Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: WWII

A Brief History of Cartoon Animals Punching Nazis

by Arrkay

Dogpatch Press welcomes Arrkay of furry channel Culturally F’d.

Nazi-panic got you down? It seems these days everywhere you look there seems to be some sour racists ruining someone’s day. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Working on Culturally F’d gives me a great outlet to explore anthropomorphic animals throughout history and media. So after the public twitter discussions about whether or not it’s ok to punch nazis, I recalled some historical examples that helped. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, there was a huge push in propaganda on all fronts. They encouraged spending money on war-bonds, saving fats and scrap metals, starting community “victory” gardens, empowering a new female workforce, perpetuating false-optimism of a short war, warning against spies listening in, and attempting to shape public opinion and spark a sense of national identity. The military’s of the world commissioned animators to help influence public opinion during a time when Nazi Germany was beginning it’s invasions, and it was becoming clear to more and more governments that the Axis powers were not slowing down or stopping.

Propaganda like these were created to help sway public opinion, and to paint a caricature of the enemies. This was at times, incredibly offensive and racist, and it’s important we don’t forget that and that we don’t repeat it again.

We’re going to start with Animated Shorts, which were created to precede or follow newsreels of current events, often part of a pre-show for a larger, longer feature presentation in the movie theatre.

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Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals? – WWII history from Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.  

  • SEE BOTTOM: At Fred’s request, a gallery of rare book illustrations from Van den Vos Reynaerde was scanned for this post by the UCRiverside Library.
  • Animal fables traditionally tell morals – this article shows a historically fascinating misuse of anthropomorphism for fascist and Social Darwinist goals.
  • “Dear Patch; This is basically rewritten from my article for Flayrah, Retrospective: Talking Animals in World War II Propaganda.

Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals?

Yes. Whether the Nazis and Italians did is technically debatable, but the Japanese certainly did.

(Oops! I am reminded that many younger people today do not know what “the Axis” was. “The Enemy” during World War II. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy signed a mutual defense treaty on October 25, 1936 that Italy’s Benito Mussolini described in a speech on November 1 as putting Europe on a Rome-Berlin axis. Imperial Japan joined in 1937. On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a Tripartite Pact and formally declared themselves the “Axis powers”. They were joined during the next month by Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. “The Axis” during World War II meant Germany, Italy, Japan, and their allies.)

There were more funny animals assigned to them by American cartoonists for anti-Axis propaganda than there were of their own. The best-known today are probably the Leon Schlesinger/Warner Bros. animated short cartoons The Ducktators and Scrap Happy Daffy, and MGM’s Blitz Wolf.

In The Ducktators, directed by Norm McCabe and written by Melvin Millar, released on August 1, 1942, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis are ducks, Benito Mussolini is a goose, and “the Jap” (a stereotypical “Jap”) is presumably also a duck (although he looks more like a coot).

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