Why Was The Wizard of Oz So Popular During World War 2?

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most famous movies in history. It was popular among both children and adults, and soon it became an event for Americans. Frank Baum wrote this novel before World War II, but nobody thought of its hidden message. For many years, people remembered this as a children’s storybook, but perspective changed after some years.

Now you must be thinking, why was the Wizard of Oz so popular during World War II? Why do people still remember this movie? We’ll discuss the facts behind it in detail and the reason for its popularity.

Characters of the Wizard of Oz

Characters of the Wizard of Oz

The main characters of the Wizard of Oz were Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman, Toto, The Cowardly Lion, and The Witches. These characters revolve around power and powerlessness. The good adults were portrayed as powerless. The uncle and aunt were unable to protect their farms and family. Another theme was about the men’s illusory power and women’s real power. These themes were the reactions of the Great Depression and male dominance in society. Anyhow, each character wanted something in life:

Dorothy: She wanted a place where she could be safe from troubles. Her aunt once said, “Go find a place where you won’t get any trouble.” And she knew that the roots were important. She lived where no one wanted to play with her; she had no friends and no goals. And then Dorothy found a new home, new friends, and plans.

The Scarecrow: He was looking for a brain because he didn’t find himself intelligent.

The Tin Woodman: He discovered he wanted a heart and marry the girl he once loved.

The Cowardly Lion: He discovered he was looking for courage and wanted to become the king of beasts

The Bad Witch: She portrayed the evil existing in our societies.

Everyone has a different perspective of this movie, but nobody can deny the message it gives. Let’s talk about the author now.

Frank Baum

Frank Baum

Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a children’s novel, was published in 1900, and the live-action film on it came out in 1939. But there was a hidden political message in Frank Baum’s book because later historians found several symbols in it.

The main message in the book is all about the rise of populism and debate over gold and silver. In the Late 19th century, workers and farmers asked for an increase in releasing unlimited silver coins to circulate more currency and income tax reforms. They demanded a direct election of senators and a better place for industrial workers and farmers to strengthen democracy and the economy. It might sound fetched, but there is a lot of evidence to support the theory that Frank was writing a political metaphor through a children’s tale.

Frank was a political reporter, so he knew the rise of populist movements and views of farmers. This secret message was decoded in 1964 by Henry Littlefield.

Henry Littlefield

In the summer of 1963, Henry Littlefield changed how the world looked at The Wizard of Oz. He was an American history teacher who always wanted to keep his class interested in social and economic issues. One night, he was reading the book to his daughters, which was when he realized that there was a message behind this story.

This book had published at the height of the Gilded Age. No one had seen these connections, but that didn’t discourage Littlefield. His class learned about The Gilded Age by using The Wizard of Oz, and soon he and his students found more connections.

Some Hidden Facts about the Wizard of Oz

Some Hidden Facts about the Wizard of Oz

In 1890, the US had recovered from Civil War and integrated vast new territories, bringing the era of prosperity. While the finance and industry in the North and East prospered, the farmers across the South and Middle-West struggled. After that, a populist movement started against urban elites by farmers and industry workers. By 1896, this movement had grown to the People’s Party.

In the 1890s, industrial workers and farmers wanted to add silver to the gold standard to circulate more money and make it easier to borrow. In the book, Dorothy walked to Emerald city on the yellow brick road in her silver shoes. The yellow brick road represents gold, a dangerous path, while the emerald city is an influential political symbol. The Scarecrow fell on the road again and again, but Dorothy succeeded due to silver shoes.

Littlefield claimed that Dorothy is a typical American girl whose hard life in Kansas was turned upside down by powerful forces out of her control. The munchkins in the movie are the ordinary people oppressed by the wicked witch of the west. The Scarecrow is the farmer, considered naïve but quite resourceful.

The Tin Woodman is a factory worker dehumanized by industry labor, and the Lion is Williams Jennings Bryan. He could be an influential figure only if he were brave enough to adopt the Populist revolutionary program. They all traveled along a yellow brick road towards Emerald City.

Littlefield published these observations in an essay. His claim that this fantasy was a provocative critique of American capitalism appealed to many people in 1960. Many scholars took up the theme; the analogies and connections multiplied. They suggested the dog in the Wizard of Oz represented the teetotalers of the Prohibition Party. Oz was the abbreviation for ounces, a basic unit in the silver debate.

The Wizard of Oz and World War II

These were some of the hidden facts about the Wizard of Oz movie, but there is another observation as well. The Wizard of Oz was released during World War II, and its connection to the event was pretty obvious. There are many symbols in the movie that represent the Nazis. The Evil Witch of the West had eagles in her palace, which was the symbol of the Nazi party of Germany.

This film shows how powerful forces grab the rights of poor people, tease them, and snatch their livelihood. And if you want to change the rules, you have to face the troubles. They will tease you by using every force and make you think about your life. Anyhow, it is the best movie of its time with the perfect songs, cast, and direction.

Conclusion

By 1980, many people accepted the book’s understanding, and several historians started to mention 19th-century politics in their books. But is this theory correct? Baum claimed the book is just a children’s story and nothing else. However, several people think it was a new beginning of shiny America which means they considered it a conspiracy theory.

What do you think about this movie? Do you believe in the hidden message of the Wizard of Oz?