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With millions of new wage earners working in war production plants, and little on which to spend their wages, Americans were encouraged to buy war bonds. It was the patriotic thing to do, after all. That money helped pay for the tools of warfare the G.I.’s so desperately needed. By war’s end, some 85 million Americans had purchased $185 billion worth of war bonds.

Bond Poster


 Art of War

Following Congress’s formal declaration of war on December 8, 1941, Americans had no qualms about using propaganda posters to rally their fellow citizens to the cause. Over the next several years, nearly 200,000 different designs were printed, exhorting young men and women to enlist, encouraging those who stayed at home to conserve gas, rubber, and an assortment of other commodities, and asking everyone to buy bonds. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library has an impressive collection of these posters, and many of our best are displayed here.

Propaganda Poster

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

 Women in the Workforce

As American men flooded into the nation’s armed services, millions of women rolled up their sleeves and worked in factories, shipyards, and on the farm. Employees at the Sangamon Ordnance Plant in Illiopolis, Illinois, were required to wear a worker ID badge. Note the similar ID pin worn on the collar of Rosie the Riveter in the famous “We Can Do It” poster.

Sangamon Ordnance Worker ID Badge

Courtesy of Kathy Hatcher

On the Home Front

American manufacturers produced much more than the tools of war. They also supplied Americans with an abundance of items that kept the war effort uppermost in the public’s mind, and in the process proved Americans’ patriotism and ingenuity

Ration Books

Courtesy of Kathy Hatcher

Victory Pin

Courtesy of Kathy Hatcher

Bombs Away Game

Courtesy of Kathy Hatcher


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