The films shown on the left, Make Mine Freedom (1948) and Meet King Joe (1949), are examples of how educational films of the Cold War also functioned as propaganda works to ward children away from the dangers of communism, and establish America and capitalism as superior. The films most commonly knows for this type of information were a series of animated shorts created by Harding College in Arkansas. Make Mine Freedom and Meet King Joe were two of ten films in total,spearheaded by George Benson, the president of the university, due to his belief that film was the most effective method of influencing American children (Honsa 206).
The films were not subtle in their anti-communism effort, emphasizing America’s perceived “economic success, technological advancement, the joys of consumerism, and the love of country” (Honsa 203). Make Mine Freedom fulfills this goal by depicting an evil ideology called “ism,” taking away all rights of free people and establishing a totalitarian government that destroys the lives of all who live under it. Meet King Joe tells the story of laborer Joe who lives a life of luxury, able to do more with his wages than a worker in any other nation. Both films emphasize the privileges of living in America, pointing to statistics such as the plentitude of phones and refrigerators in the country in comparison to the rest of the world.
Films such as this were meant to teach children to see Americans as heroes, fighting for a just world and “progressive causes” (Jacobs, 27). The Harding College series was so popular that they were distributed by MGM in theaters and sent to the Navy, as well as screened in schools (Honsa 209). The films were even sent out with groups of students acting as spokespersons to explain the way themes in the films could be seen in the real world, furthering the anti-communism and pro-capitalism/American agenda (Honsa 209).