Dr. Seuss ‘s Military Connection
Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, an author of children’s books such as “The Cat In The Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” joined the Army in 1943 in a role that most people probably didn’t know existed. He served as the commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces.
Geisel’s contributions included designing illustrations and posters for the U.S. Treasury and other agencies to bring attention to in the war effort by promoting the purchase of war bonds and the rationing of goods needed by soldiers overseas. He eventually worked on marketing enlistment posters for the Department of Defense.
He also made training and propaganda videos starring a character that he created known as Private Snafu.
Geisel’s Private Snafu cartoons were black-and-white training and education films. Snafu was taken from the acronym, SNAFU- “Situation Normal: All F****d Up.” The character was voiced by Mel Blanc, who was the original voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, and many, many others.
Private Snafu did everything wrong in order to demonstrate to the troops what they were expected to do. The cartoon series was rated higher than any other training tools. The Private Snafu series was intended to help troops who lacked the ability to read and understand basic military protocol.
Geisel also created “Your Job in Germany,” a 1945 propaganda film on the role of peace in Europe after World War II, and “Our Job in Japan.” One of the films he created for the Army, “Hitler Lives,” won him an Academy Award.
Geisel was awarded the Legion of Merit for his contributions to the war efforts as a cartoonist, scriptwriter, and filmmaker.
After the war, Geisel wrote the script for “Gerald McBoing-Boing,” a Technicolor short by United Productions of America / Columbia, which won the 1951 Oscar for Best Cartoon Short.
Geisel went on to become the infamous Dr. Seuss and died in 1991. He wrote more than 60 books that have sold over millions and millions of copies including “The Cat In The Hat”. His contributions to our nation have made him an enduring part of American culture.