- By Carole Eibelheuser -
Waging the battle on the home front included loaning our government money to help finance the war effort through the purchase of Defense Bonds, later called War Bonds, and even later Victory Bonds. The War Finance Committee and the War Advertising Council produced the greatest volume of advertising to date in U.S. history. Starting with radio and newspaper ads, then magazines, “The Greatest Investment on Earth” was launched to the people of the U.S. More than a
quarter of a billion dollars worth of advertising was donated during the first three years of the National Defense Savings Program.
Bond rallies were held throughout the country with famous celebrities. Greer Garson, Bette Davis, and Rita Hayworth completed seven tours in more than 399 cities and towns to promote War Bonds. More than 300 stars took part in the “Stars Over America” bond blitz.
Other promotions included free movie days with a bond purchase as the admission and special football and baseball game admissions were war bonds.
“Any Bonds Today” written by Irving Berlin became the theme song of the Treasury Department’s National Defense Savings Program. Kate Smith, famous for her rendition of “God Bless America,” participated in a marathon radio broadcast which raised $40 million for the bonds.
One promotional cardboard had slots for quarters, to equal $18.75. When it was full, one could turn it in to the post office for a $25 bond that matured in ten years. School children could buy a ten cent stamp to paste in a book to go toward the purchase of a bond.
Today we have the Series EE bonds and War Bonds are history