While the fairy tale satire is quite hilarious, the story of Hans
is quite frightening propaganda. Even today, after watching this cartoon,
I'm angry at what Nazi Germany has done to this sweet, innocent child.
Obviously very effective propaganda.
This cartoon was based on a book of the same title, by Gregor Ziemer.
While the Hans section disturbs me and I watch my Disney cartoons
for pleasure, not hard reality, this is a top-quality short and very
effective propaganda for the time.
As Scary as it is, I have to comment on the humour behind some of
the characters, and how all the men seem to not speak but scream til
they are red in the face like Hitler himself.
I think it would be a good video for History students say 10th grade
to graduating (A level/GCSE) because it shows them a classic example
of propaganda, apart from the cartoon drawings found in the everyday
I found it interesting that it had the familiar Disney opening of
a book displaying its title, and opening the pages where the story begins.
This motif also reappears for the telling of "Sleeping Beauty".
If you look closely at the "Verboten Names" list, it is topped with
names Franklin, and Winston, the first names of the American President
and British Prime Minister in 1943, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
Below that it seems to be mostly Hebrew names.
A dark, and effective propaganda piece. It entertains as it educates
After watching this short, I ask myself, being manipulated, how guilty
was Hans really? How guilty were my parents and grand-parents for that
And finally: How guilty am I today, when western world is on war
with other countries? Is the "Axis of Evil" reality or propaganda?
Maybe this is the biggest lesson we can learn from WWII: Don't blindly
believe what politicians, teachers or any kind of leaders tell you,
because then your mind is open to manipulation.
I'm surprised how many feel shocked at this animation. By today's
standards it hardly compares with other films such as Schindler's list
or the like. Look how many flock to watch a war movie and absorb themselves
in it. What does annoy me is how countries like the USA could sit on
their laurels and wait so long to put it to an end. Those who think
the boys at the top didn't know are seriously mistaken. Shame on them.
Anyway, I feel very gratetful to Disney for making such a wonderful
movie, which shows all of this pure evil during the war.
Hitler may have been a madman, and the nazi ideology fundamentally
wrong, but this short is pure propaganda and lies. It looks more like
current day American, than nazi Germany.
I give this a 5, purely because of the high technical quality. It's
ironic that Disney had such a high level of animation in 1943, while
their animation today is downright terrible.
To anyone who thinks this short has any root in reality, please,
read a few history books about life in Germany during the war.
In response to the last person "it's not a real image of Germany"
It's propaganda... which is never accurate - it's a caricature -
and designed to foster sentiment/what have you against the enemy - as
an example, see some of the Popeye shorts from WWII - like "Nip the
Nips" - it's a caricature, plain and simple.
It doesn't change the fact that it's a marvelous piece of animation,
and in the context of the times, very very effective.
Honestly, when I chose Disney as a subject I didn't realise that
he had made propaganda films under the Second World War.
I find Education for Death rather extraordinary- it's humoristic
in a cruel way- should one laugh or cry? You can't be untouched by this
direct truth that lays behind the movie. It's cruel, it's true, it's
A must see for every Disney fan and World War II buff, I give it
10 stars. This cartoon, despite its subject matter, should not be locked
up in the Disney vault, rather it should be available for historical
But--my god! When you think of Disney, you think of Mickey and Dumbo,
and here in the war years you have this short so dark and horrifying!
The stuff at the beginning with Sleeping Beauty is the only light moment
in the whole short (it's also the weakest for me, because it goes on
a little too long, and is the only reason why I'm not giving this short
10/10). It's as effective propaganda as anything being released today.
The scariest thing of all was the first comment I read on the short
on youtube, which read "the scary part is the story about the fox and
rabbit is exactly what the US government believes today."
So maybe nothing has changed...
To start with, the animation in this short is simply stunning. It is feature quality, no doubt about it. The use of shadows and depth in the shot is remarkable, especially for a short. The way the shots are constructed, with either dim lighting and darkened rooms for the more serious scenes or the standard animation for the more light hearted scenes establishes the mood. In my opinion, this short showcases the talents of the Disney studio during the war like no other I have seen to this point.
That brings us to the subject matter. Although this was released in theaters as an “entertainment” short, it is most definitely propaganda. The scary thing is, in many, many ways, this short is true. Things that happen in the short, such as the government giving a list of acceptable names, interrupting sick children’s rest, the changing of fairy tales, etc. – these are all true stories, at least to some degree.
In that respect, this is a masterpiece short. It accomplishes the goal of showing what Nazi Germany is like, and does so in an entertaining way. It’s just not the same sort of entertainment you would have found in a Donald Duck short. Education for Death stands in stark contrast to something like Der Fuehrer’s Face, because the subject matter seems so real and terrifying, as opposed to mocking the enemy.
The exception to that is in the Sleeping Beauty sequence, where the animation begins in the same shadowy, realistic style that the rest of the short has been shown in, then switches to a more cartoony style when it’s revealed that the “prince” is actually Hitler. Hitler is portrayed in the same silly manner that He was in Der Fuehrer’s Face. The juxtaposition of this silly, trivial piece to the rest of the short only enhances the seriousness of Education for Death.
The most chilling shot in any piece of Disney animation has to be the end of this short. As the narrator lists off all the things that have been done to Hans, the child we have followed through this journey, he transforms from child to man, marching all the while. The perspective changes from a side view of Hans to an overhead view of the Nazis marching over the horizon. Slowly, the soliders transform into tombstones, showing a field of death.
It’s a frightening image, pulled off very well. Education for Death is a masterpiece of propaganda, and quite good as a piece of entertainment. It is nearly impossible to turn away from, riveting in both content and execution. It is, however, quite disturbing to think about, and very frightening.
Having Disney say that the soldiers had been bred since birth to be Nazis is a bit of a stretch since Nazi control and influence had only been around for about ten years. Yes, children since 1933 probably were indoctrinated, but most of the soldiers that fought in WWII were older than 10.
But that is what makes this cartoon a propaganda film. They skew the facts to create an emotional response.
Regardless, this is still an amazing film with excellent animation and very moving.
Click on thumbnail for full size image
Submitted by eutychus