This book shows how Mickey Mouse’s character affected America. Disney himself is said to have “perceived Mickey as a powerful and important symbol in American culture.” He had previously been used to help “people escape from their Depression anxieties.” This is one reason why Disney films were popular, but this source investigates why Disney cartoons were so well liked and finds that “Disney combined the myth-making medium of film with his perception of American popular taste.” The author claims “Mickey’s creation of a fantasy world is an accurate reflection of the cultural mood in 1944. After three years of war, Americans were tired of propaganda, and beyond ‘those glorious days of 1942, when audiences cheered the American flag on the screen.’” Uelmen goes on to explain that the Disney studio offered an escape to the war by providing audiences with a fantasy world. Disney “played an important role in projecting images of wartime unity.” Unity was defined as the civilian war effort and “how Mickey perceives cultural difference in America is a reflection of both the wartime consolidation of public opinion and Disney’s unique way of seeing the culture.” For example, Minnie says that in San Francisco the sun sets in the perfect place, but in Chinatown she says that she cannot read any of the signs in stores. Disney may “have been making a subtle reference to the power of Western resources to defeat the ‘Asian monster.’
This source is very useful as it answers both parts of my thesis suggesting that Mickey Mouse’s character allowed Disney propaganda films to be successful. Uelmen discusses the background of Mickey Mouse and shows that his character was a precedent for why Disney cartoons were effective. Mickey’s character was used to help people deal with the Depression, so Americans were able to bond with his character. Therefore, they would be more inclined to trust and agree with the ideas presented in Disney cartoons later on even if the beliefs were pro-war.