Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Der Fuehrer's Face
Der Fuehrer's Face is a 1943 animated cartoon starring Donald Duck, as well as a song from that short. Both are disdainful of Adolf Hitler. The melody is a parody of the Horst Wessel Lied, a Nazi anthem.
The short film was produced by the Walt Disney Studios and features Donald Duck. 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.
In the film, a German band marches through a small town, singing the virtues of the Nazi doctrine. Donald is awakened by the noise and taken by the musicians to an ammunition factory. As one long day of forced work passes, he becomes little more than another slave of the totalitarian system, with no choice but obeying till he falls, suffering a nervous breakdown. However, he finds out that it has all been a nightmare and he is still living on the land of liberty.
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." Unlike the version in the cartoon, the Spike Jones version contains the rude sound effect of rubber razzers (aka the Bronx Cheer) with each "HEIL!" to show contempt for Hitler. The success of Jones' record prompted Disney to change the short's title, originally Donald Duck in Nutzi Land, to match the song.
The song begins:
- When der Fuehrer says, "We ist der master race,"
- We HEIL! HEIL! Right in der Fuehrer's face!
- Not to love der Fuehrer is a great disgrace,
- So we HEIL! HEIL! Right in der Fuehrer's face!
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 .
- Disney Archives: Donald Duck Character History
- The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts
- Walt Disney Home Video: Walt Disney: On the Front Lines
- Song lyrics - Der Fuehrer's Face, by Spike Jones and the City Slickers
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