- Education for Death
name = Education for Death
distributor = RKO
runtime = 10 minutes
language = English narration with German dialogue
awards = none
imdb_id = 0035836
"Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi" is an animated
short filmproduced by Walt Disneyand released on January 15, 1943by RKO Radio Pictures. It was directed by Clyde Geronimiand principally animated by Ward Kimball. The short is (loosely) based on the book (ISBN 0-374-98905-2) by Gregor Ziemer. The cover of that book appears as the short's title card.
The film features the story of Little Hans, a German boy born and raised in
Nazi Germany, who is educated to become a merciless soldier.
At the beginning of the film, a German couple prove to a Nazi supreme judge that they are of pure
Aryanblood and agree to give their son, whom they name Hans at the approval of the judge, into the service of Adolf Hitlerand the Nazi party. They are given a copy of "Germany's bestseller," Mein Kampfby the judge as a reward for their service to Hitler. There then follows the only extended comical section of the cartoon, the tone of which is very light compared to the rest of the film. The audience is told that as Hans grows, he hears a distorted version of Sleeping Beautydepicting Hitler as the knight in shining armor rescuing Sleeping Beauty, a huge obese Valkyrierepresenting Germany, from a wicked witch, representing Democracy. Thanks to this kind of distorted children's story, Hans becomes greatly fascinated with Hitler as he and the rest of the younger members of the Hitler Youth give a portrait of Hitler dressed as a knight the Hitler salute.
In the following segment the audience sees Hans sick and bedridden. His mother prays for him, knowing it will only be a matter of time before the authorities come and take him away to serve Hitler, a Nazi officer bangs on the door to take Hans away, but his mother says he is sick and needs care. The officer orders her to heal her son quickly and have him ready to leave, implying if Hans does not get well, he will be euthanasized. He orders her not to do anything more to him that will cause him to lose heart and be weak, explaining that a soldier must show no emotion, mercy, or feelings whatsoever. Hans eventually recovers and resumes his "education" in a school classroom, where Hans and the rest of his classmates, after giving portraits of Hitler, Göring, and Goebbels the Hitler salute, watch as the teacher draws a cartoon on the blackboard of a rabbit being eaten by a fox, prompting Hans to feel sorry for the rabbit. The teacher, furious over the remark, orders Hans to sit in the corner wearing a
dunce cap. As Hans sits in the corner as punishment, he hears the rest of the classmates "correctly" interpret the cartoon as "weakness has no place in a soldier" and "the strong shall rule the weak". This sparks Hans to recant his remark, and agrees that the weak must be destroyed.
Hans then takes part in a
book-burningcrusade, burning any books that oppose Hitler, replacing the Holy Biblewith Mein Kampf and the crucifixwith a Nazi sword, and burning a Catholic Church. Hans then spends the next several years "Marching and heiling, heiling and marching!" until he reaches his teens still "marching and heiling" until he becomes the "Good Nazi" embroiled in hatred towards anyone else who opposes Hitler, "sees nothing but what the party wants him to see, says nothing but what the party wants him to say, and he does no more than the party wants him to do."
In the end, Hans and the rest of the soldiers march off to war only to fade into rows of graves. Thus Hans's education is complete. "The education... for death", leaving the viewers with the moral of the story: "... Hitler got Germany on her feet, climbed into the saddle... and took her for a ride."
Intended as anti-Nazi
propagandaduring World War II, the film is rarely shown today, but it is featured on the DVD "Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines", a compilation of Disney's wartime shorts released on May 18, 2004.
The dialogue of the characters is in German, neither subtitled nor directly translated by Art Smith's lone English language narration. A voice track of Adolf Hitler in full demagogic rant is used in a torchlight rally scene. A sequence follows in which Hans becomes a Nazi soldier along with other
Der Fuhrer's Face"
*imdb title|id=0035836|title=Education for Death
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