Let me get one thing out of the way here-I consider America to be a decent country. We’re a democracy, we’ve done some cool things in the past, and let’s face it, this is the country that gave us Walt Disney. But for every good thing America has done, I think that we’ve done at least one thing that we should be seriously ashamed of! This is where the government’s propaganda scheme during World War II comes in!
In order for the American people to support the war, enlist, etc, the U.S. government printed propaganda posters. They also made films, and did a bunch of other stuff. While I have nothing against growing your own food, or reusing scrap metal, the posters that we’ll be looking at today are rude, racist, and sometimes even inhuman. So, let’s peruse the gallery of things I hate about this country!
Wow, I had no idea that carpooling will help fight Nazism! Seriously, what… ? Okay, the message of saving fuel is clear, but at the same time, don’t you think that this poster sort of exaggerates the problem? Then again, most propaganda plays to people’s fears, but still, I have to say-wow.
Oh, yeah. This is a stupid poster. First of all, how are forest fires the Axis’s secret weapon? Second, this is sort of hypocritical, seeing as how during World War II, we BLEW UP HIROSHIMA. Blowing up a city is a little more severe than setting a forest fire, am I right? Third, take note of the blatant racism in this poster. We’ll get back to that later. Fourth, and most importantly, FOREST FIRES ARE SMOKEY’S TERRITORY!
You know the saying “loose lips sink ships”? If I’m right, it originated during World War II. I know that at that point, secrecy was key, but come on, really? Admittedly, this isn’t the worst propaganda I’ve ever seen (we’ll get to that later), but like the riding with Hitler poster, it sort of exaggerates the problem, playing to emotions. Just make a poster that says “Don’t Tell Secrets” and be done with it!
Yes, you read that right. Education For Death, an animated propaganda film about the life of the average Nazi stereotype, was made by the Walt Disney Animation Studios. DISNEY! Okay, Disney made some propaganda films during World War II, including one where (and I’m really not kidding here) Donald Duck does the Hitler salute. And another one where he gets drafted. For kids!
But wait! There’s more! Ladies and gentlemen, Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips! I am completely serious. How low can you go? Well, a lot of wartime propaganda was produced by people you wouldn’t think would produce wartime propaganda. Including Theodore Geisel, who you might recognize as Dr. Seuss. Come on! We are not playing Limbo! You do not have to sink this low for recognition!
Back to racist posters! This one represents the Aleutian Islands Campaign, which actually, according to Wikipedia, proved more devastating to U.S. troops than it did to the Japanese (we had four times the losses they had). We eventually forced them out of Alaska, but it was still pretty tricky. All right, you’ve seen Disney propaganda, fuel-saving propaganda, and propaganda that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But there’s still one series of posters that nags at the back of my head, one series of posters that pretty much kills any idea that these posters were justified. *sigh* Tokio Kid.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jesus Christ, I mean, what were they thinking? This looks more like a Lovecraft horror than a human being! And this is just one of the more famous Tokio Kid posters! There were ones about wasting time, scrap metal, car inefficiency (but we already did that)! Don’t we live in such a fair and balanced country? GAAAAAHHHHHH!
Several hours later…
Okay, I’m under control now. So that’s World War II propaganda, and, it’s right up there with the Japanese internment camps and the TSA in things I dislike about this country! Now, to be fair, not all of these are racist, and some of the issues (i.e. carpooling), are still relevant today. But the vast majority are crude and exaggerate the problem. Still, if you want to be entertained, Google some of this stupidity and have a look. It’s well worth it.