Location

Greenspun College of Urban Affairs

Description

Walt Disney’s work as an animator during World War II had a measurable impact on culture and in the development of government produced messages. It is important to examine this understudied area of Disney’s life and his studio’s efforts to produce wartime training and propaganda films during WWII. Government agencies, including the U.S. Treasury, contracted Disney to produce 32 animated shorts between 1941 and 1945 (Gabler, 2007).

Employing a semiotic approach of cinema, this study focuses on the cartoons The New Spirit (1942), Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943) and Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi (1943). While American wartime animated propaganda was not limited to the Disney Studio, Disney’s specific brand of propaganda with its optimism and nostalgia helped unite the U.S. during a time of war.

Keywords

Animated films; Disney characters; Motion pictures—Semiotics; Nazis; Propaganda; Propaganda, American; Propaganda films; Semiotics; United States. Department of the Treasury; Walt Disney Productions; World War II

Disciplines

American Film Studies | Communication | Film and Media Studies | Marketing | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social Influence and Political Communication

Language

English

 
Apr 21st, 1:00 AM Apr 21st, 2:30 AM

Walt Disney and the Propaganda Complex: Government Funded Animation and Hollywood Complicity During WWII

Greenspun College of Urban Affairs

Walt Disney’s work as an animator during World War II had a measurable impact on culture and in the development of government produced messages. It is important to examine this understudied area of Disney’s life and his studio’s efforts to produce wartime training and propaganda films during WWII. Government agencies, including the U.S. Treasury, contracted Disney to produce 32 animated shorts between 1941 and 1945 (Gabler, 2007).

Employing a semiotic approach of cinema, this study focuses on the cartoons The New Spirit (1942), Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943) and Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi (1943). While American wartime animated propaganda was not limited to the Disney Studio, Disney’s specific brand of propaganda with its optimism and nostalgia helped unite the U.S. during a time of war.