Monday, January 28, 2013
A friend sent me a link to this, asking whether the U.S. military would still produce something like it? I doubt it. I'm pretty sure some Tea Party politician would blow a gasket on Fox News if they did any such thing.
During World War II, the military propaganda machine not only spewed out anti-VD posters, it also devoted its considerable artistry to condemning the ideology of the fascist enemy in Europe. The result was a vigorous endorsement of citizen solidarity against racial, religious and ethnic prejudice.
This U.S. Army Signal Corps trailer was filmed and shown to some returning GIs and even in some civilian theaters in 1946-7.
Unconstrained by fidelity to historical fact, it's portrayal of brave resistance to Nazis among German Christian clergy and academics is seriously exaggerated. But the viewer gets the point: the Nazis crushed all opposition institutions in order seize power, impose their racial agenda, and lead Europe into a futile war. They had to be stopped and citizens of the United States should be proud of having done the job.
Concurrently, the struggle in the Pacific theater in World War II evoked quite a different sort of propaganda. The fight against the Japanese empire was portrayed as honorably racist, a battle against an enemy depicted as hate-filled primitive savages. The Japanese side was no less racist.
"Don't Be a Sucker" is a pleasant artifact of another time. Enjoy.