When Donald Duck Was Captured by Nazis


Poor Donald Duck. He was just trying to get some shut-eye when a marching band featuring some of our favorite Axis leaders—Goebbels, Himmler, Mussolini—prods him out of bed with a bayonet at four in the morning.

So begins Der Fuehrer’s Face, a surrealist 1942 American propaganda film created by Walt Disney in an effort to sell war bonds.

In the cartoon, Donald is led through the streets of a German village where everything from the clouds to the windmills are shaped like swastikas. Eventually he arrives at a towering, belching Nazi factory, and is forced to screw the tips onto artillery shells, sieg heiling all the while. He’s given two breaks: one for a quick read of Mein Kampf, and another for an impromptu exercise where he must contort his avian body into swastikas in front of a poster of the Swiss Alps.

Eventually Donald suffers a Nazi-flavored nervous breakdown. After a series of trippy hallucinations featuring—yup, more swastikas, Donald awakens in his bed in the USA and promptly hugs a miniature of the Statue of Liberty.

The film was a terrifying hit: it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short.


Watch Der Fuehrer’s Face (1942):

Listen to “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” the song that became a sensation:

Donald Duck fights the Japanese! (1944):


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