Peace on Earth, and Good Will to Men (short films)

Peace on Earth is a “one-reel 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon short directed by Hugh Harman, about a post-apocalyptic world populated only by animals.” It is an anti-WWI protest film, that was nominated for an Oscar, and may have been considered for a Nobel Peace prize nomination.

Mel Blanc does the voice of the grandfather squirrel. On Christmas he greets his grand-squirrels with a cheery “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men!,” and the curious children ask him, “What are men?” The grandfather explains:

Grandpa Squirrel: Good will to men, yes, good will to men.

Baby Squirrel 1: What are men, Grandpa?

Baby Squirrel 2: Yeah, Grandpa, what are men?

Grandpa Squirrel: Huh? What’s that?… Well there ain’t no men in the world no more, sonnys… nope, no more men. But as I remember the critters, well they was like monsters. They wore these big metal pots on their heads. They walked on their hind legs, and they carried terrible-looking shootin’ irons with knives in the end of them. Their eyes gleamed, and they had these tremendous big snoots, like this, that curled down and fastened down to their stomachs.

Baby Squirrel 1: Gee! I’m glad there ain’t no more men around.

Baby Squirrel 2: Me too.

Grandpa Squirrel: It was awful. It was terrible. Why, they fought and they fought and they fought, until… until there was only two of them left.
[each soldier shoots the other and goes down]

Grandpa Squirrel: And that was the end of the last man on Earth.

Peace on Earth was remade into Good Will to Men in 1955. Good Will to Men features a group of young mice attending a service led by an old and wise mouse, in the ruins of a church. This time, when the children ask about ‘men,’ the old mouse bluntly replies, “Well, they didn’t practice what they preached.” He explains that men killed each other off by using ever and ever more sophisticated war technology.

Related:

Historian Adam Hochschild: Lessons for the Antiwar Movement from the Pacifists of World War I

posted by Crane-Station

8 Responses to Peace on Earth, and Good Will to Men (short films)

  1. jc says:

    Peace is more elusive than we think. Author C. David Coates wrote an eye opening poem which, like a mirror, exposes us to truths we may not wish to see. Here is a slightly modified version of that poem.

    “Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and then plead for ‘Peace on Earth.'”

    The good news is that anyone can break this cycle of violence. I did and you can too. Each of us has the power to choose compassion. Please visit these websites to align your core values with life affirming choices: http://veganvideo.org & http://tryveg.com

  2. MDH says:

    All Quiet on the Western Front should be required reading in our schools. The 1930 film is, IMO, brilliant.

  3. stan says:

    If the truth be told, after the big one, the earth will be lucky to support uni-cellular organisms, and considering the beastial nature of homo sapiens sapiens would we want to see the human beast return to destroy the earth again?

    • OMG!!! What a wonderful surprise, welcome!

      LOL, brings back fond memories, wow. BTW, awesome to hear Maggie Magoo updates, more please!

    • stan says:

      Diminutive aside: For the sake of clarification I consider myself an optimistic cynic: I am optimistic that my cynicism is 100% on target, but then again on occasion I have found my cynicism to be far too mild for the chronically mendacious mindset of the evolutionary aberration called mankind.
      But then again, on the optimistic side, only through the evolutionary process of natural selection and after millions of years of ducks sinking after they landed on water, did evolution perfect the anal sphincter.
      So, anything is possible.
      And sphincters don’t lie unless you are in the prone possession.
      Does that mean there is hope for us to actually become a gift to this small orb?
      Probably not, but we should keep sphincters in mind to temper our cynicism.
      Stan

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