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- 11 -082016

Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 18

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War Bonds

Although exceptional credits were voted by the Legislative Assembly in order to finance military operations and war industries in the early stages of the war, very soon France started facing a liquidity crisis. Like most countries involved in the war, France issued war bonds to raise money for its involvement in the war. The first war bond was issued in November 1915, the second and third ones were respectively issued in October 1916 and 1917, and the fourth and last one in 1918. War bonds also maintained the confidence that the Home Front was and remained totally mobilized. The state turned to the banks and pressured them to advertise, promote and sell the largest quantities of bonds. Advertising posters were printed in order to nurture patriotism among the general public.

Rouget de Lisle needs you

The Societé Marseillaise de Crédit Industriel et Commercial et de Dépôts (SMC) was a bank founded in Marseille during the reign of Napoleon III. In 1871, its headquarters moved to Paris, on 75 rue de Paradis.

The poster above was printed in 1918. It is quite likely that the president of the bank, Jules Charles Roux (1841-1918) who was born in Marseilles participated in choosing this particular illustration.

This poster was signed by French architect Jacques Carlu (1890-1976) who got his inspiration from the 1849 representation of Rouget de Lisle by Isidore Pils (1813/15-1875). Rouget de Lisle’s right hand is shown pointing to the Société Marseillaise as he is haranguing soldiers wearing an Adrian helmet. The bareheaded soldier in the front answers to the call by pointing his gun. The author of La Marseillaise and the two open-mouthed soldiers in the front look as though they are singing French anthem. The Tricolore is blowing in the wind, over the fighting men.

During the Great War, the figure of Rouget de Lisle was used on only one poster while five others used La Marseillaise sculpted by François Rude, and four others the allegories of the Fatherland, the French Republic, France and Liberty.

The poster is accompanied by three slogans : À l’appel de Rouget de Lisle ; Souscrivez à l’emprunt de la Libération ; Allons donc enfants de la Patrie, allez achever de libérer les peuples des dernières fureurs de la force immonde by Georges Clémenceau (1841-1929) who was President of the Council. [Rouget de Lisle needs you–Subscribe to the Liberation War Bond–Let’s go Children of the Fatherland, go and finish to liberate the people from the last evil dogs of war].


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