During World War II, Walt Disney entered into a contract with the US government to develop 32 animated shorts. Nearly bankrupted by Fantasia (1940), Disney needed to refill its coffers, and making American propaganda films didn’t seem like a bad way to do it. On numerous occasions, Donald Duck was called upon to deliver moral messages to domestic audiences (see The Spirit of ’43 and Der Fuehrer’s Face). But that wasn’t the case with Education for Death: The Making of Nazi, a film shown in U.S. movie theaters in 1943.
Based on a book written by Gregor Ziemer, this animated short used a different lineup of characters to show how the Nazi party turned innocent youth into Hitler’s corrupted children. Unlike other topics addressed in Disney war films (e.g. taxes and the draft), this theme, the cultivation of young minds, hit awfully close to home. And it’s perhaps why it’s one of Disney’s better wartime films. (Spiegel Online has more on Disney’s WW II propaganda films here.)
You will find Education for Death permanently listed in the Animation section of our collection of Free Movies Online.
Follow Open Culture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and Flipboard and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. And if you want to make sure that our posts definitely appear in your Facebook newsfeed, just follow these simple steps.