Behind the industrial machinery on U.S. soil to manufacture weapons and ammunition for the U.S. military and its allies on the front line night and day, the economy played a role that cannot be ignored, but its importance seems to have been overlooked by future generations. Any long, large-scale war is largely a test of the economic strength of the two warring parties, once a country’s treasury reserves of hot silver shortage, then the use of savings bonds from the private sector to raise military funds became the only choice for all countries involved in the war, compared to the possible public discontent caused by raising the tax levy point – this is the “war bonds” from its inception.
Throughout World War II, the U.S. Treasury issued eight issues of Treasury bonds to finance the war effort, with more than 85 million purchases, raising approximately $185.7 billion.
In order to stimulate more people to buy the bonds, the U.S. Information Commission made numerous posters and deliberately instilled in the public the idea that buying bonds was equivalent to being patriotic.
Morgenthau forwarded the first defense bonds to President Roosevelt. Although this was a mere formality, it was an indication of the importance Roosevelt attached to the bond effort.
Morgenthau planned for the bonds to be issued on the morning of Thursday, May 1, 1941, and the printing of the bonds and stamps was already in full swing. At 9:20 p.m. EDT on April 30, Morgenthau was sitting next to Roosevelt, while a CBS crew was still working on the microphones, loudspeakers and broadcast signal output. 9:30 p.m. sharp, the American public heard a voice unlike any other, and it came from Morgenthau. “The U.S. government will provide an official answer tomorrow morning to the question of when the defense program will begin, which is of concern to many American people.” Morgenthau then set up the question, “Many people may ask, ‘What can we do?’ My answer is that U.S. defense bonds and stamps will be available to the public in every state, in every county, in every city, in every town in the United States. …… Any citizen has the right to buy them to do his or her small part in the defense of the United States.” After the speech, Morgenthau took out a prepared bond with a face value of $500 and told the public that the bond he was holding would be sold tomorrow morning along with other bonds.
The “Campus at War” program actively encouraged students to purchase stamps and bonds, and the military used the funds to purchase military jeeps, such as the $1,950 front-line ambulance jeep shown in the poster. As a sort of incentive, the Army allowed the name of the school that funded the purchase to be printed on the driver’s side of the jeep. By the end of 1943, the U.S. Army had more than 20,500 military jeeps purchased with funds raised through the “Wartime Campus” program.
Charles Tubin, head of the Illinois District Bond Sale, who gave an appreciation speech to school students in the South Central District of Chicago, pictured on June 4, 1943. According to the amount of his check on the right, the district’s students raised $263,148.83, enough money to purchase 125 Jeeps and two airplanes.
When the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor spread to all corners of the United States, the sales of defense bonds rose steeply in a geometric multiple that was difficult to estimate.