The Start of His Career
He began submitting articles to Life, Vanity Fair and other magazines. He drew advertising for NBC, General Electric and other companies, including Flit insecticide. His catchphrase “Quick, Henry, the Flit!" became immensely popular throughout the country. It was the “Got Milk" of his day.
In 1935, he drew a comic strip about a traveler named Hejji, but it was cancelled after three months. The strip featured goats joined at the beard, which would reoccur in his only feature film The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. His energetic elephants are precursors of Horton.
In 1937, after more than twenty rejections, Geisel published his first children's book: And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street. He wrote four more books before the start of World War II, including Horton Hatches the Egg.
After the start of the war, Geisel turned his attention to propaganda. He published 400 political cartoons in two years for PM, a New York daily newspaper. He was highly critical of Hitler, Mussolini and non-interventionists. Americans who chose to stay out of the war swirling around them, including Charles Lindberg, he depicted as ostriches with their heads in the sand.
He supported the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war and was quoted:
But right now, when the Japs are planting their hatchets in our skulls, it seems like a hell of a time for us to smile and warble: "Brothers!" It is a rather flabby battle cry. If we want to win, we've got to kill Japs, whether it depresses John Haynes Holmes or not. We can get palsy-walsy afterward with those that are left.
His cartoons and views from this era are compiled in the book Dr. Seuss Goes to War.
In 1943, he joined the army. He became Commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit. He produced training films such as Our Job in Japan and the Private Snafu series.