Animerede Patrioter. Amerikanske propagandategnefilm fra 2. Verdenskrig

Casper Falbe Sørensen & Jonas Arboe Harild

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This master thesis examines the means with which American war propaganda was integrated in popular American theatrical cartoons during World War II. Through a theoretical understanding of propaganda inspired by Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, the fundamental aspects of the creation of propaganda aimed at the public, are examined. Furthermore we use Roland Barthes’ theory of myths to describe how both the cartoon medium and well-known animated figures were used for propaganda purposes because of their popularity in all age groups. The intention with this propaganda included attempts to get the audience to feel that the American way of fighting the enemy was righteous, boost home front morale by showing America as superior to the enemy and demonize the enemy by the use of harsh caricatures and stereotypes. Since the American propaganda cartoons from World War II are very similar with regards to the propagandistic content, we have chosen to analyse a number of films, which represents the general tendencies and propagandistic means typical for these shorts. Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros.’ animation unit were the two dominant cartoon studios of the era, and our main focus is concentrated on the propagandistic cartoons made by these two companies. In order to understand the conditions under which these cartoons were produced and the intentions behind them we look into the history of both the American propaganda cartoon and specifically on the wartime experiences of Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Studios. Both of these studios produced a wide range of animated films aimed both at the public and specifically for military training. We focus on the cartoons made for theatrical distribution since these signals the strategies and means, which the propagandists used to influence the public. Some of these films were ordered and paid for by the American government, while others were solely financed by the studios themselves. These privately funded propaganda cartoons helped create a patriotic image for a business often accused of making useless entertainment in the serious times of war. The film analysis is divided into four major parts, which each deals with a specific topic in the propaganda cartoons. We look upon how the American culture and people are portrayed, what it meant for the propagandistic message to make use of famous animated characters, how the cartoons supported government campaigns and finally how the enemy was presented to the public. Since the production of explicit war propaganda might create some dilemmas in a democracy like the American, we cover the relations between the private studios and the government offices that made guidelines for the content of American propaganda. Based on this information we discuss the advantages and possible disadvantages in using cartoons as a medium for propaganda.

UddannelserHistorie, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2005
VejledereMichael Kjeldsen


  • Tegnefilm
  • Hollywood
  • USA
  • 2. Verdenskrig
  • Populærkultur
  • Jowett og O’Donnell
  • Propaganda
  • Roland Barthes
  • Propagandategnefilm
  • Amerika