This poster of the Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNC), created by the French painter Georges Bertin Scott de Pagnolle (1873-1943), calls on people to participate in the 3rd National Defence loan launched in October 1917. The sums the French people loaned the State to finance the war effort were paid back in the form of an annual annuity of 5%.
In the centre of the scene, a woman wearing a Phrygian cap brandishes both the tricolour flag and a sword. With a warrior look, she tramples a bed of laurels and leads the French troops, in the background, towards victory. This creation recalls the work of Eugène Delacroix, inspired by the revolution of July 1830, Liberty Leading the People.
When the banks contributed to the war effort
French banks provided decisive support to help fund the 1914-1918 war and the reconstruction efforts.
Faced with the exceptional financial needs related to the length of the conflict, the French government launched 4 major “National Defence loans” (1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918).
Meanwhile the banks mobilised their networks in order to harness the savings of the French people. Issued as perpetual bonds starting in 1915, these four National Defence loans were the most famous, promoted on posters featuring powerful patriotic allegories. These posters covered the facades of bank agencies during the war.