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Episode #25: The Draft, Doctrine, and The Duck (Season 2, Episode 5)

Episode #25: The Draft, Doctrine, and The Duck (Season 2, Episode 5)

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When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, one of my favorite things to do was watch old Mickey Mouse cartoons-- I loved seeing Mickey interact with Pluto and Goofy, and could probably have watched hours of these cartoons, if you let me. But one character especially stood out for me, and quickly became my favorite--  I loved the scrappy and grumpy Donald Duck. I still do. And while some of my best-loved episodes revolved around Donald’s skirmishes with Chip and Dale, or around the exploits of his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, I still remember seeing numerous cartoons featuring Donald as a soldier during World War Two. Looking back on my childhood, it seems funny and bizarre to me now that I was exposed to American World War Two propaganda. But it’s true-- and it happened with somewhat regularity for someone like me, who had consistent access to the Disney Channel.  Of course, as a child, I didn’t really think much of it- it just seemed like yet another Donald Duck cartoon to me. But now, I look back and find myself really curious. How did the Walt Disney and his team, especially a blustery cartoon duck, get involved so specifically in wartime propaganda?

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Episode Credits

Production and Editing by Kaboonki Creative. Theme music by Alex Davis. Research assistance by Stephanie Pryor. Social media assistance by Emily Crockett.

Music Credits: "Back to the Grindstone" by Dee Yan-Kee is licensed under BY-NC-SA 4.0; "Jessie Cave Duo (ID 479)" by Lobo Loco is licensed under BY-NC-NC 4.0; "Assembly line work" by Dee Yan-Kee is licensed under BY-NC-SA 4.0; "King of the air march" by Charles Daab is licensed under BY-NC 3.0 US; "Silent Park Inside Your Soul" by Alex Mason & The Minor Emotion is licensed under BY-NC 4.0; "Bindweed (Instrumental Version)" by Axletree is licensed under BY 4.0


Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Time Magazine: How WWII Changed Walt Disney

Open Culture: Donald Duck’s Bad Nazi Dream and Four Other Disney Propaganda Cartoons from World War II

Der Spiegel: Donald Versus Hitler: Walt Disney and the Art of WWII Propaganda

The Telegraph: How Donald Duck helped win Second World War – and beat Mickey to the job

Complex: The Most Racist Moments in Disney Cartoons


ArtCurious is sponsored by Anchorlight, an interdisciplinary creative space, founded with the intent of fostering artists, designers, and craftspeople at varying stages of their development. Home to artist studios, residency opportunities, and exhibition space Anchorlight encourages mentorship and the cross-pollination of skills among creatives in the Triangle.

Episode #26: Hitler's Führermuseum (Season 2, Episode 6)

Episode #26: Hitler's Führermuseum (Season 2, Episode 6)

Episode #24: American Propaganda Posters of WWII (Season 2, Episode 4)

Episode #24: American Propaganda Posters of WWII (Season 2, Episode 4)