The National Archives at New York City

Teachable Texts from the National Archives at New York City

Any Bonds Today: Selling Support for World War II

Description

Throughout World War II, the War Finance Commmitee in the Department of the Treasury oversaw the sale of war bonds. Through a series of specific Bond Drives throughout the war, over 85 million Americans purchased over $185.7 billion worth of securities. These bonds were purchased to lend the Federal government money to finance the war effort.

Millions of dollars in advertising space was donated as both private companies and government agencies built support for purchasing war bonds. These efforts, and others on the homefront, had the dual effect of helping finance the war and improving the morale of millions of Americans. Through the shared sacrifice and their voluntary efforts, people felt that they were doing their part on the home-front.

Among the records of the National Archives at New York City, are hundreds of photographs that document the publicity efforts of the Department of the Treasury in the New York City area. Photographs of rallies, radio shows, and other events throughout the five boroughs show a city doing its part. In addition, the Minute Man Handy Reference Guide to the 4th War Loan serves as a guide for those promoting the sale of war bonds by informing them of the current war situation and the types of actions that will occurin the the Fourth Bond drive. Starting in January 1944 and continuing for the next month, the Guide provides the student of history an insight into the variety of actions occurring around the country to build support for the war effort. With over 6 million Americans served as volunteer salesman, $16.7 billion was sold during this drive.

(Information adapted from Duke University Libraries' Digital Collections and Mobilizing the Home Front: War Bonds and Domestic Propaganda By James J. Kimble)


Document



Discussion Questions:

  • In "All Out for the 4th" (pg 3-4), what aspects of the 4th War Loan are described as firsts? What do you think the purpose and impact of these firsts were?
  • Describe the methods used by the government to try raise $14 billion for the 4th War Loan. Do you think these methods would work today? Why or why not?
  • How were children going to be used to help promote the 4th War Loan? Why do you think children were used in this way?
  • In "To Liven Your Drive - Try These" (pg 5), describe the methods used to sell war bonds. Which three do you find most interesting? Why?
  • Describe the overall tone of "It's Not Over Yet" (pg 12) and "The Hour of Trial" (pg 13). How do these compare with the earlier parts of the publication?
  • Overall, what does this publication tell you about life on the homefront during World War II?

Extension Activities

  • Connections to Today: If the government was trying to raise similar funds today, what methods would you recommend it to use to most effectively reach this goal? Why these methods?
  • Debate the Issue: Should children be used in such an active way to promote the 4th War Loan? Why or why not?
  • Further Research: Have students research the actions of Fourth War Loan. How successful was the Fourth War Loan at achieving its goals? How did it compare to earlier and later efforts?
  • Making Local Connections: What were the efforts of the War Loan efforts in your local community? What events were held? How effective were these efforts?

Standards

  • National History Standards
    • Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
      • Standard 3C: The student understands the effects of World War II at home.

  • NY Standards
    • SS1.C.1. The study of New York State and United States history requires an analysis of the development of American culture, its diversity and multicultural context, and the ways people are unified by many values, practices, and traditions.
    • SS1.C.4. The skills of historical analysis include the ability to: explain the significance of historical evidence; weigh the importance, reliability, and validity of evidence; understand the concept of multiple causation; understand the importance of changing and competing interpretations of different historical developments.

  • NJ Standards
    • 6.1.12.C.11.a Apply opportunity cost and trade-offs to evaluate the shift in economic resources from the production of domestic to military goods during World War II, and analyze the impact of the post-war shift back to domestic production.
    • 6.1.12.D.11.c Explain why women, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and other minority groups often expressed a strong sense of nationalism despite the discrimination they experienced in the military and workforce.

Additional Resources:

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