Set in the country of Moronika, three men plot to overthrow their king and appoint a dictator. Their choice is a paperhanger named Moe Hailstone. With Curly as his Field Marshal and Larry as his Minister of Propaganda, the boys take control of the country. The citizens are unhappy and drive Hailstone out of power.
This was followed by I'll Never Heil Again. Other Hollywood artists started attacking the Nazis in 1940: Charlie Chaplin did it with The Great Dictator and MGM did it with The Mortal Storm. But the Stooges did it first.
This film provides examples of:
- Adolf Hitlarious: Total nobody who rises to a position of power? Check. Tiny mustache? Check. Yelling in totally-not-German? Check. The only difference is that Moe Hailstone is a paperhanger instead of a failed art student. This was the Trope Codifier.
- Bilingual Bonus: Moe's Rousing Speech is full of Yiddish phrases and colorful insults that only fellow Yiddish speakers — the Jews — would get.
- Downer Ending: The short ends with the Stooges being eaten by lions (although they come back for the sequel... and they die in that film, too!)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The movie mentions the "Giva Dam", which itself breaks Section V of the Hays Code, and furthermore has a whole lot of cursing in Yiddish.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Moe takes Curly's "little red book". "Oh a bookkeeper!"
- Punny Name: The map and Mattie Herring, an expy of Mata Hari.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Several lines make references to current events, particularly the "Blitzkrieg" line.
- Reality Subtext: With the little moustache, Moe Howard looks eerily like Hitler. Moe's comedic persona in most Stooges shorts felt a lot like Hitler minus moustache plus pratfalls anyway, and the resemblance is used here (and in the sequel short) to great effect.
- This Is a Work of Fiction: Parodied; the film begins with the notice: "Any resemblance between the characters in this picture and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle".
- Those Wacky Nazis: Made at a time when mocking the Nazis was, at best, a risky business, this is the Ur-Example. Yes, the Three Stooges were the first people to mock Hitler on film. The best part is that all three are Jews, the dictator's self-proclaimed enemies.
- Villain Protagonist: Given that they're playing Nazis, the Stooges count in this short.
- Visual Pun: The Moronika symbol is a set of criss-crossing, swastika-like snakes.
- War for Fun and Profit: Mr. Ixnay, Mr. Amscray, and Mr. Onay all run a munitions factory that's going down the tubes due to peace times in Moronika. Their solution? They decide to start a war, the first step being to overthrow the king and appoint Moe as a dictator in his place.