The $3,000,000,000 Punch


This World War I poster shows Uncle Sam, a personification of the United States, in a coat labeled "Liberty Bond," punching the German ruler, Kaiser Wilhelm II. The intended message is that Americans can deal a blow to the enemy by purchasing bonds to finance the war effort. The U.S. government issued bonds, also called Liberty Bonds, in 1917 and 1918, raising a total of $21.5 billion. Many of the bonds were bought by banks and financial institutions as investments, but a massive public relations campaign was mounted to urge individuals to make purchases as well. This poster is by Jo Davidson (1883–1952), an American artist mainly known as a sculptor. Davidson was born on New York’s Lower East Side to immigrant parents and studied drawing in New York at the art school of the Educational Alliance and at the Art Students' League. He later studied sculpture in New York and, very briefly, in Paris. He went on to produce bronze likenesses of many important personalities, including U.S. presidents, international political leaders, and famous writers, scientists, and actors.

Last updated: February 10, 2014