Ohmer notes in her review of "Animating culture: Hollywood cartoons from the sound era" by Eric Smoodin (Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, NJ, 1933. 216 pgs) that "Private Snafu" series was often shown at civilian theaters at the end of military film. According to Smoodin, the character of Private Snafu acted as an outlet that addressed soldiers' discontent while also indoctrinating them further with ways of military life.
Ohmer’s discussion hints at a counterpoint to the effectiveness of the “Private Snafu” series in that the propaganda may have done more harm than good for its audience. Although the films succeeded in ironing out soldiers’ qualms, their discussion of these qualms reinforces many of the negatives of military life.
Ohmer, Susan. Rev. of Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons from the Sound Era, by Eric Smoodin. Film History Vol. 6, No. 3 (1994): 405-408.
Animation was an outlet of soldiers to vent their frustrations, but more importantly, a tool to indoctrinate them about military life and protocol. The cartoons emphasized fulfilling patriotic duty, despite tensions and contradictions in military life. But additionally, Smoodin asserts that cartoons functioned to reduce tensions arising from the rest of the program. The film bill exemplified American ideals, the cause that the soldiers fought for, but also diffused potentially jarring differences to produce a smooth, functional unit. Animation was a key component in mitigating differences.
Frank Capra produced the Army-Navy Screen Magazine, which featured newsreels, training, and usually concluded with Private Snafu. As the entertaining and humorous portion of bill, animations was a happy contrast to newsreels and dramas, which dealt with more serious subjects. SNAFU stood for "Situation Normal: ALL F**ked UP". It was an unofficial acronym describing how the normal state of affairs is in a mess. The Private Snafu series presents the idea of tensions and contradictions in military life, but in an acceptable manner. Often times, newsreels, training films, and dramas triggered tension, which needed a safe outlet: cartoons. This led to acceptance of the norm and desensitization towards the harsh realities, even the idea of killing or being killed becomes less foreboding.