7.5/10
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19 user 4 critic

Peace on Earth (1939)

Two baby squirrels ask grandpa to explain what "men" are when he comes in singing "peace on earth, goodwill to men". Grandpa tells the story of man's last war.

Director:

(uncredited)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
...
Grandpa Squirrel (voice) (uncredited)
The Hollywood Choir Boys ...
Vocalists (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

A baby squirrel asks his grandfather to tell him what happened to all the men. The old squirrel reveals that all the humans were killed years ago in a terrible war. The surviving animals started a new society, based on the lessons taught in the Bible. Written by Mike Konczewski

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Animation | Short | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Friede auf Erden  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first short subject to receive a Parents Magazine Medal. See more »

Quotes

Grandpa Squirrel: Good will to men, yes, good will to men.
Baby Squirrel 1: What are men, Grandpa?
Baby Squirrel 2: Yeah, Grandpa, what are men?
Grandpa Squirrel: Huh? What's that?... Well there ain't no men in the world no more, sonnys... nope, no more men. But as I remember the critters, well they was like monsters. They wore great big iron pots on their heads. They walked on their hind legs, and they carried terrible-looking shootin' irons with knives on the end of them. And their eyes flashed, and they had these tremendous big snoots, like this, that curled ...
[...]
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Connections

Edited into Tom and Jerry Christmas Special (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
(1856)
Hymn by Charles Wesley (1730)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1840)
Sung by studio chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A beautiful film, but a flawed, simplistic philosophy
14 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a beautifully-made and quite poignant animated short film, but while no one can doubt the sincerity of the sentiment, it reduces the discussion of war to a level of simplification unfitting for the subject. To diminish such a topic to a five-minute short, and to aim it at children using anthropomorphic squirrels (or mice, in the 1950 remake "Good Will to Men") is the essence of propaganda.

In 1939, Europe was torn by Nazi aggression, but the United States had yet to enter the war. Many people of good conscience were arguing that the U.S. should remain neutral, essentially ceding all of Europe to the tender mercies of Adolf Hitler. It was in this climate that "Peace on Earth" was made, arguing that both sides in a conflict are morally equivalent, since both have violated the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill" (which is more correctly translated as "Thou Shalt Not Commit Murder", a very different thing.) It's a good thing that minds of more mature reasoning decided that it would be very necessary for us to fight the Axis powers.

"Peace on Earth" comes from the same sort of personality that states in all earnestness that "war never solves anything" while conveniently ignoring the many things that war has indeed solved: tyranny, oppression, slavery, genocide, fascism, Nazism, and (in the cold war) Soviet communism; the elimination of totalitarian Islamist extremism is still underway.

Peace is not just the absence of war, but the presence of justice, and there are some things for which is is worth while to fight or even die. Diplomacy is of course preferable to armed conflict, but if honorable goals are abandoned in the course of diplomatic negotiation, then the result is simply defeat by a different means, and the justice that was desired was perhaps never deserved.


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