Victory Through Air Power (1943)

Directed by: Perce Pearce
Animated sequences: James Algar/Clyde Geronimi/Jack Kinney
de Seversky scenes: H.C. Potter

Written by: Story direction: Perce Pearce
Story adaptation: T. Hee/Erdman Penner/William Cottrell/James Brodero/George Stallings/Jose Rodriguez


This is a weird one. If Soludos Amigos is kinda propaganda, Victory Through Air Power is ABSOLUTELY propaganda. It was made specifically to show why we needed to make the Air Force stronger if we were ever going to win the war. Make more airplanes and defeat Hitler.

Of course, they were right. But did they need to get Disney to show us? That’s so weird. In fact, it’s so weird that I can’t really think of a good analogy for it. Maybe Spielberg making a film about how we need to make more guns in order to defeat ISIS? Maybe. I dunno. That doesn’t seem right. Maybe getting Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson to make a movie about Navy pilots to get kids to want to be Navy pilots? Oh…wait. That actually happened.

Anyway, the movie is based on a book by Russian aviator/airplane enthusiast Alexander P de Seversky. He had immigrated to the US 1918 soon after the Revolution. He spent the next couple of decades convincing the US government to build more airplanes and inventing things to help the cause.

After Pearl Harbor, he wrote Victory Through Air Power. Then the government commissioned Disney to make a film of it.

The first part of the film is great. It’s an animated history of aviation that uses humor and fun animation to tell the story from the Wright Brothers to the present day.

Then things get a little…slow. Seversky appears for the first time and starts to lecture the audience about how we can use air power to defeat the Axis forces. There’s still some animation (diagrams showing who things will happen), but it’s seriously mostly just Seversky talking. They really tried to make things interesting by having him move around the room so that he wasn’t just a boring ol’ talking head. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work. He’s just not particularly engaging and the subject matter was just not very interesting.

The movie is mainly interesting from a historical standpoint. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to people who aren’t suuuuuuuuper into Disney or World War II propaganda. If you want to see it, though, it’s not easy to find. It’s on the Walt Disney Treasures collection, On The Front Lines. Of course, those are all out of print, now.

Just in case you want to buy the set, for some reason: