There is an infectious simplicity about this film, which rings true politically in these times, even if the history it tells was more complicated.
I can’t decide whether the White House is deliberately insulting our intelligence with Bush’s recent appeasement accusations or if they really don’t know anything about Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement. Chamberlain isn’t criticized in history for talking to Hitler, but rather for giving away the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia and with it that country’s means to defend itself against Germany. The difference is not trivial. And what does McCain’s echoing of Bush’s remarks tell us about him? Did he also not learn this bit of history? Or is this just politics? Be that as it may, Kevin Levin is right about this being a teachable moment. The “Hardball” video he posted on his blog is hilarious and sad at the same time.
This blog post originally appeared on my old history blog, Clio and Me, on this date.
Almost anyone who has lived in Germany over the past sixty years will find the following video very strange indeed. It appeared in the early days of the occupation, when the Cold War was still only on the horizon and a strict anti-fraternization policy made sense to the U.S. military leadership.
By the way, if you are a Dr. Suess fan, listen to the language. I’ve read many of his stories to my son, and I can hear the hand he had in this film.
If that film appears ridiculous, here is a piece of wartime propaganda from Walt Disney to put it into context.
By the way, Dr. Suess also addressed the question of war and peace in a famous children’s book from the Cold War, The Butter Battle Book, in which one side ate its bread butter side up, and the other butter side down. This led to mistrust, the erection of a wall, and an arms race.
This post originally appeared on my old history blog, Clio and Me, on this date.
Here’s an interesting piece of American propaganda from the Second World War. The working man pays “taxes to sink the Axis.”