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What makes a Nazi? How does he get that way? Well, let's look into the process...
Education for Death: The Making of a Nazi is a Wartime Cartoon in the Classic Disney Shorts lineup, based on the Gregor Ziemer's book of the same name, and released on January 15, 1943. Suffice it to say, this is not your typical Disney cartoon — aside from some brief bits of comedy (particularly the retelling of Sleeping Beauty as an allegory of how Hitler saved Germany from democracy), this short was intended as a dead-serious message for American audiences, displaying just what destructive and terrifying methods the Nazis used to brainwash young Germans into becoming perfect soldiers for the Führer...hence the title.
The short is included on the DVD set "Walt Disney Treasures: On The Front Lines", uncut and uncensored and with a message from Leonard Maltin about what the short is about and how horrific and chilling it truly is. This short was also a runner-up on Jerry Beck's The 50 Greatest Cartoons list.
Education for Death provides examples of:
- Brawn Hilda: The Sleeping Beauty Germany, when awakened, proves to be a fat, beer-swilling Valkyries à la Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung.
- Cunning Like a Fox: Used by the Nazi teacher to demonstrate that the strong and cunning should naturally devour the weak and timid.
- Darker and Edgier than the vast majority of Disney productions.
- Deconstruction: Arguably of the Black and White Morality and Xenophobia in the usual Anti-Nazi propaganda.
- Dystopia Is Hard: Meta-example. Hans grew from birth to adulthood in Nazi Germany, which didn't last long enough for that to occur.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Fan Disservice: The scene involving the aforementioned Sleeping Beauty Germany.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom / Sinister Silhouettes: The Nazi officials.
- Laser Guided Tykebomb: Hans and company.
- Marshmallow Hell: Hitler receives this from Princess Germany in the Sleeping Beauty section.
- Mood Whiplash: The comedic Sleeping Beauty parody contrasts violently with the rest of the short. The short in general goes back and forth between dark moments and lighthearted ones. It starts out with showing a couple registering their child with the government in what looks like a big dark room; not exactly pleasant, but nothing edgy. Then it gets more lighthearted with the Sleeping Beauty bit. Then it shows a mother trying to take care of her ill child, and then a government official stepping in and warning her to stop coddling Hans or he'll be taken away by the state. Then it gets softer again, with an example of a classroom lesson where the kids are being taught that the future belongs to the strong and brutal. After that is when it starts getting really dark.
- Poirot Speak: Though most of the German in the short is genuine, Prince Adolf's speech to the newly wakened Princess Germany is garbled nonsense.
- Regional Riff: When the chalkboard rabbit is hunted by the fox, the tune playing is ‟Im Wald und auf der Heide‟, an old German hunting tune.
- "Ride of the Valkyries": Heralds the advent of Prince Adolf in the retold Nazi version of "Sleeping Beauty".
- Rotoscoping: Presumably used to animate the human characters.
- Shown Their Work: All of the methods explained in the short were really used. On another note, most of the German spoken in the short was genuine.
- Something Completely Different: Compared to other Disney shorts, this one really stands out — it's probably to Disney what Chuck Jones' "Old Glory" was to Looney Tunes.
- Standard Snippet: Besides Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries", reference is also made to his wedding march from Lohengrin. When the Nazis are shown burning Felix Mendelssohn's music, we hear a snippet of his wedding march from Ein Sommernachtstraum.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Hans.
- User Operation Prohibit Flag: The DVD versions' Maltin intro is unskippable and un-fast-forwardable.
- Wartime Cartoon
- Wicked Witch: How the Nazi version of Sleeping Beauty depicts Democracy.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Hans -- and pretty much all the children of Nazi Germany -- are this.