American Propaganda

1183 Words 5 Pages
Propaganda has been around since the early 1600s, but during World War II, it was utilized in a way that graphically showcased two different groups of enemies as two distinctive groups: monsters and victims. However, the groups of people that were put into the two groups were very different. The Japanese were depicted as buck toothed, yellow skinned idiots obsessed with scrap metal while the Germans were shown as victims of Adolf Hitler’s regime. Americans notably portrayed the Japanese this way because they were not Anglo-Saxon but because, put simply, they were Asian. The racism projected in American propaganda is only one of the many elements used to project fear into the hearts of the Americans to motivate them into fighting. The fear tactic …show more content…
The verb “propagate” means “to spread and promote (an idea, theory, etc.) widely”. Propaganda is the widespread distribution of political ideals and messages. To be successful, the material must be circulated repetitively. Philip M. Taylor stated that the period during World War II “witnessed the greatest propaganda battle in the history of warfare” . Propaganda was being thrown in the faces of the populations of all the involved countries. The United States was especially prominent in their consistency and doggerel material. The majority of their posters portraying Japanese people were brutal and cruel in nature. In a Popeye cartoon, Popeye comes face to face with Japanese soldiers. Most people know Popeye as the cranky sailor who eats spinach to toughen up. However, in this black and white cartoon, Popeye is shown to outsmart his enemies while they barely do any damage to him, even after putting a stick of dynamite in his shoe, which he only notices as his foot falling asleep. The two Japanese men are short with overly large teeth, squinting eyes, and large glasses (see fig. 1) and can apparently do Popeye no harm and cannot outsmart him. In posters circulating during that time, the image of a Japanese soldier is not very different than the portrayal in a children’s cartoon. In the cartoon “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips”, a small gray rabbit is apparently the same size as an average Japanese soldier and at least twice as smart. The Japanese are also comically yellow, due to the caricaturization of their Eastern descent. This is also shown in “Der Fuehrer’s Face”, where the tuba playing, Japanese Nazi, is a light daffodil color, making him look like he has a severe case of jaundice. The racism in the propaganda is appalling, considering these short clips were shown to young children and played before movies in theaters. On the other hand, the Germans were shown to be suffering under Hitler’s regime. Donald Duck

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