Chargement de l'audio en cours


From WWII to the Cold War

Activity 1

From WWII to the Cold War

Group 1: An article

A Hero for a Good War

In March 1941, months before the United States would officially enter the Second World War, Adolf Hitler took a massive hit from American forces. The strike was orchestrated by two Jewish-Americans, and was witnessed by well over a million people. The event in question was not a military operation, nor was it strictly-speaking real, but it nonetheless helped shape the American perception of Hitler, Germany, and the war in Europe.

This historic meeting between Adolf Hitler and the fist of American heroism took the form of the publication of the first issue of Captain America from Timely Comics. The cover of issue one featured a star-spangled Captain America in a room full of Nazis, punching Hitler in the face hard enough to knock him over. At no point in the actual story does Cap actually encounter Hitler, much less punch him in the face, but this didn’t seem to be a problem to readers. This issue was wildly successful and sold over a million copies, securing Captain America’s existence as an American wartime staple before the war had even officially started for Americans.

Captain America #1 started a trend that would carry on past the war – the blurring of the line between fiction and reality when it comes to the major players of World War Two. [...] Literally, Hitler and the Nazi party were the villains Captain America was fighting in each issue of the comics, but figuratively, and more interestingly, Nazis are remembered as being something analogous to comic book villains. This phenomenon can be attributed, at least in part, to very successful indoctrination by way of propaganda, especially the propaganda directed at children, like comic books. By making the real-world major players of World War Two, especially America’s enemies, into fictional characters in a medium as easily consumed as comics, Captain America helped to mythologize the war and its participants.

When I say “mythologize”, I don’t simply mean that we remember the war as a narrative – people have a tendency to do that with most historical events. A narrative becomes a myth when public memory ascribes a morality to that narrative. American tradition remembers World War Two not as a multi-nation war fought between the Allies and the Axis, but rather as a moral conflict between Allied “good guys” and Axis “bad guys”.

A Hero for a Good War: Captain America and the Mythologization of World War Two, Ella Donnelly, 2015.

Group 2: A magazine cover

Cover of Captain America #1 Timely Comics, 1941

Group 3: A video

Voir les réponses

You are in charge of one document.

Workbook p. 29

Present your document. What is striking in it?

Pick out details about the historical context of your document. Go on the Internet to learn more about it.

What makes it a form of propaganda?

Useful vocabulary:
It was published (text) / released (video) in…

Let's talk this out!

Voir les réponses

Share your findings with your classmates and learn about the other documents.

What are the similarities and differences between your documents?

Why was it necessary at the time for comics to convey this message of propaganda? Do you think it was effective?

Do you like comic books? Why or why not?

Useful vocabulary: By this time, there was / were… The country was ravaged by… Comic books appeal to me ≠ I'm not a great fan of...


  • automatic rifle (n.)
  • issue /ˈɪˌʃuː/ (n.)
  • lively colours (n.)
  • shield / mask (n.)
  • soldiers (n.)
  • steretoypes (n.)
  • swastika /ˈswɒstɪkə/ (Nazi's emblem) (n.)
  • exaggerate (v.)
  • knock /ˈnɒk/ off (v.)
  • shoot (v.)

From French to English


La traduction de « toujours »

Exercices p. 87
  • Always (éternellement) : Comics have always been popular.
  • Still (encore) : He is still very popular.
  • Forever (pour toujours) : Captain America will embody democracy forever.

Toujours pas : not yet.

Grammar in progress


Exercices p. 86
Précis grammatical p. 268, 277 et 278

a. Observez les mots en gras dans le texte.

b. Classez-les dans ces catégories : verbe (1), nom (2), adjectif (3).

c. Traduisez-les. Que remarquez-vous ?

Let's learn!

Guessing game

Select four words and expressions from this double page and prepare a definition for each to make the class guess what it is.

Over to you!

Record a podcast

Let’s use what you have learnt in !

You’ve been asked to present a podcast about the propaganda messages in comic books.

Select a magazine cover and share your analysis of the message it conveys.
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