What was Hitler's favorite film
80 years ago: Walt Disney travels through Nazi Germany
In the early 1980s, the film "Donald and the Nazis" was shown in some Berlin cinemas and it gave good testimony to Walt Disney's anti-Nazi sentiments. During the Second World War, in 1943, Donald Duck was sent to an armaments factory in Nazi Germany as a "slave laborer" in the animated nightmare "Der Fuehrer’s Face".
In "Education for Death" he had shown how children are drummed into Nazi ideology and mutate into cannon fodder. In “Victory through Air Power” he campaigned for long-range bombers and postulated area bombing against Nazi Germany. Since Disney was not doing well because of the loss of European markets during the war, he was dependent on orders from the army and had to keep himself afloat with such educational films.
But what was Walt Disney really like?
Was he, as Meryl Streep publicly claimed at a gala in New York last January, a bigoted racist who supported anti-Semitic clans? The fact is that Disney, despite Hollywood boycotts, received Leni Riefenstahl on December 8, 1938.
Art Babbitt, one of Disney's top draftsmen and creator of the character Goofy, who divorced the company in anger after a strike against Disney, claimed that Disney and his lawyer Gunther Lessing had contacts with Fritz Julius Kuhn, leader of the Nazi "German American Bund" , to chat. But that cannot be proven.
The fact is: In 1935 Disney and his brother Roy went on a trip to Europe, which the French Didier Ghez researched in his new book "Disney’s Grand Tour". On board the “Normandie”, it went from New York to England and Scotland, then to France, from there to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and finally to Italy, where Foreign Minister Count Ciano and his wife, Mussolini's daughter, were the illustrious Guests courted. Disney also met Mussolini's wife and - presumably - the Duce himself.
On July 7, 1935 in Munich
The Disney's arrived in Germany exactly 80 years ago. From Baden-Baden they drove in the car through the Black Forest, via Freiburg, Ulm and Augsburg to Munich, where the small tour group including Walt's wife arrived on Sunday, July 7th and stayed at the hotel "Grand Continental".
On Monday the Disneys met with executives of the Bavarian Film Company, which at the time was their preferred distribution company in Germany. The Disney also attended an event of the Reichsfilmkammer and honored a performance of the short film program "The Funny Palette - In the Realm of Mickey Mouse" compiled by the Bavarian Film Society in 1934 with their presence.
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