Although during the time the book was written communism was not a prevalent issue, as communism grew in popularity during the 20th century people started to make connections between The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and communist views. The idea of the common people banding together and taking the place of the authority figures scared some American audiences. During the Cold War America thought that communism (i.e. the Soviet Union) was the enemy and their biggest fear was communism spreading to the U.S. Anything that even slightly resembled communist propaganda was banned in the U.S. However, in 1939 the book was made into a movie by director Victor Fleming and was hugely successful. I find this interesting because there is blatant communist propaganda throughout the film. From the shape of the yellow-brick-road to the portrayal of the Wizard of Oz, many elements of the movie reflect communist views.In both the movie and the book, Dorothy and her companions are common working class citizens that, by the end of the story, replace the previous establishment.The traits of courage, heart, and intelligence were portrayed as the core values of a good working-class citizen at a time when so many people were living in fear of good working class citizens who simply had a different view of what society should look like.Americans banned the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for many years because they did not want their youth to be “corrupted” by communism. However, one wonders why the movie was so popular while at the same time the book was being condemned. The movie was made at the start of World War II, when different media outlets were first being used as a means to convey propaganda to the public. At the time, America did not see the communism within the movie, but when you really think about the message that the movie is sending you cannot help but see at least one aspect of communist theory.
Baum, L. Frank, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New York: Dover, 1960.