Wehranleihe: 200,000 units
Mindful of the threat of war, the Federal Assembly approved a total of CHF 235 million for an extraordinary armaments programme.
To finance this, the Federal Council issued the so-called Wehranleihe. The interest rate was 3 %, slightly above the normal rate for government bonds. Thanks to a massive (for the time) advertising campaign, a total of CHF 335 million was subscribed.
Silver-plated thank you for helping to shore up Switzerland’s defences
The Federal Council had decided to present subscribers with an artistically decorated certificate of thanks along with their bonds, but the suggestion was then made to create a special coin instead. The idea initially came to nothing, but in view of the impressive results of the subscription it was subsequently revived in order to memorialise the commitment of the Swiss people to the national defence. Based on a federal decree of 27 October 1937, a special coin with legal tender status was issued „in memory of the resounding success of the 1936 War Bond and the unequivocal expression of the will of the Swiss people to strengthen their national defence“. The artists were asked to come up with a coin image that expressed the Swiss people’s commitment to self-defence in an easily understandable, succinct and aesthetically refined way. Around 300 entries were received, of which one, by the Geneva-based sculptor Max Weber, was chosen as the final design.
Dove of peace and steel helmet
The obverse shows a young woman in a half-seated position, looking at a dove of peace on her left hand. In her right hand, she holds the sword as a symbol of the military protection necessary to safeguard peace. The reverse features a square in the centre, enclosing the Swiss cross and the text PRO PATRIA ARMIS TUENDA (For arms to protect the country). Above the square is a steel helmet dividing the year of issue (1936). The space to the right and left of the square is decorated with oak leaves.