Professor Durahn Taylor explains the plan FDR discussed in his State of the Union speech in 1942 to fund WWII through taxes and bonds.
In his State of the Union speech in 1942, FDR laid out methods the country could employ to help the United States pay for WWII. From collecting taxes to purchasing bonds and making sacrifices, the government encouraged people to contribute to the government's efforts. In this lesson, students will view video clips to learn about several programs and strategies that were implemented to help fund the war, engage in discussion and explain how the government and media industries collaborated to persuade people of all ages to participate in a program.
To begin class, engage students in a discussion on income taxes and savings bonds to activate background knowledge. Some questions to consider:
What are income taxes? Why do we have them? Who pays income tax?
As a class, view the two video clips below and have students respond to the accompanying questions. Discuss students' responses to ensure understanding of income taxes and bonds.
Video Clip 1: Funding World War II (5:26)
Pace University professor Durahn Taylor explains the plan FDR discussed in his State of the Union speech in 1942 to fund WWII through taxes and bonds.
Explain FDR's remarks to the public regarding WWII funding during his State of the Union speech in 1942.
Explain the difference between taxes and bonds.
Video Clip 2: United States Defense Savings Stamps (4:55)
Professor Durahn Taylor explains how young people could collect stamps and save to purchase bonds to help fund WWII.
Explain how people could support funding the war by collecting stamps.
Using either the following Funding World War II Through Taxes and Bonds Note-taking Handout or the questions associated with each video clip, have students view each video clip individually or in a jigsaw activity to discover how the government worked with media companies to persuade people off all ages to contribute to the cause of funding the war. Discuss students' observations and responses to the accompanying questions.
Handout: Funding World War II Through Taxes and Bonds Note-taking Chart (Google Doc)
Students can also use the handout below to answer questions about each video.
Handout: Funding World War II Through Taxes and Bonds Guiding Questions (Google Doc)
Video Clip 3: Funding WWII Through Taxes (5:10)
During World War II, the U.S. government explored ways to incentivize people to pay their taxes to help pay for the war. Professor Taylor describes how Disney studios supported this effort.
How did Disney studios impact the process of collecting taxes to raise revenue to pay for the war?
Video Clip 4: WWII: Comic Book Ads, Savings Bonds and Stamps (5:03)
Professor Durahn Taylor explains how the U.S. Treasury collaborated with the comic book industry to secure funding for the war. He presents an ad that was placed in the first Wonder Woman comic.
Explain how the U.S. Treasury collaborated with the comic book industry to seek support in funding the war through buying defense stamps.
Video Clip 5: WWII: Ads and Slogans in Comic Books (2:17)
Pace University professor Durahn Taylor presents an ad in a Batman and Robin comic that delivers a message to support purchasing stamps and bonds to support funding World War II.
Video Clip 6: WWII: Recycling Paper in the U.S. (7:19)
Pace University professor Durahn Taylor explains how people in the U.S. were finding ways to recycle paper during World War II to support creating essential supplies for the troops.
Explain the meaning behind the slogan "Fight Paper Waster – and Hang One on the Paper-Hanger of Berlin!"
Video Clip 7: Bond Campaigns After WWII (2:42)
Professor Durahn Taylor talks about bond campaigns after World War II and their relevance today.
After the war was won, what happened to the savings bonds and stamp programs in the U.S.?
Prompt: Considering the United States today in terms of its involvement in foreign and domestic issues, would you consider contributing some of your income to taxes and savings bonds to help defray costs to particular programs?
As a class, brainstorm a list of national issues. Then ask students to respond to the prompt and provide specific reasons why they would/would not support a government bond program like they learned about in this lesson.
Create an ad or song you think would be effective in compelling people to purchase bonds or contribute funds to support an issue that interests you. This could be for a social media platforms, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc.
Some ideas to consider: