Wartime Wednesday: War Bonds
Individuals, organizations (such as the American Women’s Voluntary Service), and the government all sold War Bonds during WWII. In fact, the Fed spent millions of dollars in advertising to get the word out about purchasing bonds. In addition, Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, and other famous people attended rallies and made radio announcements to encourage people to buy.
How did the public feel about the campaigns?
Thanks to the many surveys conducted throughout the war by various government agencies and departments on just about everything: women in the workforce, rationing, spending habits, and war bond campaigns, there are reports that tell us.
Apparently, not everyone was happy about the constant barrage of sales messages.
Here are a few responses from a Department of Treasury questionnaire:
“I sometimes wonder if they aren’t spending too much money on these campaigns. It might be necessary, I don’t know, but I think people should buy bonds without too much urging.”
“The fact that the radio keeps hammering away at mothers and fathers to buy for their sons on the front is overdone.”
“I don’t think that things that work on the nation’s emotions are necessary. Just a calm statement of what they need occasionally would be enough.”
“Sometimes the radio programs were too blunt and dogmatic to have an appeal.”
What percentage of the population was unhappy with the constant selling is unclear. But unhappy or not, men, women and children dug deep and purchased over $180 billion dollars in bonds.