This poster from the Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNC) is the work of the French caricaturist and poster artist, Georges Goursat, known as Sem (1863-1934). It calls on the BNC’s clientele to participate in the 4th National Defence loan, known as the Liberation Loan, launched in October 1918.
The Arc de Triomphe shown in the background of thisdocument illustrates the imminence of the Allies victory. And under the arch, a procession of ghost armies from past wars marches with the Poilus (WWI soldiers), urged on by the Marseillaise statue.
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.