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Tag Archives: WWII

March 4

March 4, 1943 – Der Fuehrer’s Face Wins Academy Award

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“We heil! Heil! Right in der Fuehrer’s face!”

On March 4, 1943, the 15th Academy Awards were held at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, California. The Disney propaganda short film Der Fuehrer’s Face won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, beating out the likes of All Out for V, Blitz Wolf, Juke Box Jamboree, Pigs in a Polka, and Tulips Shall Grow. Most of the shorts in this category, including Der Fuehrer’s Face, ridiculed the brainwashing tactics of Nazism and were very anti-German, save for Pigs in a Polka, which parodied Disney’s Three Little Pigs and Fantasia. The song for Der Fuehrer’s Face, written by studio composer Oliver Wallace, also proved to be very popular after it was recorded by Spike Jones and His City Slickers.

January 28

January 28, 1942 – The Federal Government Releases Press Statement About Disney-Designed Emblem

“…the four freedoms pledged in the Atlantic Charter and later by the United Nations are freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.”

On January 28, 1942, the Federal Government released a press statement about the Disney-designed emblem for the Department of Agriculture. Created by Disney artist Hank Porter, the emblem featured an eagle flying over a cargo ship, and was meant to be added to labels to signify that the food came from the United States, particularly when sent overseas through the Lend-Lease program. The emblem found itself on cans of lima beans, canned meat, and packed apples.

September 25

September 25, 1942 – The Donald Duck Short Film The Vanishing Private is Released to Theaters

“Did you see a little guy that you can’t see?”

On September 25, 1942, the Donald Duck wartime short film The Vanishing Private was released to theaters. The short was directed by Jack King, written by Carl Barks, and stars Clarence Nash as Donald Duck, and Billy Bletcher as Pete.

The short opens with Donald painting a cannon with yellow, green, and red stripes with black dots. Sergeant Pete finds him and grabs him, asking what he’s doing there, with Donald responding that he’s a camouflage painter. Pete chastises him, telling him that Donald needs to paint the cannon so that people don’t see it, with Donald responding that he didn’t know. Donald runs off to find some new paint, and wanders into the Experimental Laboratory – Camouflage Corps building. He looks at a particular bucket of paint, which happens to be invisible paint. Amazed at his find, he decides this is the perfect paint to use for his cannon.

Pete gets Donald out of the cannon, not realizing that the bucket of invisible paint is on the other side as Donald falls into it

Pete stops by later after Donald has finished painting the cannon invisible, thinking that Donald has stolen the cannon. He runs into the end of the cannon, alerting Donald, who informs the sergeant that he’ll be right down. Pete cautiously feels around for the end of the cannon, then sends Donald flying out of the other end, straight into the bucket of invisible paint. Donald then runs away, diving into a creek and running into a field of tall flowers, with Pete in hot pursuit. Pete throws some flowers aside, which reveal Donald’s location. Donald quickly brushes the flowers away and runs off.

Having gotten an idea of how to make the duck visible again, Pete grabs more flowers and begins throwing them everywhere, as Donald skips around a tree singing “Here We Go ’Round the Mulberry Bush.” Just as Pete imitates him, throwing flowers around, the General pulls up in his car and clears his throat to get Pete’s attention. Pete asks if he’s seen someone he can’t see, and the General, alarmed, shakes his head.

After flying into the arsenal, Pete decides that violence is the only way to catch the invisible duck

Meanwhile, Donald continues to cause mischief, grabbing a batch of pies from an open window and shoving one in Pete’s face. He leads the sergeant in a chase all around the camp, sending Pete flying into the arsenal, grabbing as many grenades as he can carry and throwing them around madly. The General tries to stop him, but Pete ends up blowing the both of them up when he drops all the grenades. Pete is then seen in solitary confinement, sitting in a padded cell with a straight jacket on. He implores Donald, his now-visible guard, to tell the General that he’s not crazy, to which Donald answers, “Do you think I’m crazy?”

July 21

July 21, 1942 – The Animated Educational Film Food Will Win the War is Delivered to the Department of Agriculture

“In many lands, towns are ravaged – countrysides laid waste by ruthless Axis hordes. Farms, cattle, and crops have been destroyed. Ruin, destitution, hunger stalk the helpless victims of the cruel aggressor.”

On July 21, 1942, the Disney Studios delivered the animated educational film Food Will Win the War to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At the time, the studios were producing many animated educational shorts, which still had the Disney touch in their animation and gags. These shorts, like this one, were also used to help build morale. The film was directed by Hamilton Luske, and is narrated by Fred Shields.

The film begins with the declaration that the world is aflame, as the members of the united nations are at war. Images cross the screen of war-torn towns, with a couple sitting, staring at what was once their home. However, a light of hope appears in the sky, called the Hope of American Agriculture. America is filled with abundant farmlands, and the animation shows that every single affected country can fit within the U.S., proving that there is enough abundant farmland and crops to help these crippled countries. There are 30 million farmers, with their wives and children, ready to help these countries in need, “twice as many as the Axis has soldiers,” the narrator states.

The farmers, their wives, and their children stand on the surface of the globe, ready to use their crops as weapons to help win the war

The farmers receive their own patriotic segment that portrays them as important soldiers in the battle, with tools (farm machinery), regiments of trucks, and divisions of corn pickers, all while working under the stress of war. One crop example is wheat; the narrator explains that the crop for the year is 52,800,000,000 pounds of wheat. “If all this wheat were made into flour,” he says, “there’d be enough to snow under the entire German Panzer Army.” The narrator moves on to the importance of corn, soybeans, potatoes, tomatoes, various vegetables and fruits, dairy, meat, and eggs, using humor for their examples. The farmers are then lauded for their important job, as a part of the war effort as much as any solider: Their food will help win the war.