Essay on Disney Goes to War: Animated Propaganda

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“Animation offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world,” said Walt Disney of his beloved cartoons. While it is true that cartoons are an interesting medium of visual entertainment, their unique ability to convey information to people, adults and children alike, make the animated film medium one of the most far reaching means of propaganda. Today it is impossible to imagine American animated cinema without Disney and its cartoons. The American captivation with Disney has not changed much in the seventy years since World War II. In the early 1940s, two thirds of Americans went to the movies every week and these moviegoers were enamored…show more content…
While the term propaganda is usually uttered oozing with negative connotation, it is important to understand that it is not only the tool of “totalitarian regimes,” but is also employed by “liberal democracies” (Taylor 3). The only difference between these two propaganda users (or abusers) is the intended audience and the rival group being criminalized. Disney Gets Drafted As already mentioned, the United States readily took part in the propaganda parley of World War II. The threat of subversive Nazi propaganda on U.S. soil caused private citizens to use their contacts to pressure the government into counteracting the “attack on democracy” (Laurie 30-32). This spurred the creation of government organizations such as the U.S. Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI) and the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The role of these organizations was to oversee the propaganda released on behalf of the government (Laurie 45). The military naturally became involved in the creation and implementation of propaganda films to promote anti-Nazi feelings across a nation immersed in a global war. Also, the hope was that these films would act as a morale booster necessary in a nation that had just experienced the horrors of Pearl Harbor (Fyne 12). As the military became involved in the propaganda effort, so did Disney Studios. On December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked; Disney received its first military

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