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Spirit of '43: Donald Duck Propaganda

Disney does its patriotic duty by allowing Donald Duck to star in this public service announcement from WWII in 1943. The message in the cartoon is very far from subtle.

This cartoon is made to encourage people to save money and to pay their income tax on time. They draw a very clear distinction between those who set aside their tax money and pay it on time and those who just go ahead and spend their money frivolously. The use of the swastika in this cartoon is very onerous. Scrooge McDuck makes an appearance as well, though he was probably not given that name at this time.

The federal income tax was instituted widely in 1913 follow the ratification of the 16th ammendment. The collection of payroll withholdings began in WWI to help make the collection of tax revenues more efficient. The message in this clip makes it sound as though the payroll withholding had not started at the time it was produced, which leaves the question of the exact date that it started.

by Cameron Hatch
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