Donald Duck & Friends Star in World War II Propaganda Cartoons

Dur­ing World War II, all hands were on deck, even in Hol­ly­wood. Many of Amer­i­ca and Britain’s finest film­mak­ers, from Hitch­cock to Frank Capra, were recruit­ed to cre­ate pro­pa­gan­da films to sup­port the war effort. (More on that here.) And the same went for Walt Dis­ney, who turned his lov­able car­toon char­ac­ters into good patri­ots.

In 1942, Dis­ney released “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” an anti-Nazi pro­pa­gan­da movie that bol­stered sup­port for the war, and even­tu­al­ly won the Acad­e­my Award for Best Ani­mat­ed Short Film. Then, a year lat­er, came The Spir­it of ’43, which fea­tures Don­ald Duck help­ing Amer­i­cans to under­stand why they need to pay their tax­es. Oth­er wartime Dis­ney shorts include Don­ald Gets Draft­ed (1942)The Old Army Game (1943), and Com­man­do Duck (1944). Then, com­ing out of this pro­pa­gan­da tra­di­tion, you’ll also find Don­ald Duck Meets Glenn Beck in Right Wing Radio Duck, a recent spoof by Jonathan McIn­tosh (of Rebel­lious Pix­els). It’s a good bit of fun.

Note: Der Fuehrer’s Face and The Spir­it of ’43 appear in the Ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Dis­ney Car­toons Are Made

Disney’s Oscar-Win­ning Adven­tures in Music

Dr. Seuss’ World War II Pro­pa­gan­da Films: Your Job in Ger­many (1945) and Our Job in Japan(1946)

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