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Make your Money Fight!

Patriotic saving in the Second World War

The Second World War applied extraordinary strains to Australia’s society, its economy and its institutions of government. The war represented the greatest risk to the nation’s security since Federation. Whilst the war was fought in the skies of Europe, the jungles of New Guinea and on the Indian and Pacific oceans, effective management of Australia’s ‘home front’ was also essential in maintaining the nation’s security and its capacity to support the broader allied war effort.

A poster produced by the Bank showing a mother and her family with the slogan '
                                 Liberty Loan - we dare not fail'


The Second World War applied extraordinary strains to Australia’s society, its economy and its institutions of government.

A wartime poster explaining inflation - 'Inflation: prices go up, then people buy less, business slumps, people lose jobs'

The Spectre of Inflation

The dramatic reduction in unemployment and the scarcity of consumer goods during the war created a very real risk of inflation.

A woman minding a shop with empty shelves and a sign saying 'no matches, no cigarettes, no tobacco. Sorry'

Rationing, Austerity and Black Markets

The government responded to the scarcity of goods with a rationing system, an austerity campaign and strict measures to counteract black marketing.

A photograph of Dr H C Coombs working at his desk

The Role of Dr H C Coombs

The formidable task of establishing Australia’s rationing system was given to Dr H C Coombs. It would prove to be a formative experience.

A cartoon showing 'The Australian citizen' holding a gun labelled '3rd Victory loan' up to a burglar labelled 'inflation'

Arresting Spending Power

The federal government recognised the need to absorb and divert the population’s spending power in order to reduce the risk of inflation.

A tally board of districts in Victoria comparing their contributions to the First Victory Loan

Filling the Loans

The loans were promoted through an extraordinary public relations campaign.

A cartoon of John Maynard Keynes sitting in an armchair

Keynesian Economics in Wartime

The Government’s response to the economic challenges presented by the war constituted the first major application of Keynesian economic theory in Australian public policy.

An advertisement encouraging the public to 'Invest in the 4th Liberty Loan - Your nest egg for the future'

The Results

The loans campaign engaged an extraordinary proportion of the Australian population and raised crucial funds for the war effort.

A photograph of the Commonwealth Bank building decorated with the banner 'Make your money fight - buy war savings certificates'

The Role of the Central Bank

The war transformed the responsbilities of Australia’s central bank, and its role in Australia’s economy.

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