Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi
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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Chilling. And somehow still relevant.

Author: Shawn Watson from The Penumbra
25 July 2004

In this dark Disney short (directed by the same guy who did Lady and the Tramp and Peter Pan) we see a young German couple take their newborn baby to be registered as one of 'Hitler's Children'. They have to prove their ethnic origin all the way back to their great-grandparents to authenticate the child's pure Aryan blood. One of Hitler's biggest mistakes is the fact that blue eyes/blonde hair is a recessive gene and is 3 out of 4 times dominated by dark eyes/hair.

The parents must choose a name for the child but can only take what is not already chosen from 'the list'. They choose Hans, which ends up being okay. Soon the child is in school and is taught warped versions of typical values. Hans is told of a fox hunting a rabbit. He takes sympathy on the poor rabbit and is ridiculed and tormented by his teacher and classmates. The lesson of 'only the strong survive' is brutally hammered into him.

And when Hans gets sick his parents are warned to cease all 'mollycoddling' and he better get well quickly. Hitler's children do no get sick and those who do are taken away and never heard from again.

More and more evil lesson and hailing the Fuehrer follow. Soon Hans is a grown man, marching in line with all the other soldiers. Neither of them are individuals. They are robots believing what Hitler wants them to believe. Doing what Hitler wants them to do. Saying what Hitler wants them to say. None of them know joy, happiness or laughter.

And soon Hans is dead. Sympathy is felt for the child within who died a long time ago.

It's alarming when you consider that this may feel far-fetched yet in today's society we are still reared and duped by lying world leaders. We still believe nonsense we read in tabloids and fear and xenophobia still overpower common sense.

A very chilling cartoon.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes propaganda needs little exaggeration

Author: Varlaam from Toronto, Canada
21 August 1999

Is this the scariest Disney wartime cartoon? Of the very few I've seen, it is.

The tone of most of the cartoon is pretty grim. How many others can you name that prominently feature a book-burning?

A boy is born to a German family. Much of the film is in German (!) -- high quality German too, by the way -- with English voice-over. A name must be chosen for the boy, once the parents have proven their Aryan ancestry, naturally. The chosen name can't be on the proscribed list, those Old Testament prophets so offensive to Aryans.

There is a comic interlude where Germany's saviour, Hitler in silver armour, rescues Germany from the evil witch, Democracy. Germany is personified by an unusually stout Brünnhilde from Wagner's Ring cycle, who sings the words "Heil Hitler" to the tune of the Valkyries' cries of "Heiaha" from Act III of "Die Walküre". This is an opportunity as well to parody that famous Nazi painting -- by whom I don't recall -- of Der Führer wearing a glorious suit of shining steel as did the chivalric heroes of yore. (The one where Hitler looks like an extra from Boorman's "Excalibur".)

We see the boy being indoctrinated into cruelty by his teacher at school. Then the boy happens to fall sick. That's not allowed in Nazi Germany; a German "soldat" does not get sick. That scene is very well animated. It reminded me of the endearing Darling family in "Peter Pan" (1953), not coincidentally directed by Clyde Geronimi too.

Eventually the boy does become a "soldat", one of a long line of interchangeable soldier faces, much like the row of gleaming boots in "Battleship Potemkin".

The soldiers march neatly in line over the brow of the hill, where they perform their final designated service to the Führer, by turning into a row of crosses.

Nothing terribly funny about this one, folks. For that, you'd need Donald Duck remakng Charlie Chaplin in "Der Fuehrer's Face" (1943).

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Interesting short

Author: Coolguy-7 from USA
23 July 2000

While most of Disney's cartoons are funny, this one was quite serious. It tells of how a boy named Hans is abducted into the Nazi way of life starting from kindergarten when he learns the familiar story of Sleeping Beauty only he learns the Nazi version of it where the wicked witch is democracy and Sleeping Beauty is German. I bet you can probably guess who the prince is. Later Hans is taught that the weak don't deserve to live and that Germans are the master race. I think Walt Disney depicts the evils of Nazism quite well in this short. The outside world was probably quite shocked about this when they saw it. An innocent child being brought up to be a Nazi who says nothing but what others want him to say, to think only the way others want him to think, and to do only what others want him to do. To top it all off, having to support Der Fueher (Hitler) and dying in battle just for him. Isn't that pathetic? The narrator says "By now Hans has completed his education. His education for death!" He was right about that too. This is quite a touching story and I think that everyone should get the chance to see it. Unfortunately this short is not "politically correct" enough to be aired on the Disney Channel or Toon Disney. I hope that one day Disney will show these rare cartoons on TV. You're probably wondering where I saw this cartoon. Well, I own a video of rare Disney shorts that I got from a collector.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Stark, grim and the most deathly serious animated short I've ever seen from a U.S. studio

Author: Robert Reynolds ( from Tucson AZ
29 April 2002

Forget anything you may have come to expect from Disney if and when you see this short. There is nothing cute here. The animation is excellent, is very grim and stark and very chilling. It is the most deathly serious animated short I have seen produced by a studio based in the United States. The only one I've ever seen that may match it is Balance, a German short made almost fifty years later. Education For Death is a short you won't easily forget once you've seen it and it's a shame that The Mouse hasn't seen fit to release it on a DVD along with things like Victory Through Air Power, Der Fuehrer's Face, Reason and Emotion, New Spirit and other works Disney made as a part of the war effort during World War II. An excellent production that deserves to be in print and seen. Most highly recommended.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Interesting cartoon about the political brainwashing process and the effects of propaganda

Author: cygnata from United States
16 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A rare cartoon that I agree should definitely be shown to history and psychology classes, perhaps even current events.

I've shown this cartoon to friends on occasion, to discuss it with them, and they usually find it fascinating. It's disturbing, true, but sometimes, such things need to be examined and understood.

First a bit of trivia: On the right hand side of the Verboten list, look at the top name. "Winston", for old Winston Churchill. Joseph (as in Stalin) and Franklin (Roosevelt) also appear.

I, keep remembering the image of Hans marching, growing older, then finally becoming a nameless cross. It's hard to not look away for a moment after the end, and think on all those lives wasted, who could have been caring, empathetic individuals if not taught such filth. In many similar ways are psychopaths created "by accident." The lack of loving parental care, the constant humiliation, the feeling that the strong must rule.

Contrary to most of the reviews I've seen so far on it, I do not believe that Hans just suddenly begins to hate the rabbit. The teacher's intent, and the result of the humiliation, and the empathic replies of the other boys, saying that cowards must die, is for Hans to see himself as the rabbit for a brief moment. He MUST prove himself to be a fox, strong and not to be trifled with, or he fears he will find himself dead or worse because he showed weakness.

In short, Hans learns that lambs must become lions, or else be devoured. True hatred comes in time.

All in all, I feel sorry for those children who were molded by this process. Even though the regime didn't last long enough for children molded from birth to grow up fully affected with it, enough were affected to hold onto some of those ideals. Case in point being the fact that Neo-Nazism started soon after the war, and sadly, still thrives today.

I hope people who watch this film come away having learned something, about how insidious such propaganda and brainwashing can be.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A dark and pretty disturbing short from of all studios, Disney.

Author: kayakofan from Orange County, California
2 January 2006

Simply put, this is perhaps the most effective political-propaganda short I've seen, particularly since it was made by Disney.

There is some of the good Disney comedy in there (a hilarious retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale, only this time to fit the Nazi teachings; and some *clever* re-paintings of Hitler and others), but overall it's a grim and depressing short. It subtly represents the true cruelty of the Nazi, how they treated their soldiers, and especially how they made the parents raise the children who were to become soldiers. It all comes to the inevitable, and again, frightening ending.

Highly recommended if you're curious about the Wartime shorts, or as an example if you are doing a report of Political Propaganda.

My rating: 10/10.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: dbdumonteil
8 June 2008

This propaganda short directed by Clyde Geronimi for Walt Disney productions remains very impressive today.If it has been made for children,they must have had bad dreams in the night.

It begins with a curious treatment of "sleeping beauty" (which was transferred to the screen in 1959) :a beautiful prince (guess who) kills the wicked witch (democracy) ,wakes the princess (Germany) from her slumber and breaks the spell.

Then at school you are taught that ,like in the nature,only the strong survives .

When you are a young man,your only role is to become a strong soldier ,to be just a part of a machine .In the last pictures,the soldiers look like robots marching on to war.

This cartoon is not legend:it is fact .Just have a look at a sequence of one of Leni Riefenstahl's movies .

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Political correctness be damned ...

Author: Ravenswing from Kelfour's Landing
16 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... this is a short which shouldn't remain buried.

One of the few animations of the time genuinely done film noir, it was both effective propaganda and had the advantage of being largely true -- that *was* the Germany the Nazis were attempting to mold, as William Shirer and many another researcher proved from their own secret records. From the opening montage of a blood red and somewhat blurry swastika on a black background, to torchlight parades, to the final chilling violin pizzicato, the animation was skilled and the pacing excellent. It even softpedals cogent points, not belaboring the audience with them: the narrator's voice softens and drops to a barely audible level as he discusses the "unfit" that are "taken away ... and never seen again."

However, I do disagree with the notion that the movie should be censored in any way, never mind by keeping it from children. I do not think young children are *too* young to learn there is evil in the world, and that it ought to be opposed. That was the point of Educated For Death; today's youth aren't any more incapable of learning that than they were in 1943.


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Simplistic but effective Disney propaganda

Author: TheOtherFool from The Netherlands
26 May 2004

Short animation flick follows the early years of 'Hans', who has the bad luck of being born in Hitler Germany. He's brainwashed into becoming a nazi, and ultimately dies at the battlefield, as thousands of his fellow Germans did.

With first viewing you think Disney's thought on nazi-Germany (which is portrayed as a fat, ugly and gullible woman) is a bit too simplistic and one-dimensional, but in the end, when you think of it, it's more of a sad story about the young kid than one of hatred towards the nazi's.

The animations are amazing and the content (with what we know how) grim, dark and scary. Hard to rate this, but I'll give it a 7/10. Be sure to catch this if you can.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A great example of positive propaganda

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
2 September 2008

This is a Disney cartoon made during the war years, though it's not the usual Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck style cartoon. Instead, Disney and other American cartoon studios made cartoons for propaganda purposes. The idea was to educate the public about why we are fighting as well as what life would be like if you lived with the enemy--the loss of freedom, the loss of free will and loss of democratic law. Some may see them today as heavy-handed or jingoistic, but the cause was just and they were very useful positive propaganda. If you hate these wartime films, then just get over it or don't watch them--but they are an important part of our history and I am glad that Disney has finally agreed to release them once again.

This film is about a fictitious child born and raised in Nazi Germany. How the child is indoctrinated from an early age to devalue sympathy and see his leader as his hero are chronicled in this film very effectively. Essentially, the story you see is true as Germany was raising their children this way and it gave insight for the viewers to understand the Nazi mind. Through excellent production values and storytelling, the message is put across successfully.

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