Disney goes to war

During World War II, many Disney designs were used for squadron and unit patches, as well as nose art for aircraft.

It began in the pre-war days — 1939 to be exact — when the United States Navy asked Walt Disney to design a badge. Disney came up with a cartoon showing a wasp with boxing gloves. When the war began, Disney’s crew was put to work making training films for Uncle Sam. There were so many requests for badges and patch designs that Disney created a five-person team for the purpose of creating designs for the armed forces. Between 1939 and 1945, approximately 1,200 designs were created. Some used existing Disney characters, while others were original creations.One of the more famous designs created for the war effort was Fifinella, the female gremlin that became the mascot for the Women Airforce Service Pilots. The character was lifted from the animated movie Fantasia. The movie was in production when the war began.

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