World War 2


The Comically Idiotic WWII Soldier You’ve Probably Never Heard of Before

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The Comically Idiotic WWII Soldier You’ve Probably Never Heard of Before

World War 2 was a place where valor and bravery mingled, but for one idiotic WWII soldier, it was a cautionary tale. Private Snafu was created by American animator Chuck Jones, best known for his work with Warner Brothers and MGM Studios. Today’s recap covers an idiotic WWII soldier you’ve never seen before.

A Cartoon for Soldiers

Idiotic WWII soldier
Despite the hallmarks of the animation itself, this is strictly a War Department production.

Before delving into more about this comically idiotic WWII soldier, it is important to note his purpose. Private Snafu wasn’t created for the sake of entertainment, but rather for instruction.

The Man of the Hour

Idiotic WWII soldier
Private Snafu was voiced by Mel Blanc, best known for his work as Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes.

Upon first watching this comically idiotic WWII soldier in action, you’ll be struck by the fanfare. The music itself calls to mind the popular animated shorts of the era, which were in full swing in the 1940s.


Idiotic WWII soldier
It is wild to think that a slapstick cartoon was the best method for conveying information during the Second World War.

The short that is the focus of today’s recap is directed by Friz Freleng, best known for his work with Warner Brothers. Despite its use as an educational tool, Private Snafu proved popular while instructing on multiple topics.


Idiotic WWII soldier
These are brisk and fast shorts, with most running just shy of five minutes in length.

As you would expect from any theatrical short, the pacing here is quick and brisk. This comically idiotic WWII soldier is going to get into trouble in under five minutes with a full resolution at the end.

Creators Attached

Idiotic WWII soldier
Dr. Seuss was hard at work writing war material and comics during the war.

The comically idiotic WWII soldier wouldn’t have legs without creators behind it. Scriptwriters included Theodor Geisel, Phil Eastman, and Munro Leaf. Mel Blanc provided the voices for the shorts. Directors are a who’s who of golden age animation.

For Military Eyes Only

Idiotic WWII soldier
I love how Snafu’s blabbing is clearly labeled as hot air.

Private Snafu shorts were classified material intended only for soldiers to watch. You can enjoy the comically idiotic WWII soldier at home thanks to the material being declassified now.

Why a Cartoon?

Private Snafu
That same zaniness you’d expect of someone like Friz Freleng is on full display here.

It might seem strange to communicate vital topics with an idiotic WWII soldier like Private Snafu. However, the United States military was adept at adapting to trends. Instructional materials would sometimes come in a format like a comic book for example.

Slapstick Abounds

Private Snafu
While bordering on absurd, the short does an effective job of showing how damaging rumors can be to morale.

Despite its status as instructional material, this golden age animation is at its very core. The subject matter itself is serious, but the depiction goes into farcical territory with the utmost ease.

In the History Books

Private Snafu
Private Snafu’s loose lips have unleashed utter chaos.

What makes this comically idiotic WWII soldier so fascinating is the history he presents. Private Snafu might have been produced for military purposes, but the creators of these shorts would go on to live their lives after the war. Notably, Theodor Geisel would become beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

Cameos and Nods

Private Snafu
That is one angry baloney loaf.

Given that most of the staff was ripped straight from Warner Brothers’ animation studios, this comically idiotic WWII soldier has some overlap. If you can find other shorts, you’ll find cameos by the likes of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. It makes for an interesting time capsule for ardent animation fans.

Does the Military Still Make Cartoons?

Private Snafu
Snafu fits the madcap antics you’d expect of any theatrical short.

Private Snafu isn’t likely to be seen by the modern soldier. Besides, what materials they use aren’t likely to be seen for decades given the classified nature of things.

Watch the Full Video

Private Snafu
I’m not entirely sure context would make this image better.

If you enjoyed this short recap, I highly urge you to watch this wonderful short here. While the war department had a massive task during the Second World War, it is interesting from a film historian’s perspective to take a look back.

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