1942 Donald Duck cartoon funded by the US Treasury exhorts you file your tax-return

Here's a great 19412 Donald Duck toon funded by the Treasury, explaining to war-torn America why they need to all file their taxes to defeat tyranny.

Help Donald Duck File His 1941 Federal Tax Return


  1. The cartoon actually looks to be from 1942 (MCMXLII). America wasn’t very war-torn in 1941, except for a few weeks in December.

    It definitely makes me feel like paying my taxes though.

    1.  The cartoon has Donald filing his 1941 taxes, and mentions the attack on Pearl Harbor, so the project likely started shortly after the attack, and would have been shown before April 15, 1942.

      1. Exactly, thanks for helping to make my point – except that the filing deadline was March 15th from 1918 to 1954.  This cartoon was made before the income tax withholding system was implemented in the US, so the government had to work a little harder to get money out of people. Within a year withholding was put into place as a wartime provision, but was never lifted.

        The cartoon itself is clearly dated 1942, so the rest is academic.

  2. Ah, those were the days.  Certainly blatant propaganda, but still refreshingly honest about it all.  (U-boats sported fangs, didn’t they?) I mean, if you wanted to defeat the Axis, and you figured the best way to do so was by the employment of “guns, guns, all kinds of guns,” then paying one’s taxes was the way to do it.

    Of course, my man the Duck has a pretty sweet rate.  $13 on a $1700 adjusted income comes out to a 0.8% rate.

    No doubt Grover Norquist would decry such pillaging of Donald Duck’s hard-won assets as arrant confiscatory socialism.

  3. I had this on VHS when I was a kid with some Woody the Woodpecker and others.
    I’ve been looking for it for ages to show my mates the hilarious propaganda.
    Thanks heaps for posting it.

    1. I don’t know ironic… a lot of people were during pre-war time, without any sinister reasons (as far as I have understood). Now… post-war sympathisers…

  4. Apparently he didn’t work for his Uncle during 1941, or he wouldn’t have made more than 624 $.

  5. Disney studios shut down commercial production and went to work for the government in WWII, providing many training films and some propaganda cartoons. There is a great Disney DVD set, “On The Front Lines: The War Years”, that includes titles like “Cleanliness Brings Health” and “Planning For Good Eating”. It also includes the justly famous “Victory Through Air Power”.

  6. Federal income tax evasion was easy and extremely popular prior to 1943, the year after Disney released this propaganda film to ease the discontent at the federal government establishing automatic income tax withholding in 1943.

  7. In 1942, taxes were so high they even taxed wild animals who couldn’t afford a single pair of pants or speech therapy.


    My grandparents has this as part of a collection of Donald Duck cartoons, and the propaganda totally worked on 10 year old me.

  9. The voiceover states that our very shores were attacked yet the map shown in the beginning omits those shores.  Either they counted Hawaii as part of the USA back then or they didn’t; you can’t have it both ways.

    1. Propaganda films starring un-pantsed waterfowl are allowed to take what one might call “artistic license”, I think.  Besides, Hawaii became a state well after the war, should they have included all territories at the time?

  10. As always, the middle and lower class providing the war effort with their sons to fight the battles, and taxes to keep the factories running.

    Meanwhile the owners of the factories, the same owners who used to sympathize with the same Axis leaders they were now fighting with, well they um… you see, ah… they provided the cartoons?

    There’s no business like war business.

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