American Propaganda During World War Ii

2360 words - 10 pages

No one anticipated the international chaos that would emerge during the twentieth century, especially the devastation caused by World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. World War II was the most destructive war in human history and changed the history of the world forever, engaging the world’s most influential superpowers in the largest international event of the era. World War II was fought not only by the armed forces, but also by the home fronts of every belligerent nation, exhausting the economy, the industry, and the morale of those living at home, escalating the conflict into a total war that was larger and fought more expansively than any other conflict in history. The use of ...view middle of the document...

S. Defense Bonds and Stamps.” He further depicts the Axis Powers as beasts in his “Happy New Year! But, Boy! What a Hangover!” cartoon as Uncle Sam awakes frightened by a nightmare of Germany, Japan, and a smaller Italy hanging over him in the form of snakes. Because the war started out with Axis victories, New Year’s of 1941-1942 was a tough year for the United States. The cartoon shows the slithering Axis snakes haunting Uncle Sam as a terrible hangover from New Year’s Eve. In his cartoon depicting Germany as a dachshund, he writes, “The Man who was SO LOW, he could walk under a Dachshund’s belly.” Dr. Seuss chooses a dachshund to depict Hitler and Germany as sub-human, but he also picks the breed to show how low Germany is as a country of people. Underneath the dog is Pierre Laval, the French premier who supported Nazi Germany (why Dr. Seuss picked him as the “man so low”) and was targeted often in Dr. Seuss’s cartoons. Besides the cartoons that portrayed Germany, Japan, and Italy as sub-human savages, animations were used to depict the enemy in the same way. The American government and army turned to Walt Disney for his animation propaganda. In “Der Fuhrer’s Face,” Walt Disney mocks Nazy Germany and Japan through satirizing the language, body stance, and culture of Adolf Hitler and his followers and allies. Disney satirizes Hitler by overly emphasizing the Hitler salute to come across as irritating and brainwashing. Donald Duck wakes up in Nazi Germany, portrayed as having a low quality of life in Nazi Germany with a breakfast consisting of the “aroma of bacon and eggs,” and bread made of wood. A Nazi shouts at him, “Improve the mind, Heil Hitler!” as he shoves a copy of Mein Kampf in his face before pushing him around in a German song about being “the master race.” Donald Duck is worked to the point of exhaustion and insanity as frightening Nazis force him at knifepoint to salute Hitler every time he sees his face. He wakes up from his nightmare of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler in American clothing, grateful to be a United States citizen. These cartoons and animations were used as propaganda in the United States to depict Germans and the Japanese (and also Italians) as foolish, subhuman savages with a frightening, terrible quality of life in order to provoke hatred and frustration of the American people towards the Axis enemies. As American sentiment towards the Axis Powers hardened, support for the Allied cause overseas and at home significantly increased, contributing to the Allied victory of World War II.
Besides being used against the enemy, American propaganda was used to encourage Americans to support and contribute to the war cause. Firstly, propaganda was widely used to encourage Americans to purchase war bonds, especially posters. World War II provided Americans with the escape they desperately needed from the Great Depression, and the federal government turned to war bonds and defense bonds to raise enough money for the expensive...

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