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Back your cheers with your money. Buy peace bonds

Date: 1918
Dimensions:
Display dimensions: 1275 × 930 mm G Fini
Medium: Colour lithograph on paper, linen backed, printing inks
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00051786
Related Place:Australia,

User Terms

    Description
    Peace bonds were established for sale to raise funds for the resettlement of soldiers, sailors and airmen returning from World War I. Of the 330,770 Australian men who served overseas during World War I, 267,607 returned, of which over 150,000 were sick and wounded. In the 1918 poster the public jubilation and celebration that accompanied the soldier's return at cities around the country is captured and the emotions expressed at these events are used to promote the purchase of peace bonds.
    SignificanceThis poster documents the propaganda used at the close of World War I. The repatriation and resettlement of Australian servicemen was a large and expensive task with significant political implications. In 1918 the public support for the returning servicemen from the nation's first collective experience of war was extensive. This poster uses the emotion from this period to promote the purchase of peace bonds.
    HistoryOf the 330,770 Australian men who served overseas during World War I almost one in five was killed. 267,607 returned, of which over 150,000 were sick and wounded. Similar to the war bonds sold to the public to fund the war, peace bonds were established to raise funds for the resettlement of returned servicemen. This was managed by the Commonwealth Bank on behalf of the Federal Government and inventive means were used to promote their sale. In the 1918 poster the public jubilation and celebration that accompanied the soldier's return at cities around the country is captured and the emotions expressed at these events are used to promote the purchase of peace bonds.

    War pension legislation had been passed shortly after the outbreak of war. Securing employment for returned soldiers was also considered as early as 1915 when the first groups of soldiers were repatriated to Australia. War councils established in each state to assist work placements and the council of the Employer's Federation of NSW decided to take steps to assist the government to have the soldiers settled. However, it did little to generate new positions for the increasing numbers of returned soldiers.

    Most political leaders were most concerned to solve the political problems caused by the gathering of returned soldiers in the city streets. By mid-January 1916, Anzacs had become so frequently involved in riots and violence in the streets that the press warned there was 'an urgent problem' at hand. On 8 April 1918 a Department of Repatriation was established. However, there was significant unrest as more and more soldiers returned to unemployment. At the end of the war whilst the repatriation of Australian men from foreign lands was efficient, the last to return was in September 1919, there was still little done to ensure the employment of returned men. Embryonic veteran's organisations began as early as 1915 to provide comforts and companionship as well as to lobby governments to keep promises made during the recruiting process. By the end of the war there were a number of these organisations with varying political orientations. Soldier resettlement and employment though, was a common thread.

    Land settlement was emphasized by the government for consideration as increased farming was thought to be of economic benefit to the nation. Of all the methods offered it was the most successful with almost forty thousand returned soldiers across Australia availing themselves of the opportunity to take up land, though many of these agricultural ventures failed within a few years despite economic incentives. This was mainly due to settling unsuitable land and climate, falling prices, war injuries and in some cases families with large numbers of young children. The farming model itself the scheme was based on was also flawed (according to Marilyn Lake) as most of the ex-soldiers had almost no capital and so despite loans with artificially lowered interest rates the settlers had often a 100% debt on the land and any improvements they made. Many depended on state assistance just to subsist.

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