man is your FRIEND. He fights for FREEDOM.
posted by StopMakingSense at 5:42 PM on May 30, 2006


Nice find, Gamblor, thanks. There's also the Powers of Persuasion exhibit at the National Archives, and two small (but nicely done) galleries of war posters here.

More on World War II Rationing and U.S. War Bonds:
"Red Stamp" rationing covered all meats, butter, fat, and oils, and with some exceptions, cheese. Each person was allowed a certain amount of points weekly with expiration dates to consider. "Blue Stamp" rationing covered canned, bottled, and frozen fruits and vegetables, plus juices and dry beans; and such processed foods as soups, baby food and catsup. Ration stamps became a kind of currency with each family being issued a "War Ration Book." Each stamp authorized a purchase of rationed goods in the quantity and time designated, and the book guaranteed each family its fair share of goods made scarce, thanks to the war.

[photo of ration book]


---

The War Finance Committee was in charge of supervising the sale of all bonds, and the War Advertising Council promoted voluntary compliance with bond buying. The work of those two organizations produced the greatest volume of advertising in U.S. history. In the name of defense of American liberty and democracy, and as safe havens for investment, the public was continually urged to buy bonds.

[war bond ad campaigns]
Consider also that the median income in the U.S. during WWII was $2,000. These Census Bureau Historical Income Tables go from 1947 to 2001, but give the general idea.

I wonder what national calamity would make the U.S. willingly submit to programs like this today?
posted by cenoxo at 6:14 PM on May 30, 2006


I own an original of this one. Bought it on Ebay many years back for like $40. I love the sentiment--sadly one that belongs to the past...
posted by banishedimmortal at 7:49 PM on May 30, 2006


I wonder what national calamity would make the U.S. willingly submit to programs like this today?

Probably the same as last time: a real threat from a real enemy that actually did threaten the continuation of civilization. Nostalgic righties are always trotting out posters like these as fond examples of the "good old days" when Americans knew what was what, and knew how to make common cause against evil, and if only we could wind back the clock to those days, etc. etc.

Well, maybe the reason the rest of America (and Canada)aren't marching in step to the tin drums of yesteryear is that no one except a handful of wingnuts believes this war is anything but an investment scam for Haliburton and the Carlyle group. Maybe that's why we're unable to summon up that Johnny Can-do spirit this time around.

The main thing I find virtuous about these posters is their honesty. They scream "Look at me, I'm pro war propaganda!". Nothing's disguised. No viral memes, no clever subtext, and no NEED for dishonesty.
posted by slatternus at 8:43 PM on May 30, 2006


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