Back Them Up. Invest in the War Loan
This 1915 poster issued in London by the Parliamentary War Savings Committee shows a well-dressed, prosperous man reaching into his pocket as he watches soldiers and artillery pass by in the background. The caption reads: "My duty." During World War I, the British government relied heavily on loans to finance the cost of the war. The Treasury issued its first war loan in November 1914 at an interest rate of 3.5 percent, followed by a second loan in June 1915 at 4.5 percent. The Parliamentary War Savings Committee, a cross-party organization set up in July 1915 as an outgrowth of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, commissioned numerous posters urging citizens to lend their savings to the government. Through appeals such as this and by offering relatively high interest rates—5 percent by 1917—Britain was able to finance much of its war effort. These loans proved to be a heavy burden on the postwar economy, however, and contributed to the decline of British power and prosperity in the decades after the war.
Parliamentary War Savings Committee, London
Type of Item
1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 74 x 50 centimeters
- Roy Douglas, “Voluntary Enlistment in the First World War and the Work of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee,” Journal of Modern History 42, number 4 (December 1970).
Last updated: January 17, 2017