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Object: Poster, ’Air Force Week’

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Title Poster, ’Air Force Week’
Production National War Savings Office (publisher), June 1943, Wellington
Medium summary Three colour block printed text over a colour line block process image (photomechanical) on paper
Materials printing ink, paper
Classification political posters
Technique photomechanical processes
Dimensions Overall: 734mm (Height) x 485mm (Width)
Credit line Gift of Mr C H Andrews, 1967
Registration number GH015438

This 'Air Force Week' poster was created to advertise the 3rd Liberty Loan which was issued from 8 June to 10 July 1943 by the New Zealand government. New Zealand's Second World War effort was financed from internal resources, including loans, taxation, and savings. Posters such as this one played a significant part, making intense appeals to New Zealanders' sense of patriotism and sacrifice.

Seven loans were floated during the War, with the aim of raising a total of £145 million pounds. These schemes were huge and dramatic, were held only once or twice a year, and generally attracted larger investments from business firms, public bodies and wealthier individuals. A key intention of the loans was to absorb New Zealanders' private savings, which had increased owing to the paucity of goods and services (which had been diverted to the war effort), thereby offsetting inflation. The emotional premise of the loans was to conscript wealth in the same spirit as the conscription of people, essentially making ordinary citizens shareholders in the war effort. Even though it was acknowledged that money could never equal the loss of life or injury to soldiers, the risks were to be shared between soldiers and civilians, who would be rewarded with pay and interest, respectively.

3rd Liberty Loan posters were seen widely throughout New Zealand, particularly where Liberty Loan booths were erected (including department stores, theatres, hotels, football grounds and racing clubs). Cinemas also played a big part in the success of the loans with their displays of posters, slides and films. Posters made especially for the Army, Navy and Air Force were displayed for only one week each.

Unusually for a New Zealand war poster, the enemy is named and mocked: 'Send Your Money Jap Busting!' The luridly coloured image of fighter planes on a dizzying diagonal flight path foretells impending terror from the skies. It shows the strength of air power, but is impersonal and vicious in its intent: such imagery was common in Second World War posters.

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