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In 1943, the U.S. War Department produced a 17-minute educational short titled “Don’t Be a Sucker.” The film portrays the rise of Nazism in Germany and alerts Americans against repeating the mistakes of intolerance made by the Nazis. It stresses that Americans will lose their country if they let themselves be turned into "suckers" by fanaticism and hatred. The film was produced to make the case for the desegregation of the United States armed forces by revealing the connection between prejudice and fascism.

The film became “viral” on YouTube after the events at Charlottesville, Va., because it teaches how to recognize and reject the propaganda used by the Nazis to promote to bigotry and intimidation. It shows how prejudice can be used to divide a nation to gain power but how such tactics can be neutralized by friendly persuasion and that protection of liberty is a unifying and practical way to live peacefully.


This work was originally published in The Edwardsville Intelligencer.



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