[PODCAST ATM STORIES] The Great War: when the bank contributed to France’s victory

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This episode of the ATM stories podcast takes us on a journey through the archives of the Great War, which show the role of French banks in financing the war effort. Relive the patriotic enthusiasm and the effervescence that surrounded the banks’ communication campaigns around the national loans!

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About the Great War loans

The First World War proved to be long and costly. To finance the war effort, the State launched four national loans between 1915 and 1918 and called on the population to mobilise its savings in support of the Front. Subsequently, in 1919 and 1920, to deal with the ravages of war and to revive the economy, the State launched two new loans intented for Reconstruction and the financing of companies. To this end, the banks that were the forerunners of BNP Paribas had been using a populator means of expression since the 1880s: posters. Covering the fronts of branches and tinged with patriotism, they aimed to reach the hearts of the French.

The following selection of posters from BNP Paribas’ historical collections illustrates the allegorical dimension of the messages and their persuasive nature.

These archives linked to national defence loans were promoted on the occasion of the 1914-1918 Centenary commemorations, via an exhibition co-organised by five French banks and the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.

Download the catalogue of the exhibition “French Banks during the Great War: The unseen Archives” and discover “unseen” archives as they are sometimes known to researchers but rarely to the general public.

Discover these Great War posters in pictures

Representation of Alsace and Lorraine symbolised by two women in regional costume, by Auguste Leroux in 1918 – © BNP Paribas Historical Archives

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Major branch of the CNEP, located 2 Place de l’Opéra in Paris, exposing the Alsace-Lorraine poster commissionned from the french artist Auguste Leroux, 1918 – © BNP Paribas Historical Archives

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National Borrowing 1920, “Suscribe” – Paribas, by Francisque Poulbot 1920 – © BNP Paribas Historical Archives

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