This week, all War Bonds, all the time, in the 18 November, 1944 Saturday Evening Post. (Hover over images to see descriptions/text transcriptions, click if you’d like to see larger versions on Flickr.) These advertisements fascinate me, especially some of the language used; I’d be interested to hear from readers who were around in 1944 about War Bonds and the social pressure to buy them. The language in many of the ads I’ve seen is pretty intense, making it clear that people should feel heartily ashamed of themselves if they don’t buy War Bonds. Indeed, we have ads coming out and saying that people should overstretch themselves and buy more than they can afford or they will be bad citizens.
Interesting counterpoint to the culture of thrift which we generally assume was present in the 1940s. And chilling to read now, in the throes of an economic crisis caused by lack of thrift among many Americans.
Note this: “The American civilian’s duty is to buy and buy War Bonds…more—yes, more—than he can afford! Don’t shirk your duty. Buy Bonds till it hurts!”
Again with the not subtle: “Yes, dig down deep into your jeans. Make your idle dollars fighting dollars. Shorten that long road to Tokyo by buying more bonds than you can afford. Our boys need your help.”
Buy till it hurts, indeed.