Victory Through Air Power (1943)


Introduction

Victory Through Air Power is a 1943 American Technicolor animated documentary feature film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists on 17 July 1943. It is based on the 1942 book Victory Through Air Power by Alexander P. de Seversky.

Outline

An animated documentary promoting of the soundness of strategic aerial bombing in World War II.

Documentary Inspiration

Victory Through Air Power is a 1942 non-fiction book by Alexander P. de Seversky.

De Seversky began his military life at a young age. After serving in the Imperial Russian Navy, he received high honors and was the ace in the Navy after engaging in over 57 aerial combats. After coming to the United States, he created the Seversky Aircraft company before being forced out of the presidency of his own company in 1939.

Seversky published Victory Through Air Power in 1942, and explained his theories of aviation and long-range bombing as influenced by General Billy Mitchell. Seversky argued that:

  1. “The rapid expansion of the range and striking power of military aviation makes it certain that the United States will be as exposed to destruction from the air, within a predictable period, as are the British Isles today;”
  2. Those who deny this possibility are exhibiting something like a “Maginot line mentality”;
  3. The US must begin preparing immediately for “an interhemispheric war direct across oceans”; and
  4. The US must become the dominant air-power nation, “even as England in its prime was the dominant sea-power nation of the world.”

Trivia

  • De Seversky appeared in the film, an unusual departure from the Disney animated feature films of the time.
  • Popular filmmaker Walt Disney read Victory through Air Power and felt that its message was so important that he personally financed the animated production of the book.
  • The film was primarily created to express Seversky’s theories to government officials and the public.
  • Movie critic Richard Schickel says that Disney “pushed the film out in a hurry, even setting aside his distrust of limited animation under the impulses of urgency” (the only obvious use of limited animation, however, is in diagrammatic illustrations of Seversky’s talking points. These illustrations featured continuous flowing streams of iconic aircraft, forming bridges or shields, and munitions flowing along assembly lines).
  • It was not until 1945 Disney was able to pay off his $1.2 million war film deficit.
  • After Disney’s main distributor at the time RKO Radio Pictures refused to release the film in theaters, Walt decided to have United Artists (the distributor of many of his shorts between 1932 and 1937) release it instead, making it the first and only Disney animated feature to be released by a different movie studio.

Production & Filming Details

  • Directors (Animated Sequences): James Algar, Clyde Geronimi, and Jack Kinney.
  • Director (de Seversky scenes): H.C. Potter.
  • Producer: Walt Disney.
  • Narrator: Art Baker.
  • Music: Edward H. Plumb, Paul J. Smith, and Oliver Wallace.
  • Cinematography: Ray Rennahan.
  • Editor: Jack Dennis.
  • Production: Walt Disney Productions.
  • Distributor: United Artists.
  • Release Date: 17 July 1943.
  • Running Time: 70 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

YouTube Link

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