Disney’s forays into making World War II-era propaganda resulted in some interesting imagery, including beloved cartoons like Donald Duck stalking racist caricatures of Japanese people and Pacific Islanders. The 10-minute short “Education For Death: The Making Of The Nazi” might be the boldest of any of them, though. Newly relevant thanks to the sudden, Trump-influenced repackaging of racist, nationalist ideas as the “alt-right,” the cartoon explores the way education is used to create conscience-free soldiers. In the process, it dehumanizes Germans, using stark, film noir imagery to contrast the innocence of the German women and children with the absolute, literally cartoonish evil of the Nazis. It also features a red-faced Donald Duck-inspired version of Hitler wooing a decidedly size-ist caricature of the Russian people, because it was 1943 and pretty much something in here was bound to offend modern sensibilities.
May the propaganda of our immediate future feature the graceful animation and thoughtful composition of vintage Disney films.