Nathan Jolly revisits WWII-era Disney, when the company was creating war propaganda for the US government. The above cartoon, Der Fuehrer’s Face, was released in 1943:
Donald is portrayed as a slightly resistant/drone-like Nazi, living in a town where everything — clouds, trees, telegraph poles — is swastika-shaped. Donald is dragged out of bed by, oh, just Himmler, Goebbels and Mussolini, who force him to read Mein Kampf, give him piss-weak war rations, then kick him to a factory, where his job seems to be to make artillery shells and salute pictures of Hitler. This repetitive regime results in a manic episode where Donald begins twisting his body into the shape of a swastika, before flipping out and tripping balls, his world now a spinning rush of singing shells, shrieking snakes, screeching smoke whistles and untold horror. As this is a cartoon, and also 1943, it turns out Heir Duck’s army flirtation was but a dream, with the cartoon ending with a tomato thrown at Hitler’s face – as per film and television laws in the ‘40s.
Oh, and Disney won an Academy Award for the piece.