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Der Fuehrer's Face

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Der Fuehrer's Face is a 1943 animated cartoon by the Walt Disney Studios, starring Donald Duck. It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1943 as an anti-Nazi propaganda film for the American war effort. The film won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and was the only Donald Duck cartoon to win an Oscar. In 1994, it was voted #22 of "the 50 Greatest Cartoons" of all time by members of the animation field.


The cartoon begins with music from Wagner's comic opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg before continuing into the title song.

A German oom-pah band composed of Axis leaders Hirohito on sousaphone, Göring on piccolo, Goebbels on trombone, Mussolini on bass drum and Hideki Tojo on snare drum marches through a small German town, where everything, even the clouds and trees, are shaped as swastikas, singing the virtues of the Nazi doctrine. Passing by Donald's house (the features of which depict Adolf Hitler), they poke him out of bed with a bayonet to get ready for work. Because of wartime rationing, his breakfast consists of a piece of wood shaped like a loaf of bread, coffee brewed from a single hoarded coffee bean and an aromatic spray that tastes like bacon and eggs. The band shoves a copy of Mein Kampf in front of him for a moment of reading, then marches into his house and escorts him to a factory, with Donald carrying the bass drum and Göring kicking him.

Upon arriving at the factory (at bayonet-point), Donald starts his 48-hour daily shift screwing caps onto artillery shells in an assembly line. Mixed in with the shells are portraits of the Führer, so he must perform the Hitler salute every time a portrait appears, all the while screwing the caps onto shells, much to Donald's disgust. Each new batch of shells is of a different size, ranging from minute shells to massive shells as large as Donald if not larger. The pace of the assembly line intensifies (as in the Charlie Chaplin comedy Modern Times) and Donald finds it increasingly hard to complete all the tasks. At the same time, he is bombarded with propaganda messages about the superiority of the Aryan race and the glory of working for the Fuehrer.

After a "paid vacation" that consists of making swastika shapes with his body for a few seconds in front of a painted backdrop of the Alps as exercise, Donald is ordered to work overtime. He has a nervous breakdown with hallucinations of artillery shells everywhere, some of which are snakes and birds, some sing and are the same shapes as the marching band from the beginning, music and all. When the hallucinations clear, he finds himself in his bed — in the United States — and realizes the whole experience was just a nightmare. Donald embraces a miniature Statue of Liberty, thankful for his American citizenship.

The short ends with a caricature of Hitler's angry face. After two sets of "Heils", a tomato is thrown at Hitler's face and forms the words THE END.

Home video releases



German vocabulary

This movie also include some German words. Besides the Hitlergruß ("Sieg Heil" and "Heil Hitler") there are as following:

  • Heraus! (when Donald get poked out of bed) - Get out!"
  • Schweinehund" (incorrectly spoken as Schweinhund) - compares to b****** or swine
  • Mach schnell!" - quick(ly)!
  • Verdammter Esel (incorrectly spoken as feminine form verdammte Esel) - compares to b****** or donkey

v - e - d
The Wise Little Hen | Donald and Pluto | Don Donald | Modern Inventions | Self Control | Donald's Better Self | Donald's Nephews | Good Scouts | Donald's Golf Game | Donald's Lucky Day | The Hockey Champ | Donald's Cousin Gus | Beach Picnic | Sea Scouts | Donald's Penguin | The Autograph Hound | Officer Duck
The Riveter | Donald's Dog Laundry | Mr. Duck Steps Out | Put-Put Troubles | Donald's Vacation | The Volunteer Worker | Window Cleaners | The Fire Chief | Timber | The Golden Eggs | A Good Time for a Dime | Early to Bed | Truant Officer Donald | Old MacDonald Duck | Donald's Camera | Chef Donald | Donald's Snow Fight | Donald Gets Drafted | Donald's Garden | Donald's Gold Mine | The Vanishing Private | Sky Trooper | Bellboy Donald | Der Fuehrer's Face | Donald's Tire Trouble | The Flying Jalopy | Fall Out-Fall In | The Old Army Game | Home Defense | Trombone Trouble | Donald Duck and the Gorilla | Contrary Condor | Commando Duck | The Plastics Inventor | Donald's Off Day | The Clock Watcher | The Eyes Have It | Donald's Crime | Duck Pimples | Cured Duck | Old Sequoia | Donald's Double Trouble | Wet Paint | Dumbell of the Yukon | Lighthouse Keeping | Straight Shooters | Sleepy Time Donald | Clown of the Jungle | Donald's Dilemma | Bootle Beetle | Wide Open Spaces | Chip an' Dale | Drip Dippy Donald | Daddy Duck | Donald's Dream Voice | The Trial of Donald Duck | Inferior Decorator | Soup's On | Three for Breakfast | Tea for Two Hundred | Donald's Happy Birthday | Sea Salts | Winter Storage | Honey Harvester | All in a Nutshell | The Greener Yard | Slide, Donald, Slide | Toy Tinkers
Lion Around | Crazy Over Daisy | Trailer Horn | Hook, Lion and Sinker | Bee at the Beach | Out on a Limb | Dude Duck | Corn Chips | Test Pilot Donald | Lucky Number | Bee on Guard | Donald Applecore | Let's Stick Together | Uncle Donald's Ants | Trick or Treat | Don's Fountain of Youth | The New Neighbor | Rugged Bear | Working for Peanuts | Canvas Back Duck | Spare the Rod | Donald's Diary | Dragon Around | Grin and Bear It | The Flying Squirrel | Grand Canyonscope | No Hunting | Bearly Asleep | Beezy Bear | Up a Tree | Chips Ahoy | How to Have an Accident in the Home | How to Have an Accident at Work
The Litterbug
Educational Shorts
Donald in Mathmagic Land | Donald and the Wheel | Steel and America | Donald's Fire Survival Plan | Family Planning
See Also
DuckTales and Quack Pack

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