Kemnitz, Thomas M. "The Cartoon as a Historical Source." Journal of Interdisciplinary History Vol. 4, No. 1 (1973): 81-93.
Cartoons often capture the seriously formed judgment, usually representative of the prevailing national sentiment, of a prominent idea, situation, or event, though in humorous terms. The key of these sources is how the current national opinion of that time differs (or not) from the current opinion of the viewer. The power of cartoons lies in how it conveys its message quickly and pungently. The rest of the article describes the six specific interrelated areas for investigation, which include artists and method by which cartoon reaches people, but this is less relevant to my thesis.
This is a guiding framework for this paper. It is crucial in watching the propagandistic animation to consider how the expressed views reflected public opinion and how the views tried to shape public opinion. It suggests that there are two types of cartoons: the joke cartoon and the cartoon of opinion. The propaganda falls under the second type, which are cartoons that try to advance a particular agenda of sentiment, as opposed to the joke cartoon, which tries to capture a sentiment in one moment. In particular, I tried to look at the medium, in this case film, to transmit the opinion to the target audience, the soldiers. In Spies (1943, Private Snafu series), there are the buck-teeth Japanese spies and objectification of the German female spy, which is funny as an animation, but underscores the point that no one is to be trusted. I propose that the blend of joke cartoon (such as the objectification of the Nazi woman's breasts as a transmitter) and the cartoon of opinion ( the point that everyone can be a spy) associates a serious message with humor and makes acceptance easier, leading to desensitization.
Kornhaber, Donna. "Animating the War: The First World War and Children's Cartoons in America." The Lion and the Unicorn 31.2 (2007): 132-146.
Animators of the post-Great War period, usually with experience in the front or service of military firm service, cast the war as fantastical, even comic adventures. This medium presented a delicate balance between reality and fantasy. This change was pivotal in that generation of children and had effects into the second world war. In addition, animation became a more direct and more easily produced medium for training and technical reels. This new breed of animation did not shy away from "adult" themes such as death, but applied a new logic adapted for children. The plasmaticness of form depicted in Bosko the Doughboy shows how even inanimate objects can "die", but this fantastical death cancels the underlying carnage. The sheer amount of deaths, both of animate and inanimate objects, negates death as being scary.
This desensitization of the post-Great War generation through animation is the same generation that would fight in the next world war. The problem with live cinema was that it was not genuine and actively tried to portray to soldiers a reality too different from their own. With animation, the struggle had always been between reality and fantasy. In essence, it was not supposed to be real. Animation can portray and neutralize the terrors of war, since it was fantastical and realistic. It primed soldiers to accept animation as comic, even with the insidious propaganda.