NoVember is for Victory Bonds

November 9, 2018 | Ann

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Four Reasons for Buying Victory Bonds Poster 1914

The message on this World War I-era stamp is simple: citizens should help finance Canada's military if they want these men defeated.

Library of Congress's World Digital Library identifies these four Germans ("4 reasons"): "Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German emperor; Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, the chief of the German General Staff; Crown Prince Wilhelm, the son of the emperor and heir to the throne; and Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, commander of the German Navy." 

The specific method of financial support was the purchase of Victory Bonds. As the Ontario Government Archives points out, Victory Bonds "were a loan to the government that could be redeemed with interest after 5, 10, or 20 years and were released during 5 different campaigns between 1915 and 1919." Much of the Allied efforts in the First and Second World Wars were made possible by the funds supplied by Victory Loans through the sale of Victory Bonds. The first war loan was made in November 1915 but the term "Victory Loan" did not come into effect until November 1917. 

The Victory Loan Dominion Publicity Committee promoted and informed the country to offer support to help fund the Great War. Toronto Public Library has digitized its own collection of broadsides (posters) from the committee's campaigns — and they are available to view on Digital Archive Ontario.


Items by the Victory Loan Dominion Publicity Committee

Poster of winter factory reading Nothing Doing Without Victory Bonds 1914

According to Collins Dictionary, the phrase Nothing Doing has been in recorded use since 1794 but gradually fizzled out from the 1940s onward. This phrase was used by Our Gang (The Little Rascals) in the short film comedy series that ran from 1922 to 1944. The phrase means "not possible" or "will not happen." This antiquated phrase is used here to indicate a dire need of funding the Great War. 

  Canada's Weak Spot Poster with stats that show fewer percentage of Canadians bought victory bonds than Great Britain and USA

If more straightforward appeals did not influence Canadians to support the war effort, perhaps a sense of shame would. This poster compares the generosity of Canadians to other countries. The poster shows that Canadians severely lag behind the United States and Great Britain on a per capita basis. War times were not just the literal battle fronts but a war of words on our home front to support the troops. 

To Maintain Prosperity in Canada - Buy Victory Bonds Poster, Buy Victory bonds 5 and a half interest, tax free with images of farms and towns

Poster in a frame, with a young man putting on uniform and reading Come On! Let's Finish the Job - Buy Victory Bonds Poster 1919

After a long, five-year war, the Victory Loan Dominion Publicity Committee likely felt the pressure to end the fighting. Still, the messages were often positive and uplifting for the people to continue to support the war — as is shown in the two items above. The framed printer's sample depicts a man facing the viewer who laughs and beacons us to join in this cause to put our uniforms on and deal the final victorious blow.

Wartime Canada: 1919 Peace and Another Victory Loan cover page with break down where funds go

Pamphlet courtesy of Wartime Canada

After the Great War ended in 1919, the Canadian Government required additional funds to support the veterans, repair and support those affected during the war. The above four-page pamphlet issued by the Dominion Publicity Committee discusses how the funds would be partitioned and spent. 



Today, citizens continue to support Canada's government by purchasing Canada Savings Bonds. The Government of Canada website reveals that these bonds are a historical offshoot of the Victory War Bonds.

May your month of November be another way to remember and honour those who fought and supported the Great War over a century ago.

Discover more posters from the First World War on Digital Archive Ontario. (Also, explore posters from the Second World War.)