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Cartoons for Victory!

These World War II era cartoon shorts were never meant to survive past wartime and were all but forgotten since the mid-1940s. These Golden Age cartoon films serve as an interesting social document of the attitudes prevalent at the time. Four page full-color liner notesCommentariesStill gallery of cartoon propaganda postersOriginal cartoon character radio broadcast

Cartoons for Victory!

These World War II era shorts, produced in the United States and around the world, were never meant to survive past wartime, and understandably many have been shelved, lost or forgotten since the mid-1940s. Fortunately, these films still exist and serve as an interesting social document of the attitudes prevalent at the time; some imposed by the government in the form of propaganda and some by the filmmakers. This great collection is mastered from original 16mm and 35mm film prints, many from the only surviving material.

Animated cartoons and World War II...

World War II changed the possibilities for animation. Prior to the war, animation was seen as a form of childish entertainment. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a turning point in its utility.

On December 8, 1941, the US Army began working with Walt Disney at his studio, stationing Army personnel there for the duration of the war. The Army and Disney set about making various types of films for several different audiences. Most films meant for the public included some type of propaganda, while films for the troops included training and education about a given topic.

Films intended for the public were often meant to build morale. They allowed Americans to release their anger and frustration through ridicule and crude humor. Many films simply reflected the war culture and were pure entertainment. Others carried strong messages meant to arouse public involvement or set a public mood.

Animated cartoons allowed the government to spread their message in a much more entertaining manner, especially when it came to War Bond drives.

Related Scanning WWII links...

  • 27 Jul 40: Bugs Bunny makes his screen debut
  • 01 Jan 43: Disney releases "Der Fuehrer's Face"
  • 20 May 44: Merrie Melodies releases "Russian Rhapsody"

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