On les aura! 2e Emprunt de la Défense Nationale. Souscrivez
Translation: "We’ll get them! The 2nd National Defense Loan. Subscribe"
Abel Faivre, Paris, 1916

By 1916, the war many believed would last only weeks had dragged on for more than sixteen months. The armies, once mobile and offensive, descended into the stalemate of trench warfare and nations sank into massive financial debt.

To finance the war, nations relied upon the sale of liberty bonds to their citizens. These securities were tax exempt and guaranteed a modest interest rate. Under the National Defense Loan program, France initiated four such bond campaigns to fund the war’s six billion dollar annual cost.

In this poster, created for the Second National Defense Loan, Faivre captures the optimism of a charging soldier leading his comrades to battle. Artists relied upon positive imagery to stir hope, patriotism, and a feeling that liberty bond sales would bring the war to a speedy end. The illustration is an interpretation of Eugéne Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People painting (1830), which honors France’s July Revolution.