Some of the world’s favorite cartoon characters are veterans of World War II. When America entered the war at the end of 1941, Walt Disney, Looney Tunes, and other companies sent their casts to war.
Here are the wartime biographies of 7 characters who answered the call:
1. Donald Duck the Paratrooper
Donald Duck served in a number of ways. He was a soldier in World War II who tried to become a pilot but was tricked into becoming a paratrooper by a sergeant who didn’t like him. He was decorated for serving behind enemy lines in commando missions and destroying a Japanese base single-handedly.
Decades later in 1987, he returned to service as a sailor in the Navy, but there is little evidence of what he accomplished there. He gave up care of three of his nephews to enlist.
2. Daffy Duck
Donald wasn’t the only one slipping behind enemy lines to disrupt enemy activity. Daffy Duck destroyed Nazi infrastructure and assassinated enemy leaders, primarily through wacky hijinks like time bombs and wooden mallets.
In a particularly daring raid, Daffy flew into a rally of Nazi party members and struck Adolf Hitler on the head with a large hammer.
In World War II, the cartoon Superman hunted down saboteurs and other threats to Metropolis on the home front as well as assisted in war games to train troops.
In the comic book, Clark Kent attempted to enlist but received a medical deferment when he accidentally read the eye chart in the next room with his X-Ray vision. Despite being medically deferred Superman helped out on the war front from time to time, sinking battleships, steering bombs to targets, and tying cannon barrels into knots.
4. Private Pluto
Pluto was a military working dog before it was a thing. He served as an Army private who attempted to keep Army equipment safe from saboteurs and small rodents. He had trouble with the second mission, as the chipmunks Chip and Dale used Army howitzers to crack open acorns despite Pluto’s best efforts.
Pluto also served a short period with the Navy, guarding ship supplies from rats. Like the battle against Chip and Dale, this effort did not go well for Pluto.
5. Popeye the Sailor
America’s favorite sailor entered the Navy in 1941, but had previously served in the Coast Guard from 1937 to 1941. As a Navy sailor, Popeye processed incoming draftees, served as a boatswain’s mate, and even helped the Army perfect its tank program.
Unfortunately, Popeye did get in some trouble when he ran afoul of an uptight captain. Popeye later defeated an enemy fleet attacking the ship, and so was returned to normal duty. He was allowed to serve until 1978 when he returned to civilian life.
6. Bugs Bunny
Bugs single-handedly captured an island from the Japanese Imperial forces after he washed up on it, and later disrupted the Nazi headquarters. It isn’t clear though that he was in a military force or acting on official orders at the time.
He used a combination of direct assault and subterfuge to achieve his objectives.
7. Porky Pig the doughboy
Porky Pig, famous for his stutter and shyness, became an unlikely presenter of American propaganda after enlisting in the U.S. Army. He served primarily on the homefront, selling war bonds and explaining the newest and best military technology for the benefit of the American people.