Howard, dressed as an infantry soldier, says the animated armed soldiers did their duty at times of war and peace. Howard says that during the two world wars, animation was used both as propaganda and to make light of the dark days of war. In the propaganda war, Japanese and Germans were drawn in a cliché manner and defeated several times with Hitler himself dying several times before his demise in real life.
Women such as animator Martha Smigell went to work for cartoon studios on propaganda films and animated characters such as Popeye and Charlie Brown joined in promoting the war effort in animated shorts. Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman would use the Wayback machine to travel back and make sure historic battles had the correct outcome.
Jay Ward used the conflict between Rocky and Bullwinkle and the spies Boris and Natasha to satirize the cold war that was ongoing between the United States and the USSR.
During World War II, a series of army training cartoons were made by the army featuring a character named Private Snafu ( which stood for Situation Normal All Fouled Up). In the features, Private Snafu would do everything wrong and was the brain child of film maker Frank Capra and animated by Theodore Geiesel aka Dr. Seuss. Snafu could do crude things that would never get past normal censors but carried an important message to soldiers on what not to do as he died six times during the run of his wartime cartoons.
Howard talk about government using the draft during times of war and cartoons were doing their part to promote patriotism as well as other emotions with Daffy Duck showing fear at being drafted. In the sixties, the near sighted Mr. Magoo signed up despite his vision problems in a memorable cartoon of slapstick. During the Vietnam War, emotions were conflicted over the war and the Roger Ramjet cartoon satirized the feelings of the day.
Animator Bob Clampett was the lead man for working on films promoting the war effort. Bob always tried to put subversive messages in his cartoons and World War II provided the perfect environment for his talent.
Howard notes that during World World II, fighter pilots believed mysterious imps called "gremlins" would cause unforeseen problems in their aircraft. These gremlins would appear in cartoons dating back to World War II and starred in The Falling Hare, a Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs got the short end of the stick on a rare occasion for the legendary toon. In another animated featre, Russian gremlins plot to take down the German dictator Hitler, who is flying a plane and panics when he mistakenly believes he is out of fuel thanks to the gremlins.
Howard shows a number of shorts that spoof notorious German dictator Hitler and notes that Nazi propaganda was extensive during World War II and America fought back with their own. Warner Brothers depicted the Germans as buffoons and Hitler himself as no match for Bugs Bunny's antics.
During the era of World War I, it was time a great of innovation and animation was one area for new ideas and projects. Windsor McCay created the first animated film about a female dinosaur and also created the first war time animated propaganda film about the sinking of the ship Lusitania by a German U-boat, which helped to stir up feelings for Americans to enter the war.
Howard states that the ultimate war cartoon is "Peace on Earth", a 1939 film set in a post apocalyptic era where the world is populated only by peace loving animals who live in the ruins an extinct man has left behind with a grandfather squirrel relating the terrible times of humanity and painted a vivid and horrifying vision of man in battle.