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The 1942 victory loan drive

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, before we visited the mysterious Fallsville Christmas Ghost, we were in 1942 and the citizens in Highland County and beyond were being asked to make financial contributions to help win the war.

Overall, the U.S. was trying to raise $9 billion. Highland County’s quota was $882,000, which is roughly $13.4 million today, but an editorial in the local newspaper was confident that residents and the local financial institutions would be able to fork over the dough. The folks of the county would be responsible for ponying up $500,000, with the financial institutions responsible for the rest.

“Will they (the people of Highland County) buy their quota?” the editorial asked. “We are confident they will. Why? In World War I the people of Highland County in every drive oversubscribed the quota assigned them. We believe our people are just as patriotic today as they were then. Also our people are intelligent. They know that the money must be raised to win the war. They want our fighting men to have everything needed to defeat our enemies. They appreciate that a fate worse than slavery, even worse than death, awaits them if we lose this war. They know all of their material possessions are at stake as well as their freedom and liberty.”

The editorial also pointed out that America was fighting a third, invisible foe.

“Many do not appreciate that in addition to fighting Germany and Japan, we are fighting inflation, second only in danger to Germany and Japan,” the editorial stressed. “To prevent bad inflation, which means financial chaos, the people must buy a large percentage of bonds issued to carry on the war. The larger percentage purchased by individuals the less inflation there will be. When a person buys Victory Bonds he is protecting the value of his home, the purchasing power of his dollars, all of his material possessions whether they be real estate, personal property of all kinds or bonds, stocks and securities of all kinds.”

Perhaps we should send that nearly 80-year-old warning regarding inflation to our elected officials.

Anyway, the editorial went on to assert that if folks don’t buy up their fair share (or more) of these bonds, they simply aren’t patriotic.

“In this Victory Bond drive the people are asked to use not just part of their current income but to use the savings of years to purchase these bonds. If people do not take money in savings accounts and cut their checking accounts to a minimum they are failing their duty,” the editorial chided. “If when this campaign ends a person has a large savings account he is ‘laying down’ on our fighting men and on our country.”

After all, Highland Countians were relatively well-to-do coming off the Great Depression, the opinion piece said.

“Bank deposits in Highland County now are at an all-time high. This is true both of savings and checking accounts. This is proof that our people have a lot more money than they usually have. They must take what they do not need for carrying on their businesses and for living expenses and buy bonds.

“$500,000 is a lot of money. But money in savings account pays one percent while the government will pay 2 ½ percent and one-third of the money in savings accounts withdrawn and used to purchase bonds will insure Highland County meeting its quota. Figured on that basis it should be easy to meet the quota,” the editorial said, though warned yet again, “Don’t expect your neighbor to but the bonds. Buy yourself and do it now. You will ‘show your colors’ during this drive. Don’t let them be ‘yellow.’ If you have a considerable amount of idle cash when this drive ends you are not a good American.”

We’ll keep an eye on the Victory Loan Drive and see if the residents of Highland County were “good Americans” and meet the quota, but let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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