War Art Piece 7

Victory Bonds – World War 1 Propaganda Poster

What Aspect of War or Event Does This Piece of Art Depict?

Two key elements of the war effort on the home front are at play in this propaganda poster.  The first is the ever obvious Victory Bonds, a method for financing the war, and second, industrial expansion.  In the case of this poster, the Victory Bonds are to finance further industrialization, presumably in Canada.  Industrialization was an important aspect to the first world war and the war in general could be seen as a war of industrial strength.  Both the Allies and Central Powers were fighting a war of industrial strength.  Technological innovations were rapid throughout the entirety of the war for everything from munitions, to vehicles to infrastructure.  In the case of this poster, industry on the home front was an enormous task (and generally filled by women though the poster depicts men) and was just as necessary as fighting in the trenches.  Unexpected to many early on in the war, Canada became a source for loans and supplies.  Canada assisted by producing artillery, among other things, for the war effort and this poster is a depiction of the need for industrial expansion.  It should also be noted that the industrial needs of the war helped to boost the Canadian economy and unemployment was virtually non-existent.

http://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/guerre/finance-prod-e.aspx

Hew Strachen’s Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War

 

Who Created This Piece of Art?

This piece of art that has the caption, “Buy Victory Bonds, for industrial expansion” champions the need for the people to make financial contributions and to make tremendous sacrifices to bolster industrial expansion. The strong use of propaganda implement by the government in posters such as this one vastly impacted the living experience of those living on the home front. Beyond financial loans, socially citizens were expected to make dramatic changes in their living experience. For example prohibition was implement as it was argued that banning alcohol was a necessary sacrifice, for maximizing the citizens efforts towards the single goal of winning the war. Overall this poster implies that sacrifices must be made in order for progress to exist.

 

Where Was This Piece of Art Created?

Wartime propaganda posters were not printed centrally by the Federal Government in Canada. From 1916, however, Ottawa did establish a War Poster Service which produced both English and French posters. The majority of posters seen throughout Canada were produced by various entities. Many companies or well-to-do citizens would produce propaganda posters, and regiments would often make their own recruitment posters. As battalions and regiments of the First World War recruited from a particular area, these would have been produced for a local market. Posters of this sort would have been created based on the needs of a community or ethnic group. Based on the collections that Keelor’s works have been included it, it is likely that he produced posters for an Ontario entity.

“Evaluating Wartime Posters: Were They Good Propaganda?” Achieves of Ontario http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/warposters/english/introduction.htm

 

For What Purpose Was This Art Created?

This propaganda poster was created as part of one of several campaigns to get the Canadian people to buy war bonds, or ‘Victory Bonds’. Five different campaigns were launched between 1915 and 1919 by the government in an endeavour to raise money for the war effort both on the front lines and at home. Several different tactics were used to persuade Canadians to buy war bonds through propaganda posters such as showing how they supported soldiers and would assist in defeating the enemy. In the case of this poster the attempt was to show how purchasing bonds would help industrial expansion and therefore be beneficial to those still in Canada struggling with the loss of workers. By rebranding war bonds as victory bonds and using the idea of helping the Canadian economy and expansion, the government could appeal to all Canadians whether or not they actually supported Canadian involvement in the war. Propaganda posters such as this were hugely successful in Canada and purchases of bonds exceeded the government’s expectations wildly, this poster fully met the purpose for which it was created.

http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/explore/online/posters/bonds.aspx

 

What Does This Piece of Art Tell Us About The Experience of War?

This piece of art that has the caption, “Buy Victory Bonds, for industrial expansion” champions the need for the people to make financial contributions and to make tremendous sacrifices to bolster industrial expansion. The strong use of propaganda implement by the government in posters such as this one vastly impacted the living experience of those living on the home front. Beyond financial loans, socially citizens were expected to make dramatic changes in their living experience. For example prohibition was implement as it was argued that banning alcohol was a necessary sacrifice, for maximizing the citizens efforts towards the single goal of winning the war. Overall this poster implies that sacrifices must be made in order for progress to exist.

~~~

The purpose of the piece shows the important of Industrial power and expansion during the Total Wars of the 20th Century. Expanding Canada’s industrial power was essential to supplying the CEF overseas. Its use of new artistic designs reflects the artistic and cultural changes going on during the period. Hundreds of millions of dollars were raised, showing the success of propaganda campaigns, and the willingness of Canadians to support the war effort even as it dragged on and claimed more lives. Canada’s ability to create the industrial base and support the war helped shape its identity.

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