War Bonds Poster
They say that money can’t buy happiness, but according to this Italian World War 1 propaganda poster, it can at least by peace.
The caption in Italian reads: “Give Money for Victory. Victory is Peace.” A huge artillery piece stands in a sea of gold coins (instead of the usual mud of the trenches) while it’s gun points at the distant mountains, in reference to the fact that much of the fighting between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire took place on its mountainous northern frontier.
Raising money for the war effort was a top priority for all of the belligerents. Italy, France, Britain and the United States all raised money by selling war bonds to its citizens on the promise of good returns of interest guaranteed by the government. Many countries also encouraged their citizens to hand over their gold, including jewelry, and trade it in for war bonds.
The war was not very popular in Italy and Italy’s efforts to raise funds through the sale of war bonds was not very successful, despite patriotic propaganda posters such as this, which promised peace if only people would hand over their cash.
This particular poster was designed by Giuseppe Russo (1888‒1960), an Italian caricaturist and illustrator.
This was bond drive was underwritten by the Banca Italiana di Sconto (Italian Discount Bank) which sold most bonds to lower class Italians in Northern Italy. The bank went bankrupt in 1921 due to bad investments and the economic upheaval that followed World War 1.