Provide an analysis of Dr. Seuss's World War II cartoons.

During World War II, Dr. Seuss produced propaganda cartoons for a New York newspaper. These cartoons demonized Hitler and Emperor Hirohito and criticized Americans who believed in non-intervention.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Many of Dr. Seuss's World War II cartoons stoked Americans' fear of Adolf Hitler and Emperor Hirohito, the leaders of Germany and Japan respectively. In one of his cartoons, Dr. Seuss depicted the two leaders' faces (looking very self-satisfied) carved into the side of Mount Rushmore, with "Liberators of America" inscribed into the rock face. Above the cartoon is written, "Don't Let Them Carve THOSE Faces on Our Mountains!" and in the background of the cartoon there is a Nazi swastika flag raised on a pole, above an American flag. Mount Rushmore is famous as a memorial to four of America's greatest presidents, so to see the faces of those presidents replaced by the faces of Hitler and Hirohito would of course have created alarm, outrage, and fear. The point of the cartoon was to make the readers imagine a possible future in which the Nazis won the war and thus inspire those same readers to fight all the more aggressively to ensure that that future never happened.

In several of his cartoons, Dr. Seuss criticizes Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh was a famous American aviator and military officer who believed in and campaigned for a policy of non-intervention. He, like many other Americans, did not want America to get involved in World War II. Dr. Seuss uses Lindbergh in his cartoons as a figurehead for American non-interventionists. In one of the cartoons, Lindbergh is depicted on top of a steaming pile of garbage, using a shovel to spread the garbage through the streets of America. The garbage is in a truck with "NAZI ANTI-SEMITE STINK WAGON" written across its side. The implication of this cartoon is that by advocating a non-interventionist policy, Lindbergh, and by extension all non-interventionists, were essentially helping Hitler and the Nazis to spread their vile anti-Semitic propaganda. In other words, by not wanting to fight against Hitler, non-interventionists were, according to Dr. Seuss, effectively fighting for Hitler.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial