WWII Animation | Watch 7 Very Short Wartime Cartoons

Films

This Remembrance Day, enjoy an intriguing window into the past with these 7 very short cartoons created to support the war effort during WWII.

From highlighting the lethal potential of gossip to encouraging Canadians to reuse and repurpose old clothes, these short cartoons occupy an interesting niche between creative exploration, entertainment and all-out propaganda.

Inventive and visually daring, these wartime shorts remind us to enjoy the peace we know today, while raising interesting questions about art, who uses it and how.

Watch them all, below:

He Plants for Victory (1941)

This episode from Plugger, “a wartime short-short,” introduce us to the Pluggers, who learn the importance of cooperation and sharing, especially during war times. We are loving Plugger’s wide pant leg silhouette and distinctive walking motion. Great minimalist animation.

He Plants for Victory, , provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Empty Rooms Mean Idle Machines (1942)

More Plugger. Here, we see how Mr. Plugger helped the war effort by renting out his spare room. Which is all directly linked directly to helping defeat Hitler.

Empty Rooms Mean Idle Machines, , provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Keep Your Mouth Shut (1944)

Ever heard the expression loose lips sink ships? This is the animated version, hosted by a human skull with swastika-eyes.

Keep Your Mouth Shut, Norman McLaren, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Mail Early (1941)

This Canada post ad is a reminder to mail your Christmas letters and gifts early in times of war. Don’t disappoint your friends! This is Norman McLaren‘s first film for the Film Board.

Mail Early, Norman McLaren, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Dollar Dance (1943)

Slightly longer than the others, Dollar Dance is a groovy lesson in wartime economics. Full of witty rhymes (“Save me now, save me often. Put the Axis in the coffin”) and featuring bouncy animation by McLaren, this cartoon covers topics such as price control and the necessity to save. (“You can spend me later on! I’ll be good when Hitler’s gone!”)

Dollar Dance, Norman McLaren, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Stitch and Save (1943)

Use it up! Wear it out! Make it do! This cartoon is all about mobilizing your old clothes for the war effort.

Stitch and Save, Jim MacKay, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

V for Victory (1941)

McLaren drew this directly unto 35mm film. A war bond campaign ad never looked so snazzy.

V for Victory, Norman McLaren, provided by the National Film Board of Canada