Der Fuehrer's Face



Der Fuehrer's Face is a 1943 animated cartoon by Walt Disney Studios starring Donald Duck, as well as a song from that short. Both mock Adolf Hitler.

It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1943 as an anti-Nazi propaganda piece for the American war effort. It won the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

A German band (including Hirohito on sousaphone and Mussolini on bass drum) marches through a small town, singing the virtues of the Nazi doctrine. Donald, apparently now a resident of Nazi Germany is awakened by the noise. He tries to return to bed, but is forced to dress up and get ready for work. Because of wartime rationing, his breakfast is wooden bread and perfume scented like bacon and eggs, with a cup of much diluted coffee ersatz he jealously keeps in a tin.

Donald sets to work in the Nazi factory, which is absurdly totalitarian. He works assembling artillery shells in an assembly line, but mixed in with the shells are portraits of the Fuehrer, so he must interrupt his work to do a Hitler salute every time a portrait appears. The pace of the assembly line intensifies, and Donald finds it increasingly hard to complete all the tasks. At the same time, he is bombarded with propaganda messages about the superiority of the Aryan race and the glory of working for the Fuehrer.

He becomes little more than a slave of the totalitarian system, with no choice but obeying till he falls, suffering a nervous breakdown. However, in the end, he is relieved to wake up and discover that it has all been just a nightmare and he is still living in the United States.

Before the film's release, the popular band Spike Jones and His City Slickers, noted for their parodies of hot songs of the time, released a version of Oliver Wallace's theme song, "Der Fuehrer's Face" (also known informally as "The Nazi Song"). Unlike the version in the cartoon, some Spike Jones versions contain the rude sound effect of rubber razzers (aka the Bronx Cheer) with each "HEIL!" to show contempt for Hitler. The underlying implication of passing gas in Hitler's face, a very vulgar theme for that time period, illustrates how normal censorship of the public media tends to be relaxed when the subject is an enemy. Jones recorded two versions of the song at the request of RCA Victor Records which released the song on the Bluebird label - one with a trombone note after each "HEIL!" and the other with a razzer called a 'birdaphone'. The birdaphone version was the one released. The success of Jones' record prompted Disney to change the short's title, originally Donald Duck In Nutzi Land, to match the song.

Due to the propagandistic nature of the short, and the depiction of Donald Duck as a Nazi, Disney has kept it out of general circulation since its original release. Der Fuehrer's Face finally received an official U.S. video release in 2004, when it was included in the Walt Disney Treasures limited edition DVD set Walt Disney: On the Front Lines. It also appeared in another Walt Disney Treasures set; The Chronological Donald Volume Two (released in December 2005).

Sample lyric:

When der Fuehrer says, "We ist der master race,"
We HEIL! [honk!] HEIL! [honk!] Right in der Fuehrer's face!
Not to love der Fuehrer is a great disgrace,
So we HEIL! [honk!] HEIL! [honk!] Right in der Fuehrer's face!

Harry Turtledove adapted the song in one of his Colonization novels, in tune with the novels' theme. See the page on the Race for the lyrics.

Spike sings a short version of the song in the comic book Spike vs. Dracula #3.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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