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The Spirit of '43 is a wartime cartoon created in 1942 and released in January 1943. The film stars Donald Duck, and arguably contains the first appearance of the character Scrooge McDuck (or a reasonable facsimile), although Scrooge is not named in the film. It is a sequel to The New Spirit. The purpose of the film is to encourage patriotic Americans to file and pay their income taxes faithfully in order to help the war effort. The repeated theme in the film is "Taxes...To Defeat the Axis."

The film, along with Der Fuehrer's Face and others like it, was released on DVD by Disney in 2004. The film was also made available on several gray market videos due to it being in the public domain.

Plot

In the film, Donald Duck is portrayed as an everyman who has just received his weekly pay. He is met by two physical manifestations of his personality — the classic "good angel on one shoulder, bad devil on the other shoulder" dilemma common to cartoons of the time — identified as the "thrifty saver" and the "spendthrift."

The "good duck" appears as a slightly elderly duck with a Scottish accent who wears a kilt and Scottish cap and urges Donald to be thrifty with his money so he can be sure to pay his taxes for the war effort. The "bad duck" appears as a zoot suit-wearing hipster who urges Donald to spend his duly earned money on idle pleasures such as "good dates". The good angel reminds of other "dates" - the dates when his taxes are due. (In the 1940s, income taxes were paid directly by workers every three months and not directly removed from employee paychecks as is done today.) The narrator explains that Americans should "gladly and proudly" pay their income taxes which are higher that year "thanks to Hitler and Hirohito."

A tug-of-war ensues between "spend" and "save" with Donald caught in the middle. Eventually the two sides give way and crash on opposite ends of Donald to reveal the "true" selves: the doors of the bad duck's club are revealed to be swastikas and the bad duck himself turns out to bear a resemblance to Hitler (his bow tie is now a swastika and he has grown Hitler's characteristic mustache), while the wall the good duck has crashed up against resembles the flag of the United States. The narrator then asks the audience if they are going to "spend for the Axis" or "save for taxes". Having made the seemingly obvious choice, Donald is assumed to shake hands with the bad duck, but it is revealed that he heads over to the bad duck to punch him out at the last second. He then goes to proudly pay his taxes with the good duck.

The second part of the film is a montage entirely recycled from The New Spirit, showing how the taxes are being used to make planes, bombs, ships, and other war materials. It then shows them being used against Axis forces, along with the repeated slogan "Taxes...to (bury, sink, etc.) the Axis", accompanied by the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (the "V for Victory" theme).

Characters

Voice Cast

  • Clarence Nash - Donald Duck
  • Unknown - Narrator, Donald's Consciences

Home video releases

DVD

Gallery

v - e - d
Donald Duck Logo 2
1930s
Donald and PlutoDon DonaldModern InventionsDonald's OstrichSelf ControlDonald's Better SelfDonald's NephewsGood ScoutsDonald's Golf GameDonald's Lucky DayThe Hockey ChampDonald's Cousin GusBeach PicnicSea ScoutsDonald's PenguinThe Autograph HoundOfficer DuckThe Fox Hunt (co-starring Goofy) • Polar Trappers (co-starring Goofy)
1940s
The RiveterDonald's Dog LaundryMr. Duck Steps OutPut-Put TroublesDonald's VacationThe Volunteer WorkerWindow CleanersThe Fire ChiefTimberThe Golden EggsA Good Time for a DimeEarly to BedTruant Officer DonaldOld MacDonald DuckDonald's CameraChef DonaldDonald's Snow FightDonald Gets DraftedDonald's GardenDonald's Gold MineThe Vanishing PrivateThe Village SmithySky TrooperBellboy DonaldDer Fuehrer's FaceThe Spirit of '43Donald's Tire TroubleLake TiticacaAquarela do BrazilThe Flying JalopyFall Out-Fall InThe Old Army GameHome DefenseTrombone TroubleDonald Duck and the GorillaContrary CondorCommando DuckThe Plastics InventorDonald's Off DayThe Clock WatcherThe Eyes Have ItDonald's CrimeDuck PimplesCured DuckOld SequoiaDonald's Double TroubleWet PaintDumbell of the YukonLighthouse KeepingStraight ShootersSleepy Time DonaldClown of the JungleDonald's DilemmaBootle BeetleWide Open SpacesChip an' DaleDrip Dippy DonaldDaddy DuckDonald's Dream VoiceThe Trial of Donald DuckInferior DecoratorSoup's OnThree for BreakfastTea for Two HundredDonald's Happy BirthdaySea SaltsWinter StorageHoney HarvesterAll in a NutshellThe Greener YardSlide, Donald, SlideToy TinkersBillposters (co-starring Goofy) • No Sail (co-starring Goofy) • Frank Duck Brings 'em Back Alive (co-starring Goofy) • Crazy with the Heat (co-starring Goofy)
1950s
Lion AroundCrazy Over DaisyTrailer HornHook, Lion and SinkerBee at the BeachOut on a LimbDude DuckCorn ChipsTest Pilot DonaldLucky NumberOut of ScaleBee on GuardDonald ApplecoreLet's Stick TogetherUncle Donald's AntsTrick or TreatDon's Fountain of YouthThe New NeighborRugged BearWorking for PeanutsCanvas Back DuckSpare the RodDonald's DiaryDragon AroundGrin and Bear ItThe Flying SquirrelGrand CanyonscopeNo HuntingBearly AsleepBeezy BearUp a TreeChips Ahoy
1960s
The Litterbug
Educational Shorts
How to Have an Accident in the HomeHow to Have an Accident at WorkDonald in Mathmagic LandDonald and the WheelSteel and AmericaDonald's Fire Survival PlanFamily Planning
See Also
DuckTales (1987 series)Donald's Quack AttackQuack PackPomp and CircumstanceDuckTales (2017 series)
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