U.S. government propaganda circa 1943: “Don’t be a sucker”


If only the Republican Party still subscribed to these all-American, egalitarian values  . . .  A few sources say the film was intended to be an anti-racism film after the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces by President Harry Truman, and was not intended for general public viewing.  (Is it fair to say this is secret stuff?)  The Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) said the film was made in 1943, and reissued by the Defense Department later; good movies stay fresh:

Financed and produced by the United States War Department, and shot at the Warners [Bros.] studio, although it was distributed through all of the major studios’ film exchanges and also by National Screen Services free to the theatre exhibitors: A young, healthy American Free Mason is taken in by the message of a soap-box orator who asserts that all good jobs in the United States are being taken by the so-called minorities, domestic and foreign. He falls into a conversation with a refugee professor who tells him of the pattern of events that brought Hitler to power in Germany and how Germany’s anti-democratic groups split the country into helpless minorities, each hating the other. The professor concludes by pointing out that America is composed of many minorities, but all are united as Americans. (Reissued in 1946 following the end of World War II.) (Written by Les Adams)

From the Department of Defense in 1943 and 1946, “Don’t Be a Sucker,” about 18 minutes:

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6 Responses to U.S. government propaganda circa 1943: “Don’t be a sucker”

  1. Nnox says:

    Great comment, Jim.

    Like

  2. Jim says:

    Good evening, Sensei! Welcome to MFB. It’s nice to have you here. I hope you’ll entertain some thoughts and impressions your post evoked.

    You said, It is the Democrats that are the elitists.

    You really will have to codify what you mean when you use the term, “elitist”. Nomenclature matters. When Rush Limbaugh refers to us as “elitist”, he typically follows that epithet with statements about “eggheads”, “college boys”, “Ivy Leaguers” and “the intelligensia”. Oh my. Guilty as charged, I suppose. When Sean Hannity employs the time-worn phrase, “elitist”, he tends to quantify that in terms of something he calls “political correctness”. By that, he means we usually talk about “African-Americans” rather than “darkies”. Or that we don’t feel the slightest bit of discomfort about interchangeably saying “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas”. Now, if by “elitist” you mean to indict limousine liberals who talk a good game about the poor and needy…or about the environment and human rights…but actually do nothing to substantively address these problems, I’m listening. I’m a liberal and, by default, a Democrat. But I think that gripe deserves to be aired repeatedly. Half-measures reek of mediocrity and the last three Democratic administrations have been up to their elbows in quarter and half measures. So let’s have it. What does “elitist” mean to you? Might some of your additional remarks shed some light on what you intend?

    You add, It is they who think that some “classes”, races or groups of people are superior.

    Oh, do help us out here. Please be specific. What have we done or said to imply that one race, class or group of people is superior? Which races specifically? It’s not terribly constructive to make a sweeping statement and then fail to provide specific examples. If you want to talk about the repugnant and morally-failed views of the Dixiecrats, by all means – have at it. You’ll hear me cheering you on. I’m less than optimistic that you were headed in that direction, however.

    You opine, The GOP is made up mostly of middle class and non-union working class people. This is just a lie of the Democrat Party: That the GOP is the “party of the rich”.

    Well this is about as useful as saying “Most Nebraskans are Caucasian.” Of course the GOP is made up mostly of middle class and working class people. Hell, Sensei…no small number of union members are Republican, too. The Democratic Party is also made up working class and middle class people. And both union and non-union members. Is the GOP the “party of the rich”? Hmm. I’d be interested to see what statistics are out there. Let’s talk about the top 1%. What is the party affiliation of these folks? Have any substantive studies been done? I honestly don’t know. I can see it swinging either way. Just who the party’s members and even who its leaders are really isn’t the point.

    The question is, “Which party is doing more to advance the cause of the 99%?” (My answer, btw, is actually not as partisan as you might think. If you put a gun to my head, I’d say the Democratic Party is the correct answer. But barely. The GOP of the Eisenhower to Nixon era was far more progressive than the present Democratic Party. We win this race more or less by default – not because the Democratic Party is so oriented toward social justice; but because the current Republican Party is so NOT.)

    You continue, Go look at the richest counties in the country and see how they vote. Most of them vote Democrat.

    That would be interesting. I know how Orange County, California has voted historically. And Marion County, Indiana. The wealthy collar counties around Chicago are still new to me, but I do know GOP turnout in them (as opposed to heavily-Democratic Cook) is quite healthy. How do they vote in The Hamptons, Sensei? But I’ll give you this: There is no shortage of “salt-of-the-earth”, hard-working and low-wage folk who vote Republican. Good for you in pointing that out.

    Beyond income and geography, can you think of any other factors that might contribute to how people vote? For instance, how does someone with a Phd or a Masters vote as opposed to someone with a high school diploma? How do people who regularly read books, newspapers, patronize libraries and attend lectures and symposiums vote? How do people who listen to talk radio and attend tent revival meetings vote? Broad strokes, of course. I know some really liberal people who praise the Lord and pass the ammunition and I know some really conservative folk who do calculus for fun. But generally speaking, Sensei…what do you think?

    Well, one thing you think is clear. You insist that there are counties ruled by corrupt, urban, Democrat political Machines

    My but you just hit that one out of the park, didn’t you? Hey, I lived in Cook County from 1983-1988. I may STILL be voting there! You’re right, Sensei. There are corrupt, Democratic machines in this country. Chicago is one. Parts of New Jersey, certainly. And there are NO corrupt Republican machines anywhere in America, right? You’ve never heard of Tom DeLay or Ted Stevens or Bob Taft? Alex Scott is an unfamiliar name to you? Indiana’s Republican Secretary of State wasn’t recently deposed by a court order was he? I must have just dreamed it. The truth is, my friend, there are corrupt Democratic and corrupt Republican regimes. There are also honest and fair Democratic and Republican outfits. Wouldn’t you agree?

    You kvetch, You are the Party of Lawyers, trust fundies, rich family’s “foundations”, Bankers, Hollywood, Welfare cheats, Marxist ,Union thugs and criminals.

    Okay, now you’re just whining. Are you even listening to the words that come out of your mouth (or reading what you are writing)? We are the party of…according to you…bankers and Marxists. You know, Sensei…I heard a pundit the other day accuse President Obama of being a Socialist and a crony Capitalist in the very same sentence. You do realize, don’t you, that this is rather like calling someone a chaste adulterer or an honest liar? Words matter, Sensei. They mean things. You would do well to look them up in the dictionary before putting them to work for you. Because when you don’t, you end up looking like a dumb. And I am sure you are not. But let’s unpack a few of these terms, shall we?

    You say we are the party of rich family foundations. There certainly are some that lean left. Now can you also concede that the Koch Brothers are wealthy, Republican and behind several foundations? Is the well-moneyed Heritage Foundation a secret left-wing operation? Do the names DeVos, Merrillat and Forbes mean anything to you?

    You insist we are the party of Hollywood. Oh, I do love that old chestnut. First, there’s the rather obvious reality that Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Senator Fred Thompson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Congressman Fred Grandy and Congressman Sonny Bono have all held elective office with R’s next to their names. We have Al Franken, I suppose. But you’re right, Sensei. There are plenty of left wingers in Hollywood. Barbara Streisand, Warren Beatty, George Clooney and Bono all come to mind. Are you also familiar with the names Charleton Heston, Tom Selleck, Chuck Norris, Kelsey Grammer, Toby Keith, Patricia Heaton and Dennis Miller? I can’t even say, “nice try” on that count.

    You ask, The average Republican works in or owns a small or medium sized business. What do you think, there is a grand alliance of Dry Cleaning Shop owners out to cut of “egalitarian values”.

    Oh guess what, Sensei? The average Democrat works in or owns a small or medium sized business, too! Isn’t it funny how much we have in common? And no, there is no grand alliance of Dry Cleaners bent on ending something called “egalitarian values”. (Do you know what that means?) There is, however, a lobby that looks out for dry cleaners. I doubt they have much of a stake in matters involving income inequality, but you can bet your starched shirts they are VERY concerned about the EPA. I’ll leave up to you to decide which political party is more likely to keep dry cleaners from releasing carcinogens and other toxins into municipal water supplies.

    Sensei concludes, As usual you have everything just backward from reality. What a tool.

    In my experience, Sensei, a person’s argument is usually (maybe not always, but usually) enhanced and strengthened when framing it with a healthy dose of courtesy and civility. I’m disappointed to say your argument – even if you had ended on a decent, congenial note – is entirely without merit. I rather think I’ve just demonstrated that. But just to put a fine point on how bereft of substance it is, you had to become personal and nasty.

    I do wish you well and certainly hope you continue to visit and share. But for future reference, you will probably find courtesy returned and rudeness rebuffed.

    And so it goes…

    Like

  3. To quote: The GOP is made up mostly of middle class and non-union working class people.

    Oh really? THen pray tell why is it that the one group of people that the Republicans want to raise taxes on is the middle class and lower taxes on the rich? In fact if I asked you to name one single thing the Republicans have done for the middle class or the poor in the last ten years you couldn’t name a single thing. Because lets see..your party objected to the payroll tax cut extension and also objected and blocked the getting rid of tax breaks that companies get for shipping all those middle class jobs overseas.

    To quote:
    You are the Party of Lawyers, trust fundies, rich family’s “foundations”, Bankers, Hollywood, Welfare cheats, Marxist ,Union thugs and criminals.

    And you’re the party of vulture capitalists, trust fundies, pension thieves, shippers of jobs overseas to get rich, Lawyers, rich family’s and their “foundations” bankers, part of Hollywood, tax cheats, anti-Union thugs, criminals, people who cheat on their wives, people who get caught having illicit homosexual affairs and fascists.

    Oh and I forgot racists too.

    As for your charge of “marxists” oh please…you couldn’t define marxism accurately if your soul depended on it.\

    If you don’t know what “marxism” or “socialism” or “communism” actually is then don’t be stupid enough to accuse other people of being those things.

    Don’t play games you don’t have the intelligence to win.

    Like

  4. blueollie says:

    Hmmm, a visit from a Fox News watcher. :)

    Like

  5. sensei says:

    Oh give me a break. It is the Democrats that are the elitists. It is they who think that some “classes”, races or groups of people are superior. It is their politicians that think they are better than the rest of us.

    The GOP is made up mostly of middle class and non-union working class people. This is just a lie of the Democrat Party: That the GOP is the “party of the rich”. Go look at the richest counties in the country and see how they vote. Most of them vote Democrat. Go look how most of the country full of average people and are outside of the the counties ruled by corrupt, urban, Democrat political Machines vote.

    You are the Party of Lawyers, trust fundies, rich family’s “foundations”, Bankers, Hollywood, Welfare cheats, Marxist ,Union thugs and criminals.

    The average Republican works in or owns a small or medium sized business. What do you think, there is a grand alliance of Dry Cleaning Shop owners out to cut of “egalitarian values”.

    As usual you have everything just backward from reality. What a tool. You are so lost in your loony Marxist swill that you have lost touch with reality.

    Like

  6. blueollie says:

    Nice post; I sure wish that the South Carolina debate crowd saw this.

    Like

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