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'''''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8OYvHPpGDY Peace on Earth]]''''' was a [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation 1939]] WesternAnimation/MGMOneshotCartoon, released while Europe was on the verge of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, directed by [[Creator/HarmanAndIsing Hugh Harman]]. {{Anvilicious}} in its anti-war message, this short illustrates the evils of warfare through the narration of a kindly old squirrel (Creator/MelBlanc), one of the only squirrels in his village [[AfterTheEnd old enough]] to have encountered [[HumansAreCthulhu humans]]. It was perhaps the first animated short by a major studio[[labelnote:*]] (Creator/WinsorMcCay's ''WesternAnimation/TheSinkingOfTheLusitania'' (1918) was almost certainly the earliest by any animator)[[/labelnote]] to deal with serious subject matter. Also a source of quite a bit of nightmares, especially for those caught off guard by the cute little squirrels in the opening scenes.

The short begins with a snowy panorama of the scattered relics of mankind's existence, over a chorus of "Peace on Earth" (to the tune of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"), which is revealed to be sung by [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter a trio of squirrels]] living in a village made of discarded war materials; the most prevailing image is that of soldiers' helmets used as houses. An old squirrel greets them with a "Merry Christmas" and goes to visit his daughter and her two young children. When the children ask what one of the lyrics to "Peace on Earth" (namely "goodwill to men") means, their grandfather begins to tell them all he remembers about men. We are then shown masterly {{Rotoscop|ing}}ed, nightmarish scenes of human soldiers going to war with one another, [[SillyReasonForWar fighting over anything they could think of fighting over]] until the last two humans alive shoot each other. With the humans all gone, the only ones left are the furry woodland creatures, who gather in the ruins of a cathedral, and find an old [[Literature/TheBible "book of rules"]], which the humans unfortunately didn't follow. The wise owl among them reads first a few of the ten commandments (ThouShaltNotKill, thou shalt not steal; "Looks like a mighty good book of rules.") and then a passage which states "Ye shall rebuild the old wastes."[[labelnote:†]] Isaiah 58:12 (KJV) – "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."[[/labelnote]] The animals consider that a very good idea, and decide to build a civilization for themselves out of the scattered débris left by mankind. The grandfather then puts his two sleeping grandchildren to bed, seemingly glad that with the humans gone, there is now peace on Earth.

In the 1950's, [[Creator/HannaBarbera William Hanna and Joe Barbera]] remade the cartoon as ''Good Will to Men'', updating the story with an anti-nuclear warfare message. Either way, the anti-war message is relevant.

According to Hugh Harman's obituary in the New York Times, and Ben Mankiewicz, host of Cartoon Alley, the cartoon was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, but this is most likely an urban legend that got exaggerated, as the cartoon is not listed in the official Nobel Prize nomination database.

According to one person who spoke to Hugh and Rudy at a 1980's convention, the duo were planning to make a ''feature-length'' remake of this short, but it never got off the ground.

!! This animated short contains examples of the following tropes:

* The50GreatestCartoons: #40
* AfterTheEnd: Well, the end of Man anyway. The surviving animals have taken over.
* ApocalypseHow: Class 3a (people go extinct from unnatural causes) to be precise, showing this trope is OlderThanTelevision in this ''specific'' case.
* ApocalypseWow: They go through a lot of effort showing ''how'' humans killed each other off.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: The title is derived from Luke 2:14 (in the King James translation) – "Glory to God in the highest; and on Earth, peace, good will toward men." The re-building passage read by the owl is based on Isaiah 56:4 (also KJV) – "And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations."
* CarnivoreConfusion: Wise Owl to curious squirrel:
-->"Thou shalt not kill! ...Looks like a mighty fine rule."
* ChristmasSpecial: Probably the scariest one ever.
* CockroachesWillRuleTheEarth: Made in 1939 (just before World War II would be set off), and is set after a war in which Humans have gone extinct, after fatal global war. As narrated by a kindly old squirrel (voiced by Creator/MelBlanc) to his grandchildren. The animals of the Earth build a new civilization following this self inflicted omnicide. This was also remade in 1955 as "Good Will to Men" and modified with an anti-nuclear warfare message.
* DisappearedDad: The father of the two squirrel children is nowhere to be seen.
* GasMaskMooks: Humans (see HumansAreCthulhu, below).
* GoshDangItToHeck: The grandfather, after sitting on a pin-cushion.
* GrotesqueCute: Downplayed. The adorable WoodlandCreatures build a colorful and happy little village...out of discarded soldier's helmets, shrapnel, and other debris.
* HumanitysWake: The woodland creatures pay homage to humans by keeping traditions like Christmas alive and living in towns made up of old soldier helmets.
* HumansAreCthulhu: The given description of humans, which is reminiscent of a World War I-style soldier wearing a gas mask.
-->"As I remember them, they were great big beasts with long snouts that went into their stomachs!"
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters:
-->"Gee, I'm sure glad there ain't no more men around!"
* KillAllHumans: Not that the critters wanted them to, y'know.
* MatchCut: When the grandfather begins to describe what men looked like, he stands up and imitates a soldier marching, while the scene dissolves from his shadow on the wall to a soldier marching toward the camera.
* MoodWhiplash: We go from seeing the last two humans on Earth shoot each other to a colorful scene of [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter cute little squirrels]] gleefully building themselves a little town in the span of a couple minutes, which somehow just makes the NightmareFuel worse.
* MouseWorld: Made out of abandoned helmets and weaponry (pan out on a lamppost reveals it to be a bayonet).
* MutualKill: The way the last two humans on Earth meet their death, each killed by the other's final shot.
* TheOwlKnowingOne: Apparently he's the only animal that learned how to read somewhere.
* TheRemake: The Creator/HannaBarbera team at MGM remade the short in 1955 (at the height of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar) as "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBRkJBHpQ-I Good Will to Men]]"; after the terrible carnage of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, its message was even more poignant. This version specifically addresses the postwar arms race and its escalation -- both sides using "the biggest bomb of all" at the same time resulted in two explosions that blanketed the entire planet, [[NukeEm wiping out humanity]]. Though the religious overtones were amped up a notch further in this version.
* ScavengedPunk: The village the squirrels live in.
* SillyReasonForWar: The warring factions eventually include [[MeatVersusVeggies meat-eaters fighting vegetarians]], and flat-footed people fighting buck-toothed people.
* SinisterSchnoz: Grandpa Squirrel mistakes the filter hose of the human's gas masks for "long snoots that... fastened onto their stomachs".
* SpaceWhaleAesop: If war is allowed to continue, humanity will end up driving themselves to extinction and then cutesy animals will become intelligent and reclaim the world as their own.
* SpiritualSuccessor: A short story by Creator/RayBradbury (and the 1984 Russian film of it) ''Literature/ThereWillComeSoftRains'' does the same thing, but with an automated house instead of furry critters.
* SugarApocalypse: {{Inverted}}. [[AfterTheEnd Amid the wreckage of a massive war that completely destroyed humanity]], a bunch of talking animals build a new civilization which is an outright SugarBowl.
* TitleDrop: "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing" is reworked into a less overtly religious song that does this (the phrase "peace on earth" is in the original hymn, but not in the same place).
* WarIsHell: And not only that, but the moral of the story seems to be that war is pointless and will eventually kill our species off.
* AWorldHalfFull: "Peace on Earth, yes indeed!"