Poster

Der Fuehrer's Face

A Wartime Short

Release Date : January 1, 1943

Running Time : 7:54

Synopsis

A German "oom-pah" band parades through town extolling the "virtues" of the Fuehrer with the title song. They awaken Donald Duck who has to go to work in a Nazi munitions factory, much to his regret. Luckily in the end, after a frantic workday trying to alternate between making bombs and saluting Hitler, he finds that it has all been a nightmare and that he is still living the the good old U.S.A.

Characters

Donald Duck

Credits

Director
Jack Kinney
Animation
Bob Carlson
Les Clark
Bill Justice
Milt Neil
Charles Nichols
John Sibley
Layout
Don da Gradi
Andy Engman
Music
Oliver Wallace

Awards

Academy Award (Short Subjects - Cartoons)

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : On the Front Lines
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Comments

From Anonymous : Although I have never seen this cartoon, It seems like it might be kind of fun to watch. I really wish that they would show it on the Disney Channel. The people who saw this cartoon at the time probably thought it was one of the most hilarious use in making fun of Hitler. After all, who wouldn't. I mean Hitler was a very sick man and deserved to be made fun of.
From Jerry Edwards : My favorite of the WWII subject cartoons. Although this cartoon was very funny, it was also one of the most effective propaganda films of its time. Everything in the cartoon (houses, trees, clouds, etc.) is shaped like a swastika. The hellish conditions of living in a totalitarian state are vividly portrayed. The "Der Fuehrer's Face" song which begins and ends the short is quite hilarious just by itself. This is the only Donald Duck short to win an Academy Award. My "Cartoons Go To War" video tape does not contain the short, just some clips and info on it. It is possible that Disney objected to the short and my video is a later censored version. An incomplete black and white version was shown on the 11/13/60 Disney anthology TV show "Donald's Silver Anniversary." One of the great Disney shorts, propaganda or otherwise.
From Ryan : This was definitely one of my favorite Disney shorts. Here we've got poor Donald Duck waking up to an annoying marching band and going to his table to eat breakfast. He takes out one coffee bean and puts it in his cup. He saws hard bread and has a terrible time trying to chew it. This cartoon made me laugh all the way through, especially seeing poor Donald alternate between making bombs and saluting Hitler.
From Bill : I had the good luck to see a covert late night showing of Donald in Nutzi Land at a film festival quite a few years ago. It is absolutely incredible to me that this cartoon has been hidden away for most of the 20th Century. It is brilliantly conceived and executed and has the lively, sharp humor of the very best Disney cartoons. I cannot understand why Disney would bury this piece of history.
From Clinton : I don't know how it happened, but I was lucky enough to see this whole short on a special about Disney cartoons. It was years ago, but I remember it being quite good. Throughout the day, Donald must constantly stop what he's doing to "Heil Hitler!" at every image of der fuhrer. Of course this is a perfect set up for a sight gag. As I remember, one time when Donald comes up from a fall, he finds himself face to face with either a horse's or donkey's hind quarters. He immediately jumps up out of reflex and gives a "Heil Hitler!"
From Bob Wundrock : I saw this cartoon decades ago, probably on the DisneyLand TV show in the 1950's. I wish that Disney would allow release of this even though it depicts WWII stereotypes. Its historic value is great as one can use it to study WWII propaganda on both sides of the conflict.
From Gary : I definitely remember seeing this cartoon, as a young kid, way back in the 50's on the original Mickey Mouse Club series. (No kidding!) On each show 2 or 3 of the Mouseketeers would introduce that show's MouseCartoon and this was one of the few that I still remember. I know I saw it more than once, too. Maybe repeated on a later MM show, or even possible as part of a Donald Duck special on one of the early Disneyland TV shows. Nearly 45 years later, I still have the images of Donald unhappily being roused by the German band and of him frantically (and hysterically) screwing the tops onto the shells all the while saluting the pictures of Hitler that appeared on the assembly line belt in between each shell. I also vividly remember the ending, where Donald wakes up, sees a shadow on the bedroom wall of a figure with its arm raised, jumps up, turns to face what is creating the shadow, raising his arm saying "Heil...", ....and then sees that the figure creating the shadow is a miniature Statue of Liberty on his window sill.
From Jill : This cartoon actually was released about 10-11 years ago on an "unauthorized" VHS cartoon collection entitled "Donald Duck" -- I believe it had an orange VHS box and a badly drawn Donald on the cover. I remember buying the video for a friend's children and being really surprised to see swastikas in the cartoon while watching it with them. It was the first cartoon on the tape. I do not remember if there was a listing on the back of the box as to what shorts were on it, but I do know it IS out there.

I purchased it at Musicland as part of a 3-pack of other "public domain" type Disney cartoons, the other tapes were for Mickey and Goofy. Up until today, seeing this site, I had no idea which short it was or what the story behind it was. Now I am wishing I was still in touch with this friend so I could see if they still owned the tape.


From Ted : Every moment shines! And it's amazing what got past the censors! (Tame for today, but daring in its time: probably the fact that the object of the jokes was Der Fuehrer himself made the establishment a little more accomidating.) Examples: Donald's final, under-his-breath "Oh, Heil!" like he's cussing! Also the strategically placed swastika patches on the guard's rear ends. Even the razz-berries, right in Der Fuehrer's Face, would have pushed the envelope of the time. And this is DISNEY Studios!
From Rachel Newstead : This short won the Academy Award for 1942--and deservedly so. Not only is it an effective bit of propaganda, it is artistically stunning, incredibly funny, and has perhaps the best song of the 1940s--who could ask for more?

Like most people, I've never seen more than a scene or two of this short, but I've seen enough to know it's the best Donald Duck cartoon ever made, and among the top ten Disney shorts. The backgrounds are beautifully done--trees, clouds, buildings, everything is swastika-shaped. I've seen isolated sketches of the coffee bean sequence--from the expressions on Donald's face alone, it's a wonderful bit of personality animation--the surreptitious glances mixed with terror and pride. No other cartoon comes close to portraying this much emotion in one small scene.

It's a crime that this cartoon, because of its theme, is doomed to languish in Disney vaults. It won the Academy Award, for heaven's sake, and made Jerry Beck's list of the 50 greatest cartoons ever. Are we that afraid of offending the current generation of Germans?

As to the song, Spike Jones did a wonderful version that's every bit as funny as the cartoon. It may be worth rummaging through old records to find.

This get a 10, but I'd give it an 11 were it possible.


From Richard Miller : I first encountered the song on the comedy "MASH", the first two lines sung absently by Hawkeye, but he gave it the wrong rhythm--sort of like Sousa's "Liberty Bell March". Then Herman Wouk referred to it in "War and Remembrance" as the only record apparently available to play on a phonograph at a Greenland air base--every time it finished, someone would put the needle back to the beginning. I lucked onto it on an online service as performed by Spike Jones, but I'm not sure he was the original performer.
From Danny Paulson : I saw this as a little boy on the Walt Disney Show, many years later as college student and many years after that-today 11/28/02.

I still laugh and laugh. This is the greatest Donald Duck cartoon, anti-Nazi, pro-America and it certainly deserved the Academy Award it won 10 !/2 rating.

I don't understand why this can't be bought on VHS/DVD and is effectively banned!


From Jeremy Fassler : I am lucky enough to have seen this short in its entirety, and I say it is one of the ten best animated shorts of all time. The song "Der Fuehrer's face" is quite funny, and the cartoon is filled with wonderful visual gags and backgrounds. It's a shame that Disney will never release this cartoon.

How did I see it? I go to the Academy of Motion Picture arts and sciences every week for a movie, and one week, they played the best picture winner of 1942, "Mrs. Miniver." Before they show any best picture winner, they show the Oscar winning cartoon of that year and it was there where I saw Der Fuehrer's Face for the first time.

I'm just glad that there's the copy online of this classic short film.


From Tom Nahodil Jr. : I found this cartoon on Kazaa while looking for clips from "Going Quackers." It was listed as a banned Disney cartoon. I thought to myself, "What could Walt Disney possibly do to have one of his cartoons banned?" I started laughing from the first goose stepping to the tomato thrown in Hitler's face. Now I will admit that there is some stereotyping, but in the forties, nobody found a problem with stereotyping their enemies (particularly the Nazis). I wonder what Hitler's reaction would be if he saw this cartoon? His head would have been a cherry bomb; red and ready to explode. They should release these wartime cartoons on VHS and DVD and put a disclaimer so that people would be informed of what these cartoons contain. Could Disney or Warner Bros. do a cartoon of Osama and Sadaam in the same fashion? No. This cartoon is one of a kind and anyone can enjoy it if properly informed of its purpose: Satire!
From David Lesjak : Absolutely THE BEST Disney short released during the war and very deserving of the Academy Award it won. This cartoon was one of five anti-Nazi films released by the Studio during the war. Disney's Publicity Department referred to these films as "psychological productions."

Der Fuehrer's Face was originally scripted to be the plot for Disney's first income tax film. The film was originally titled "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land" but the song, which was released in advance of the film, became such a huge hit, Disney changed the film's title to der Fuehrer's Face to match the song's title.

The film's song was written by Studio composer Oliver Wallace who began his career at Disney's in 1936. Wallace wrote the chorus while riding his bike to the grocery store. According to the dFF Campaign Manual, Wallace had two daughters: "...they are typical high school youngsters more interested in Boogie Woogie...he tried the song on them and they got such a bang out of it that Wallace new the song was a hit."

When Wallace sang the song to Walt for the first time he was nervous because of the raspberry sound the chorus contained. Walt pressed Wallace to sing the song and when he did, Walt allegedly went into hysterical laughter.


From Bart Kasper : I was not raised on Disney animation (I'm 37) because the shorts were not on TV on a daily basis, but this cartoon is phenomenal! Jack Kinney did an excellent job in directing this cartoon; by the time it's over, you wish Disney had made it a 2-reeler! I'm very fortunate to have a copy of it in my collection and I hope it will be released on DVD someday. IMO, one must view this cartoon (and any WWII-themed cartoon) in its proper historic context in order to enjoy it. It is a shame that this short, along with other similar-themed cartoons, are banished from the airwaves and video today. To be denied the pleasure of viewing this short is just criminal.
From Ralph Whitley : My late father was in a POW camp during WWII. He never talked much about about his experiences there. However, when his mood was right he would sing "Der Fuehrer's Face" to anyone who would listen.

Recently, while watching the movie "Hart's War", I noticed in the background a group that was practicing a stage show that was going to be held by and for the POWs. Sure enough, the song they were rehearsing was "Der Fuehrer's Face".

Nice to have some background. Thanks.


From Bob Waggener : I remember this slam against Hitler during the war. We plan on using it in our Veterans Day USO show in November. I give it a 10 in view of the fact that it helped with morale during the war.
From Ed from Connecticut : I'm now 73 yrs old, but I still remember the cartoon short. I laughed then and I still laugh today when ever I even think of the lyrics. I also was an avid listener of "Kay Kaiser's College of Musical Knowledge." Spike Jones would belt out that song (with those bells and whistles injected by the band) with a cadence later used successfully br Dr. Seuss. If the internet was alive in those days, I believe the second world war would have never began.
From Lisa : I ran across this on Bearshare while looking for Disney Christmas songs. I was curious to see what this was about so I downloaded it. This short is hilarious, and I pick up something new every time I watch it. My dad was in WWII and he loves it. If this ever comes out on DVD I am going to buy it.
From Candy : This cartoon has got to be one of the most popular ones on this entire site. Not only is it popular with viewers, but it's popular with people who are Disney historians and people who were in the military. In other words, this is an important cartoon because it has attracted important people to it. I agree with everyone else that this cartoon should be released to the public on tape in some form. Obviously, people out there have seen it or parts of it, despite the fact that it has been banned for many years. I saw some scenes of it on an old Wonderful World of Disney show from the late 70s, "Disney's Academy Award Winners." I've seen the whole thing, in black and white, on a bootleg tape from a friend. I agree with everybody else on this site. It's one of the best cartoons out there, Disney or otherwise.

Admittedly, it's a very emotionally-charged cartoon. It has some disturbing images, despite all the fun and gags and satire. There's one brief scene where Donald sees a mirror image of himself dressed like Hitler, complete with Hitler mustache. The Disney artists did a good job of portraying things in a funny way while getting their point across that the Nazis were horrible people. It's hard to make a funny cartoon about such a horrible subject. As funny as this cartoon is - and it is very funny - it's also very dark and frightening because of the subject matter. Disney had a lot of guts to even do this kind of cartoon. It shows that he was willing to take on serious subjects and to deal with disturbing topics like the Nazis. It's too bad they didn't make more cartoons like this and that they don't make more political cartoons like this now. I can't think of anything more effective in a wartime situation than to tell stories and boost morale by things like this. The very fact that it has been banned has only increased its value. Der Fuehrer's Face is an important cartoon from a historical point of view.


From Lee Carter : I was expecting it to be stern and serious, but instead I found this hilarious cartoon that seemed to have been created in a lapse of sanity for the Disney writers. I've watched it every day since then (it's been about a week), and I can't get the song out of my head. In fact, when my friends who have seen it are with me, we occasionally start singing the song together. It freaks people out, but it's still hilarious.
From Bob Thayer : Though a wonderful piece of anti-Nazi propaganda, I can understand why Disney hasn't officially released this anywhere. It could be rather disturbing for children these days to see a beloved icon of the company engaging in such activities. Worse yet they may get the wrong impression of the Third Reich. I'm sure the average modern parents wouldn't want their kids looking at anything with Nazis in it. Plus, unlike the kids of the 40's, children now aren't facing the terror of the Axis so they don't understand the significance of the satire and symbolism or what the Nazis were. This short is not really for the children of today, and a collection containing wouldn't be either.

That being said, I hope when Disney releases their collection of WWII cartoons on DVD in the next couple months they will not forget about this gem. Not all cartoons are for kids, and I think sometimes even the companies forget that.


From Sean Rice : This was amazing! Not only hilarious, well drawn, good use of propaganda, and a clever song; but I got extra credit in my American Civics class for showing my teacher!
From James : I'm doing a history project and this is a perfect comedy to put with the history!
From Eric Geiss : This is a lame cartoon. Working in Germany was not at all like Donald Duck illustrates. I mean after all, there were Russian and Polish slaves that did most factory work. An able bodied individual like Donald Duck should have been sent to the Whermacht so he could help defend Germany for his Fuehrer.
From Philo & Gunge : I just watched this cartoon and I have one thing to say: Wow. I give it a 10, I didn't live during World War II but I have learned about it during other people's school projects. This is funny as hell. I am a big Donald fan and I think this is one of the best of the WWII shorts and best Disney shorts period.
From Serita Fei : I am so glad that this short is finally available on DVD! It is one of the funniest things I've seen and it really makes me appreciate the country I live in. I know I'd hate to have a knife shoved in my back while I worked ridiculously longs hours in the day and be forced to salute every picture of the country leader that floats by. I'm impressed that they managed to take such a serious subject and make it funny without really losing it's meaning. Poor Donald, everything happens to him. Luckily it was just a bad dream this time. For anyone who hasn't seen this short on DVD yet, buy it now! It's great and an important piece of history as it shows how back in WW2 much like today people let out their aggression through belittling their enemy.

Of course back then they were allowed to use popular cartoon characters where as today I doubt we're going to see Spongebob Squarepants poking fun at Osama and Saddam.

10 out of 10! Wonderful short!


From Chip Wolfe : I give this whole old wartime short a perfect 10! I was never born in the time of world war 2 But I can say after buying the Disney DVD Disney on the Front Lines this cartoon was so hilarious I couldn't stop laughing at it. It's very shocking for me cause I'm only an 11th grader in high school but I love to learn about world war 2 and things that happened in it. This cartoon really shocked me cause I never really new Disney did do wartime cartoons. I had a great laugh when I saw this short on DVD. After reading and studying about all the things that happened through that era and with the Nazi way of life, Walt and his Crew tackled down and showed real American pride by making this great parody of Hitler's Nazism. Showing us that we truely do take are freedom for granted. If their was any wartime cartoon I would like to see in any of my History classes again it would have to be Der Fuehrer's Face. All American teenagers should be exposed to this animated short cause we don't realize that we take freedom for granted and we take are country for granted. Yes this cartoon did teach me a lot of things and I'm glad it taught me to respect my country and my freedom. Cause I'm sure as hell glad Hitler never got his way or I'd be pledging to defend and die for my fuehrer, instead of to my god, my country, and my beliefs as a real American. If only disney saw the potential this film would have on American society today America would have true Americans than these Liberals who wanted cartoons like this banned from television forever. The Spike Jones record of Der Fuehrers Face was a really nice touch for the cartoon cause that was one of the best world war 2 songs I've ever heard. But for every true American who believes in their country and their country's heritage I suggest you go and buy a copy of Walt Disney On the Front Lines: Disney through the war years. It will help you understand what we fought for in World War 2 and why we made big contributions to that war.
From Sebastian Wolff : Der Fuehrer's Face has got one of the most scathing propaganda tunes ever. Animation is good as usual. Apart from the extra-hilarious title tune, I couldn't find it very amusing. It is interesting to compare german and american war-time cartoons: It is the american ones which are much more blatant and outwardly racist. They were effective, too: many Axis veterans I've interviewed remember the hatred which propaganda had aroused in US soldiers.

It is also funny to see that many seem to think these 60 year old propaganda movies really represent some truth.


From Val Don Hickerson : I saw the original cartoon preceding a movie at the Strand Theater in Seaside, Oregon in 1943 while still a junior in high-school. I also saw a short subject showing Spike Jones and the City Slickers playing the title song. I don't remember if it was shown several months before the comedy or after.

The next year I was in the US Army Air Force. We sang that song often to boost our morale. It helped to make fun of a viscious enemy who was trying to dominate the world along with Italy and Japan. What current generations don't realize was how deadly those enemies were, nor how successful they had been during the first few years. We literally had our backs to the wall as they were advancing on every front. Songs and cartoons like Der Fuehrer's Face were a great help to keep your spirits up when you knew that any moment may be your last. An estimated 60-million people died on both sides including nearly 400,000 Americans - and nine in my little town os Seaside, Oregon (Population about 2,000).

Another song that we sang at that time went something like this:

Now Adolf Hitler grabbed a tail,
And he hung right on with tooth and nail,
When he saw what he had he began to swear,
On the end of the tail was a Russian bear,
The old bear growled and started in to shake,
And Adolf knew he'd made a big mistake.
He tried to hang on and he tried to let go,
Now they do a new dance called Hitler in the snow.

I saw Musselini sitting on a log
All puffed up like a great big frog,
I snuck up close and poked him with a wire,
And he just went poof like an old flat tire.

There was a verse about Tojo that I don't remember. Anyway, I would give the cartoon and the song a ten plus. They sure helped us during very trying, stressful times. By war's end I was studying Japanese radio intercept code for the invasion of the Japanese mainland. Thank God the war ended before we had to go. I was 19-years-old.


From Miland Joshi : I first saw this excellent cartoon on British TV as a schoolkid in the 1970s. It was nearly three decades before I finally got to see it again, and it was worth buying the DVD just for this gem. Highly recommended.
From Herzog Von : I probably saw this cartoon a couple of times on TV. The song, however, is easily obtainable on various Spike Jones collections. I recall once seeing a lyric sheet with several extra verses, including one with references to Hirohito, Mussolini and Pierre Lavalle.

My late father-in-law, who was of German descent, always got a kick out the tune and would perform it upon request. I might also add - though I won't say how I know - that the song is a favorite among American Nazis, who probably laugh harder at it than anyone else.


From Matt : This is a wonderfully done piece of wartime propaganda that truly brings a smile to the faces of all who watch it (except maybe the neonazis, but who cares about them right?). All of the little satiric pokes at the axis powers were done in a way to be easily understandable by the masses. My only negative note on this excellent short is that the blatant anti-german racism, and the even more blatant anti-japanese racism, would make this short quite unsuitable for public television, particularly on childrens networks (such as, of course, the Disney Channel). But, for those who love a good laugh and have an interest in the propaganda legacy of World War II, this one is a must see.
From Baruch Weiss : It is truly not subtle to see why there are 34 comments on this cartoon. It is truly a funny one. As Leonard Maltin said "In times of war it's useful to mock and demonize your enemy" and this is just one way to do it. Thank G-D it was only a dream though. I liked the part where Donald wakes up and says "Am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America".
From DaVon : Despite the inaccuracy of this short as one reviewer claimed and pointed out, this is another one of my favorite WWII-based Disney shorts. I can see why so many viewers love it. I'm glad that what Donald had to endure was only a nightmare as well. The moral of the story here is to be grateful that one isn't a citizen of Germany but a citizen of the U.S.A. and that nowadays one doesn't have to be forced into joining the army nor should he/she have to, and get drafted (hopefully it will stay that way). If they are forced, then I say that should be considered a crime and a draft/law should be written/made for that. I'm glad those days are over, for not only the good, but also the better. I doubt that I could go through what Donald or anyone else did and I hate to say it, but since I'd have two choices, I'd have to and I'd rather do jail time for refusing to participate. I'm sorry, but I think that's some dumb, jacked up mess the way the army works, if and once the signature is written, that's it, there's no way out of it. Horse-feathers, forget that and obligation, I don't give a care. I'm not interested in the army at all whatsoever, no way, no how (I know I just have to avoid that mistake in the first place, beforehand and I'll be fine though). Anyway, back to the cartoon. The parts that I like include when Donald has a tough time chewing the bread after sawing a slice (probably because it's stale) as if it's leathery, the song, Donald going mad as a result of seemingly endless toiling in the missiles factory, and of course the ending. This still ranks with the top Disney World War II propaganda shorts and is among the better ones. I don't see why exactly nobody can get away with making these kinds of animated films anymore except for maybe the racist or racial/ethnic sensibilities and stereotypes. I actually wish more shorts like this could be produced today and feel they should. Recommended if you're not a Hitler fan or pro-Naziism.
From John McShane : My comments are not about this Disney film but rather directed to a gentleman who did make some comments - namely Val Don Hickerson. In his comments he mentioned another song that he sang towards the end of the war. For his information the following are the complete words to this song which was sang to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw" My thanks to him because for fifty years I have been trying to find somebody who had heard this song but with no luck. In fact I was beginning to think that it was a figment of my imagination but I am sure that at the age of 8 years I didn't (nor do I now) have the talent to make up the words. Following are the complete words to this song as I remember them:

Oh, Adolph Hitler grabbed a tail
He hung right on with a tooth and nail
Then he saw what he had and began to swear
On that tail was a Russian bear .

The old bear growled and started in to shake
Adolph knew he'd made a big mistake
So he tried to hang on and he tried to let go
Now they do a new dance called "Hitler in the Snow."

Well I saw Mussoline sitting on a log
All puffed up like a great big frog
So I sneaked up behind him and I stuck him with a wire
He just went poof like an old flat tire .

I took his hide and I hung it on a tree
The tree said hey don't you do that to me
So I took it home to my mother-in-law
And she threw it out with the turkey in the straw.

A monkey and a baboon were sitting on a rail
Feeling mighty sad and looking kinda pale
A little yellow rat came sneaking around a weed
The monkey yelled, "Hey there's the guy we need."

The rat sat up and they all begin to grin
Along came a fellow with whiskers on his chin
He kicked at the rail and broke it with a crack
And that was the end of the Three Power Pack .

Now if I can just find out who the artist was that sang the song I would be happy.


From Eight : I had watched this cartoon years ago as a child and found it very funny. However, when I was looking up on a Wikipedia article about Holocaust, Der Fuehrer's Face came into my mind. I watched the clip on YouTube and it never failed to make me laugh---the oompah band, Donald's Antics, and the tomato-throwing ending. Little did I know that this is one of the most effective anti-Nazi propaganda films, the one of Disney's best of all times.

Living in a country that knows little or almost nothing about the Nazi Era, this short animation is history made simple.


From Donald L. : Although I did not see the original cartoon, I had watched it on Youtube and what I have to say about it is that it is very entertaining, even my sister who doesn't have the same tastes as me laughed at the cartoon when she saw the rooster going "Heiiil Hitler!" and doing a Nazi salute. I particularly liked this video because very few propaganda videos from back then could compare, and I bet that the life of a German civilian really was like that, eating ersatz bread (substitute bread) made of wood, and I know for a fact from reading that coffee was rationed because there was barely any, and most already went to the soldiers on the front lines.
From deejay : I'm fortunate that I own a copy of this outstanding bit of Disney animation. As has been noted, it is available on the DVD release of Disney cartoons, "On the Front Lines." There are some wonderful, seldom seen treasures in this collection, including 'toons featuring Goofy working with military explosives (see, you're already laughing, just thinking about what would happen!) Sure, there are stereo types, but it was World War II, and we were fighting for our very existence against two determined, blood-thirsty enemies. They HAD to be demonized, and dehumanized because in war, the only good enemy is a...well, you get the idea. Der Fuhrer's Face is incredibly funny, on point, and pro-American values, particularly when Donald wakes up from his nightmare at the end, and sees a shadow on the wall that seems to be giving the Nazi salute; he's terrified, until he realizes it's the shadow of a small reproduction of the Statue of Liberty, which Donald then proceeds to hug. He then says, "Am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!" Audiences, both civilian and military, roared with laughter when they saw this short subject on their movie screens. The Oscar for Der Fuhrer's Face was well deserved.
From Kristina Martin : I am a senior in college and writing my senior sem paper now. This summer we had to figure out what are topic was going to be and I was so stuck until I saw this short. I am a history major and my specialty is 20th century history. I focus on propaganda mostly and when I saw this I just knew that this was worth my time. I went and purchased the Walt Disney On the Front Lines and have used quite a few of the shorts from it in my paper 30 page paper but this is by far my favorite. Historically, it is right on and even though it has some racist elements its important to understand that America in the 1940's was a very different place then it is now. The short should not be discredited based on that. As with most countries in times of war we all stoop down and play to stereotypes at times to get our message across. It may not be right but as they say desperate times call for desperate measures. Oliver Wallace, the one who created this song, was quite clever b/c I have been walking around my college campus singing this song. You would imagine I have had some funny looks b/c I do speak German as well so my accent is pretty right on. The part of the song sung during the factory scene was actually not part of the original song and was added just for the film. When I told my history advisor I was doing this topic she was very shocked and hesitant, but when I showed her this she knew exactly why I wanted to do it. I have watched all of Disney's propaganda material and by far this is my favorite.

Referenced Comments