"BACK 'EM UP" CITIZEN CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD WAR II
GABY SKOVIRA and MOLLY BURKE
GROUP II, TEAM 3
As many as 3,000 types of posters were produced during the Second World War, posters with images that captured the attention, posters that connected civilians to the war effort, posters featuring themes that set the tone for success.
The central image of the “Back ‘Em Up, Buy Extra Bonds,” poster is General Eisenhower, with a dramatic D-Day image of the beach invasion in the background. Eisenhower, a celebrated war hero, is the focal point. It seems as though the General himself is asking the public for their help. His serious expression highlights the urgency of the situation. Eisenhower was known not only for his military success, but also his understanding of families’ concern for their boys on the front lines. His image [implies that public support] was crucial.
The poster was printed and released between June-July 1944. The period during which the Treasury promoted the 5th War Loan was a critical point as the Allied pace increased with the success of the D-Day invasion. The propaganda initiative sold $20.6 billion worth of bonds.1
Evocative Meaning / Interpretations
The wrinkles on Eisenhower’s face . . . are not hidden . . . The [perspective] certainly illustrates that he is not young, that his responsibilities lay heavily on his shoulders.
One of the most interesting representations in the poster is the artist’s ability to convey emotion through a limited variation of color. Chaliapin used shades of orange and red in the background when illustrating D-Day, while Eisenhower stands out against the orange in contrasting shades of brown.
1James J. Kimble, Mobilizing the Home Front: War Bonds and Domestic Propaganda (College Station: Texas A & M. University Press, 2006), 42.