Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This 48-minute cautionary documentary was the brainchild of Theodore S. Geisel, better known to generations of children as Dr. Seuss. An expert on Oriental history, Geisel and his wife Helen hoped to steer audiences clear of war by underlining the unheeded warning signs of WWII. Utilizing captured Japanese newsreel footage, the film theorizes that future wars can be averted by keeping power-hungry, nationalistic "racketeers" in check. In addition to Geisel himself, the film was narrated by Kent Smith, representing the Typical American, and by Hans Conried, as the personification of Japanese Militarism. Design for Death won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
anti-war, future, nationalism, war, warning