Turning Bacon Fat Into Bombs

A 1942 Disney cartoon explains how keeping your kitchen grease can help win the war.

In the age of cyber warfare and remote drone strikes, it seems impossible to imagine the United States supplementing weapons production with kitchen grease. But in 1942, the War Production Board implemented a campaign that asked all “housewives” to do their part by collecting unused waste fats that could in turn be converted into explosives. 

In this short cartoon from 1942, the government and Walt Disney Pictures team up with Minnie, Mickey and Pluto to explain the importance of saving your excess kitchen waste. According to the film, in the years preceding 1942 Americans collectively threw out 2 billion pounds of kitchen fats — enough kitchen fats to create a machine gun belt that could loop the globe six-times over. 

The bizzare film was actually part of an ongoing series. During the 1940’s, Disney partnered with the government to make several wartime propaganda films including Commando Duck, Education for Death: The Making of a Nazi, and Der Fuehrer’s Face, which stars Donald Duck as a disillusioned Nazi.

For more from the Prelinger Archives, visit their site.

Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.

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