155. Education for Death – Clyde Geronimi

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SUMMARY: The story of Hans, a boy born and raised in Nazi Germany, and the tragic inevitability of his ultimate untimely death.

WHY IT’S HERE: ‘Education for Death’ is a rarely seen Disney short that tends to shock many people with what they see as a completely atypical Disney approach. But for anyone who knows a little about wartime propaganda and the large role that Hollywood animation played in it, ‘Education for Death’ follows a fairly predictable, if very well realised, course. Although it features one comic routine involving Hitler and an obese Valkyrie who represents Germany, the rest of ‘Education for Death’ is completely serious and pulls no punches in its mistreatment of, and ultimate killing off of, its cute little hero Hans. Based on the book of the same name by Gregor Ziemer, ‘Education for Death’ is perhaps most remarkable for its relatively even-handed approach to its subject matter. Nazism is not depicted as an inherent evil in German citizens as would often be the case in the clumsiest of propaganda. Instead we are presented with a more truthful account of an innocent caught in the crossfire, brainwashed by a corrupt government and sent to an untimely death when he could have offered the world so much more.

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