American World War II poster promoting the purchase of war bonds to prevent bondage
overall: Height: 28.250 inches (71.755 cm) | Width: 21.000 inches (53.34 cm)
The poster was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2018 by Suzanne Herskovic Ponder.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Suzanne Herskovic Ponder
World War II war bond advertisement poster depicting a man with half of his body in bondage while the other half is free. The poster implies that buying war bonds supports the war effort as well as the American ideals of freedom and free enterprise, while the alternative is barren oppression under Nazi rule. Giving ten percent of your earnings references the practice of tithing, giving ten percent of one’s earnings to the church or charity. War bonds were offered by the United States government for purchase by the public, who would then keep the bond and be reimbursed for its return at a later date. To help the war effort, RCA Victor held war bond drive rallies that featured notable military figures and Victor record recording artists. They also introduced the Beat the Promise worker incentive program that encouraged employees to surpass production quotas. The campaign was very successful; RCA Victor’s production in 1941 was 14 times greater than in 1939, and production through the first six months of 1942 was 49 times greater than the same period in 1939. By the end of World War II, Americans had purchased over $185 billion in war bonds.
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Poster printed on heavy weight, off white paper with an image of a man with his arms and legs extended out, half of his body free and half in chains. The man wears blue overalls and a blue cap. The left side of the poster is bright, with a waving American flag in the man’s hand and plowed farmland in the foreground. In the background are factories behind a skyline full of skyscrapers against a blue sky. The right side shows a wasteland with bare, dead trees in the foreground, and a small bombed out building and rising smoke in the background. The colors are dark and heavily shaded and the man’s arm and leg are attached to a ball and chain inscribed with a swastika. Large red, gray, and white text is along the top of the image. The paper has a loss on the front left corner. The back has dark black streaks throughout.