On Sept. 8, 1943, Roosevelt launched the third of eight war loan drives during the war. The first Series E U.S. Savings Bond was sold to President Roosevelt by Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau in May 1, 1941. On January 3, 1946, the last proceeds from the Victory Bond campaign were deposited to the Treasury. Altogether, the loan drives sold a total of $185.7 billion of securities. By war’s end, 85 million Americans had invested in War Bonds, a number never again matched by this or any other country.
The war bond campaign was a fusion of nationalism and consumerism. Seeking to stir the conscience of Americans, it invoked both their financial and moral stake in the war and provided a way for people to express patriotic attitudes and a spirit of sacrifice. Also, many Americans were working long hours at good wages in the war effort; they had money to invest and not enough goods to purchase. War bonds appeared to be a good investment in their country and their future.
The $15 billion goal of the Third War Loan meant that the record amount of bonds sold previously in a single month would have to be more than doubled, and over 40 million of America’s 130 million citizens would have to invest in a $100 Series E Savings Bond. And they did it! The Third War Loan achieved 107% of its goal, with final sales totaling almost $19 billion.