A Nazi Donald Duck? The Epic 1943 Disney Satire “Der Fuehrer’s Face”!

One of the best examples of American propaganda during World War II, was a cartoon featuring Donald Duck at work in a factory operated by the Nazis in Germany. The satire was made as one of the many efforts to sell war bonds. The film was called “Der Fuehrer’s Face” – the original name was ‘Donald Duck in Nutzi Land’. It was a 1943 production by Walt Disney Productions and released in the same year by RKO Radio Pictures. The film was written by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer and directed by Jack Kinney. The original music score was written by Oliver Wallace, and the film is best remembered for his original song “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” which was actually released previously by Spike Jones.

The winner of the ‘Oscar’ for Best Animated Short Film at the 15th Academy Awards in March 1943 was “Der Fuehrer’s Face.” It was the only Donald Duck movie ever to receive an ‘Oscar’. In 1994, the film was voted Number 22 of “the 50 Greatest Cartoons” of all time by members of the animation industry.

However, because of the propaganda characteristics of the short film and the portrayal of Donald Duck as a Nazi (albeit in a nightmarish setting), Disney Productions prevented the movie from being circulated to the general public after its original release.

It was finally released as a first home video in 2004 in conjunction with the release of the third wave of the Walt Disney Treasures DVD sets.


Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

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