John McCrae


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“Buy Liberty Bonds” was one of many posters issued during World War I to encourage support of the war. This propaganda poster features an image of three soldiers in agony, one holding a sword, with more soldiers in the background. They are hovering over a field with red poppy flowers and graves marked by crosses. Fire surrounds the scene as planes fly above and bombs explode. The text in the poster is a poem titled “Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae in 1918. McCrae served in World War I as a colonel. While "Flanders Fields" is now a significant part of Remembrance Day celebrations and the history of WWI; initially, the American government used it as part of their Liberty Bond campaigns. The campaigns tied the poem to more of a financial context rather than the historical and emotional tone that contemporary audiences typically attribute to it now. This poster was intended to promote the purchase of Liberty Bonds. Liberty Loans were bonds that the government sold so they could keep up with the expenses of war. These were sold back to the government after the war. Subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty in the United States and introduced the idea of financial securities to many citizens for the first time. While the artist of this poster is unknown, it is known that it was circulated in 1918. The poster was most likely created and reproduced as a lithographic print at the time of it’s distribution.


WWI, poster, Liberty Loans, War Bonds