Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi (1943)
Article 5806 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Clyde Geronimi
Featuring the voice of Art Smith
What it is: Wartime anti-Nazi propaganda
It’s the story of a young German boy named Hans, and how he is indoctrinated into the Nazi mindset.
Anybody who has seen and liked the movie JOJO RABBIT might be interested in hunting down and checking out this Disney wartime exploration of the dissemination of Nazi propaganda to the youth of Germany. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a little exaggeration in this short (both sides engaged in propaganda), but for the most part this short rings alarmingly true about how youth can be seduced, manipulated, and pressured into becoming a tool for a tyrant state. Make no mistake; this short takes itself very serious indeed, and rightfully so. It’s also something I probably wouldn’t cover if it didn’t have a sequence in which it is shown how the story of “Sleeping Beauty” is rewritten to teach Nazi philosophy; the witch is democracy, and the knight in shining armor is Hitler himself. Unfortunately, this sequence also marks the short’s biggest stumble; it abandons its serious approach and turns the ending of the Sleeping Beauty story into a slapstick farce where Sleeping Beauty is revealed to be an overweight beer-guzzling German woman who is too fat for Hitler to lift on his horse. This kind of mocking caricature is out of place here, because ultimately you feel sad at seeing children’s spirits being snuffed out to serve the Nazi cause. Nevertheless, despite its flaws, this is a powerful short.