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Western Animation / Herr Meets Hare

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You saw Hermann Göring standing there full of decorations, then all of a sudden a rabbit showed up and took all the decorations off, and stuff like that. And we didn't care for that.

German prison of war soldier Hans Goebler, reflecting on the fact that US troops showed this cartoon to their prisoners of war in 1945. Quoted from an interview, read in "Lone Star Stalag: German Prisoners of War at Camp Hearne", 2004, by Michael R. Xaters, Marl Long and William Dickens.

"Herr Meets Hare" is a 1945 Looney Tunes War Time Cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. It features Bugs Bunny outwitting Nazi figure Hermann Göring and meeting Adolf Hitler in a final showdown. This would also be the last wartime propaganda cartoon released by Warners' animation department. Only four months after its release, Nazi Germany surrendered. It was allegedly shown to German prisoners of war, who didn't like it.

Like most World War II propaganda cartoons, "Herr Meets Hare" was kept out of circulation after the war due to Values Dissonance and it being an Unintentional Period Piece, though Cartoon Network (who had initially banned it in 2001 from their "June Bugs" marathon that would have aired every Bugs Bunny cartoon ever made) aired this as part of their ToonHeads World War II special and it's released on the sixth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection with optional audio commentary by Greg Ford.

"Herr Meets Hare" provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The real Göring was dark-haired, but this cartoon depicts him as blond.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Hitler is a comedic relief character in this cartoon. Bugs also disguises himself as the infamous dictator (by way of some strategically-placed mud) to fool Göring and put him through a humorous Insignia Ripoff Ritual where he yells in gibberish faux-German.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: The only German characters present in the short are Herman Göring and Adolf Hitler, two of the highest-ranking men in Nazi Germany, and a Nazi hawk working for Göring.
  • Alliterative Title: "Herr Meets Hare".
  • America Won World War II:
    • "That American rabbit Bugsenheimer Bunny" easily outwits Hitler and Göring.
    • That Bugs disguises himself as Josef Stalin to scare the crap out of Hitler rather points to an aversion of the trope to some extent.
  • Brawnhilda: Bugs disguises himself as a Wagnerian voluptuous German woman. This scene would later be retooled and re-used again in What's Opera, Doc? (it helps that Michael Maltese wrote for both this cartoon and the latter). Even Göring is dressed in a similar Siegfried outfit as Elmer Fudd would in that cartoon. The main difference is in the design and the conclusion. In "Herr Meets Hare" Bugs just throws away his disguise after fooling Göring while in "What's Opera Doc?", Bugs' wig unknowingly falls off.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The hawk holds up signs to the audience to let us know what he is thinking. Bugs talks to the audience in the final scene.
  • Chest of Medals: Göring, as was the case in real life. Bugs, dressed up as Hitler, not only rips away all the medals on his chest, but also rips off his shirt and belt, which makes his pants drop down.
  • Disguised in Drag: Bugs dresses up as a Valkyrie to fool Göring.
  • Eye Pop: Göring's eyes do this when he spots Bugs in drag.
  • Fat Comic Relief: In an example very much overlapping with Fat Bastard and Fat Idiot, Göring is depicted as a bumbling twit and Bugs refers to him as "chubby", while the Walter Kronkite-esque radio host calls him "Fatso Göring".
  • Goofy Print Underwear: When Bugs removes Göring's belt as part of his Insignia Ripoff Ritual (while he's disguised as Hitler), his pants fall down, revealing Hermann to be wearing pink boxer shorts.
  • Gratuitous German: Occasionally we hear some actual German lines being spoken.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Parodied. Bugs, disguised as Hitler, not only rips away all the medals on Göring's chest, but also rips off his shirt and belt, which makes his pants drop down.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrating voice at the start of the cartoon is very sarcastic about the defeat of Germany.
  • Lost in Translation: When Göring orders his hawk to catch Bugs the bird doesn't seem to understand what he is saying and holds a sign to the audience, which reads "Evidently this guy is a foreigner."
  • National Stereotypes: All action takes place in the Black Forest in Germany. Göring goes hunting in lederhosen. When Bugs dresses up as Stalin we hear the Russian folk song "Song Of the Volga Boatmen" resound.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bugs' reaction when Göring tells him he's in Germany.
    Göring: Las Vegas?! Why, zere is no Las Vegas in Chermany!
    Bugs: Joimany?! YIPE!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Bugs finds out he's in Germany, he panics and tries to hightail it (unlike other shorts where he shows little concern about winding up in the wrong place).
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Bugs dresses up as a Brawn Hilda character, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin and fools Göring all three times.
  • Propaganda Machine: Being produced during the waning days of the European front in World War II, the cartoon depicts the Germans as villainous oafs who get outwitted by the American Bugs Bunny.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Music from Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus and "Wiener Blut", Jacques Offenbach's "Marine Hymn" from "Geneviève de Brabant", Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser and The Flying Dutchman are heard, as well as the Russian folk tune "The Song of the Volga Boatmen".
  • Pun-Based Title: "Herr Meets Hare".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: When this cartoon premiered in theaters Nazi Germany was inevitably going to lose the war, something the opening scenes already allude to. The fact that Bugs dressing up like Josef Stalin scares off Hitler and Göring refers to the fact that Stalin's troops had already reconquered most of Eastern Europe at this point and were heading for Berlin.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Göring kisses Bugs hand he says: "I kiss right in der Führer's face", a reference to Der Fuehrer's Face and the Spike Jones song that it's named after.
    • Bugs remark: "Does your tobacco taste different lately" is a nod to the advertising slogan of the "Sir Walter Raleigh" pipe tobacco manufactured by the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When Göring oogles over Bugs in drag the horns on his helmet grow erect.
  • Standard Snippet: "Oh du Lieber Augustin" and music by Richard Wagner from Tannhäuser are heard throughout most of the cartoon, which happened a lot in cartoons from that era targeting Germans, Nazis or Hitler. "A-Hunting We Will Go" plays when Göring is seen in his hunting outfit. "Song Of The Volga Boatmen" plays when Bugs is seen dressed up as Stalin.
  • Talking with Signs: The hawk holds a sign to the audience to let us know what he is thinking.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Göring is depicted as a bumbling fool and Hitler as a dimwitted simpleton, only slightly smarter, as shown as he barters with Goering over his new medal very much like a used car salesman ("Tell ya what I'm goink to do..."). Mind you, he still falls for Bugs' disguise as Stalin and flees.
  • Time Marches On: Even four months after its release the cartoon was already dated, as Hitler committed suicide, Göring was arrested and Nazi Germany surrendered.
  • Valkyries: Bugs, dressed up as Brünnhilde.
  • Wartime Cartoon: The only one from that era where Göring is a direct target throughout most of the picture as opposed to Hitler. He does show up in other cartoons from the 1940s, but usually in cameo roles.
  • While Rome Burns: Göring apparently has no qualms about going hunting while the Nazi war effort is in the middle of a catastrophic collapse.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Bugs dresses himself up as a woman to fool Göring.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Bugs says this after noticing he is in the wrong setting. In fact, this is the first cartoon to feature that line.