Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Call To Arms: The Wizard of Oz & World War II

On the American Film Institute's Top 100 Films of All Time list (How To Become a Film Connoisseur) the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz comes in at #6. 1939 was a vintage year for film: Gone with the Wind, Stagecoach, Gunga Din, Intermezzo, Wuthering Heights, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dodge City, Destry Rides Again, The Women, and many, many more were all released in this one year. Why was there a bunker crop that year? In that year, the world fell to pieces with Germany's invasion of Poland and in two years, America would be at war with the world (the bombing of Pearl Harbor), and the anticipation of whether America would join, or how exactly we would enter the war, what life would become like when we were in and how long it would last, all offered fuel for the film industry to explore on the silver screen and The Wizard of Oz is one of the jewels from that year.
Note the storm clouds in the background. For "The End" title card, the clouds are still there, prophesying the "clouds of war" which were hanging over the world at the time of the film's release.
There are times when something gets dropped from a script but the repercussions of it is left so a key to understanding the whole story has been removed. The aspect of Toto chasing cats is what has left me unsure about understanding the story until I learned that, originally, there was a crush between Dorothy and Hunk. It is the heart's very nature to love and want to be loved, and so it is the utmost act of nature to find someone who fulfills the heart's desires, and for Dorothy, that's Hunk.
Dorothy also has a fear, and that fear is of becoming Miss Gulch, the old maid. But the truth is, this is exactly the situation in 1939: America, like Dorothy, is being courted by the prospect of world war, and the choice is clear, accept the courtship or become an old, ugly maid who “owns half the county” but doesn't share or do anything to help her neighbors. Based on the Christian principals this country was founded upon, but exploring how those principals would translate into a coherent policy of international diplomacy, The Wizard of Oz provided audiences and the world of politics with an understanding of what was happening, what would have to happen and how the war would be won and world order restored.
The opening shot is the most important: Dorothy is running, simultaneously, she's running away from Miss Gulch and towards home. This is the dusty road that's a far cry from the yellow brick road to come, but that's the point. Every road means a choice, it means choosing one thing and foregoing another. Toto getting into Miss Gulch's garden is the way Isolationists might have understood the choices open to them: don't share the bounty of American goods and supplies with the rest of the world. We know that Dorothy is on her way "home from school," and what would she have learned at school? That Herr Hitler wasn't going to settle for just a small part of Europe, he wanted the whole thing.
The most important aspect of Dorothy is the one never mentioned: she's an orphan. Auntie Em and Uncle Henry took Dorothy in, but we don't know what happened to her parents, and that's similar to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Why does Dorothy not have parents? It was called the American Revolutionary War, and when the rebellious colonies revolted against the mother land of England, we committed matricide. In a willing entry into World War I, it could be said, we committed patricide in killing the Founding Fathers by going against the Monroe Doctrine and getting involved in "foreign wars." Dorothy, in this sense, represents America "coming of age" to act on her own.
When Dorothy gets home to the farm, the incubator has broken and Auntie Em and Uncle Henry are worried about losing the chicks... they are counting the lives of American soldiers and the cost of going to war. As Dorothy relates what happened about Miss Gulch, we have a clear understanding of what the atmosphere is all about: Toto has chased Miss Gulch's cat through her garden and tried to bite her; she in turn tries to hit Toto with her broom. Miss Gulch, as I have said, is an old maid, and that's Dorothy's fear. Toto chasing the cat is a way of viewing courtship, the man as the dog and the woman as the cat, the garden being the garden of love, and someone as old and bitter as Miss Gulch wouldn't want that, but Dorothy is exploring (which was taken out but the symbols left in place) is Hunk's courting of her and Dorothy weighing the advantages of his attention. Toto symbolizes both Hunk--and Dorothy's coming of age to be married--and Europe--America's coming of age to either enter the "alliance" of war or wait for the war to come to America.
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Dorothy balancing on the fencing of the pig pen. The scene has important symbolic repercussions in the film for two reasons. Dorothy is at risk for "falling" into the "pig" pen: a fall is a fall from grace and the pig pen symbolizes her passions, so she has to be careful and be courageous in standing up to temptations. Politically, the "balancing act" is not only the balancing of President Roosevelt, with Congress, but of the world with Hitler, and the US falling into the pig pen would be seen as a power squabble on the world stage.
 What does Auntie Em tell Dorothy? 
Somewhere Over the Rainbow is simply one of the greatest songs ever written. To understand it, we first need to understand the symbol of the "rainbow": God gave us the rainbow as a promise that he would never again destroy humanity by the Flood or any other means. The rainbow is both a sign of war (God's wrath for mans sins) and a sign of peace (that he has put down his bow and will not raise it again). The other side of the rainbow, then, begins where God as vowed not to destroy mankind again and, in 1939, people were probably thinking of the horrors of world-wide destruction another "Great War" would bring this time around. When Dorothy sings, once I heard in a lullaby, she refers to the Bible story of the great Flood.
Note, please, that Toto is set in "the driver's seat," and that means that whatever it is Toto symbolizes--Hunk and romantic love or the driving force of the war in Europe--is going to be the determining factor in Dorothy's actions.
Another important note is this is the place where skies are blue and by the opening title card (pictured above) and the closing title card (pictured below) the skies aren't blue in Kansas, or anywhere else in the world, they are covered in the storm clouds of war. Where happy little blue birds fly invokes not only the Holy Spirit (the Spirit particularly chooses birds to symbolize Him), but particularly, the Spirit of Wisdom since blue is the color of the Wise.
The dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true. This might be the summary of the entire movie, of the entire moment that was 1939: destiny. Every person is created by God, and every person is created for a reason, and that "reason" we call "destiny." Without understanding what destiny is, and how it calls to us and how we long for it, we can't understand the film or our very own lives. The dreams that we dare to dream would best be illustrated by Joseph of the Old Testament who dreamed that his brothers fell down in respect of him, but how long did it take to happen? This is the Holy Spirit, who inspired Joseph to believe in Him by showing Joseph where the Spirit intended to lead him. It's a dare to dream those dreams because what God wants for us is infinitely better than what we want for ourselves; being our Creator, He knows what we are capable of when we ourselves don't, but these dreams will only come true when we are in the place where the Lord has lead us, in the Land of Promise, not the Land of Slavery.
This leads us to an important characteristic of The Wizard of Oz: black and white vs color.
Again, going back to Joseph of the Old Testament, the coat of many colors which his father gave him symbolizes the soul of many virtues which pre-figures Christ and the virtues he would teach us to have. The black and white parts which represent Dorothy's life in Kansas reflects the lack of virtue she has because of the lack of opportunity to gain greater virtue, which she acquires in Oz. As Pope Leo the Great said, "Without great battles, there are no great victories," and Oz is Dorothy's battleground as Europe was the battleground for the U.S.
And now enters Miss Gulch.
Her first name, Almira, in Arabic, means "princess," and a "gulch" is a narrow ravine through which a little water can go. Dorothy means "gift of God," and her last name, "Gale," is a gale of wind, such as the tornado which takes her to Oz. The difference between the two characters is, Almira Gulch was called to something great by God but she refused and has become someone small in whom Grace does not dwell (water is a symbol of Baptismal Grace) and that's why, as the Wicked Witch, she will melt: she didn't run the race of Christ she was supposed to, so what should have been a blessing to her (Grace) has now become a curse and destroys her (we'll discuss more on this later).  The "gift of God" which Dorothy receives is the tornado, and we'll talk about this more below. "Toto," of course, is Latin for "entirely," "altogether," so, as an extension of Dorothy, Dorothy herself gives her all to whatever it is she's giving herself to; if we take Toto to symbolize Hunk (romantic love in general) and the forces in Europe courting America to join in the upcoming war, it's going to be the country giving everything to the war effort.

Why does she ride a bicycle?
I hate to mention this, however, in an Art Nouveau class I once took, a friend of mine was researching ads and doing a paper on how bicycles were being marketed and sold; he brought to my attention the scandal of women riding bikes because of the potential for sexual stimulation and, for this reason, female cyclists were considered risque. By the 1930s, however, it is probably more a symbol of how miserly Miss Gulch is because she could be driving a car but would rather ride a bike, and personally, I wouldn't want to be in a conversation with her about the difference. Yet we have also discussed, in the past, how any vehicle (artistically) can symbolize the Holy Spirit because He Himself is a Vehicle for our life, so that the bicycle is old fashioned and, to put it bluntly, insufficient for traveling the distances she has to travel, translates that her unity with the Holy Spirit is insufficient.
An important attribute of Miss Gulch is her use of the "law."
Those who persecute under the law shall themselves be persecuted, but mercy is greater. When she insists that Toto be put down, she is illustrating why she is an old maid. If Toto symbolizes Hunk and romantic love, she is putting herself above whatever love demands and values herself more than she could value another person; if Toto is symbolizing the European forces courting of America to join the pending war, she's an Isolationist and wants America to become exactly what she is: an old maid. By not "entering into an alliance" America would become an old maid who never "gave herself" to a cause.
The reason it was so important for America to be willing to join the pending war was twofold: like Miss Gulch who "owned half the county," America had valuable resources that the Allies would need to sustain attacks against the Axel powers and, without the war, America wouldn't have gotten out of the Great Depression (or it would have at least taken significantly longer). Miss Gulch was the icon for the reasons to join in World War II when it started.
When Toto escapes and Dorothy decides to run away, she literally and symbolically crosses a bridge and what is the bridge over? A gulch. On one hand, Dorothy is "passing over" becoming like Miss Gulch and, simultaneously, "going to Europe" with Professor Marvel (going to war). Knowing how "unholy" Miss Gulch is, Auntie Em won't tell her what she thinks of her, but Dorothy will show her what she's become. When Dorothy sees Professor Marvel, there is one important detail that tells us who he symbolizes: the "crowned heads of Europe" painted on his wagon definitely lets us know that he is the President of the United States (Franklin Roosevelt).
As the President, Roosevelt both negotiated with and promised those getting ready to enter the European war of the position of the U.S.; that Professor Marvel wears a turban emphasizes his head, symbolic of knowledge and, specifically, knowledge of the future. We can say that he gets Dorothy back to Auntie Em with the idea of her having a heart attack, but truthfully, she is having a heart attack: it's America suffering from the Great Depression.
Professor Marvel at once symbolizes American leadership in the forthcoming war and his desire to keep America out of it. "One dog to another," he says when Toto helps himself to a bit of supper, and that foreshadows the "sharing of resources" which America would willingly give out during the war. Knowing, however, that America wasn't ready for the war (Dorothy's young age) Roosevelt kept us out and Professor Marvel sends her home, and what she finds at home is genuinely, her home.
"The Home" is always a great metaphor for the soul, because the body houses the soul the way a house shelters the body, so when Dorothy sees the tornado about to strike her home, that's the "gift of God" about to "take up into Himself" her own soul. As humans, we never like disasters, we like to be secure, comfortable, provided for and content yet none of these are the conditions for becoming great, and God calls us each to greatness. We have all had, at one time or another, a tornado come along and pick up our home and take us somewhere we didn't want to go but, without that tornado, Dorothy won't get to Oz, and without the second World War, America wouldn't become a superpower.
In this frame, the windows have come out and knocked Dorothy unconscious. Symbolically, Dorthy is being called upon to reflect deeper than she has ever before and she can't do that alone (this kind of self-awareness only comes with deep wisdom from the Holy Spirit) so, as in the mystical writings of the Song of Songs, Dorothy has been drawn up into the Lord so he can show her himself what her calling is.

The transformation which Dorothy witnesses of Miss Gulch into a witch terrifies her because that is the kind of deep wisdom she has never experienced before yet, simultaneously, it validates what she knew all along, and her deepest fear that she, too, could become a witch. Remember, Dorothy is in her bedroom: she could have been in the living room, or in the kitchen, she could have been outside, but the bedroom is the most intimate part of the house and symbolically, it represents the most intimate part of our soul. In choosing not to become Miss Gulch, Dorothy is now ready to "put on the new man" which she will discover when she opens the front door of her home...
It's important to have an image such as this, because it puts into emotions what words cannot: if we do not give ourselves to God, we stay like the house from Kansas; if we permit the Creator of our soul to do with it what he has always intended, he will turn it into the beautiful place that Oz is, a new Garden of Eden. The reason Dorothy arrives in Munchkin City is because the smallness of the Munchkins reflect her own faith, that of a child's. Like a child, it's the appetites to which faith appeals (the Lollipop Guild, for example and how pretty Munchkin City is) it's what we get from being Christians that Dorothy's thinking of right now, the way we might later be thinking of what we would get by winning the war in the Pacific against Japan.
There is another aspect to Munchkin City: the death of the witch.
The black and white stocking legs of the Wicked Witch of the East symbolizes the first World War which America fought. "I thought you said she was dead," "Oh, no, this is her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, and she's worse than the other one." And the second World War would be worse than the first, because of the advances in weapons and the Holocaust. In this context, you could say that Munchkin City symbolizes the Roaring 20's after that first war was done.
 And now the difficult part: "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" "Oh, begging your pardon, I'm not a witch at all." We often forget that demons are "angels," demons, in our thinking, are demons, they are not angels, only angels are angels, but this question, so de-contextualized for a little girl from Kansas reminds us of the nature of the spiritual battles which we have to fight. "Are you a good angel or a bad angel?" "I'm not an angel at all," but we know, at the Day of Judgment that we will be either condemned with the bad angels or lifted up with the good angels. And in terms of the world of politics, the question could be, "Are you an Allied Power or an Axis power?" "Are you for Democracy or for Nazism?" In 1939, everyone had to answer that question, and no one, not even Toto, could get out of answering it.
But importantly, it's the Ruby Slippers which must be saved (video here).
The feet symbolize the will, and red is the color of love. Dorothy was wearing plain black shoes prior to this, symbolizing that her will was dead, nothing was guiding her. Now, she has the Ruby Slippers, and they were taken from the Wicked Witch of the West, the first World War, the great cause which Americans rallied around and united for would be the Ruby Slippers for World War II as well. For Dorothy, she needs that great love to guide her as to the fulfillment of her destiny, and now, we arrive at the yellow brick road.
The question is, how to get back home to Kansas?
Only the Wizard knows, but Dorothy will never "get back home to Kansas" in the way that she means, because you can never go back, only forward. It is the same as the journey of the Israelites through the desert, going in search of their new home. But, as we said, the home is a symbol for the soul, and Dorothy is putting on "the new man" (which she does at the "beauty shop" in the Emerald City). Dorothy thinks she's looking for her home, but she really longs for her heavenly home, the place where the soul belongs, and that's what Glinda will teach her when she's ready to learn it. But the Yellow Brick Road is the road of destiny, the path of life and the unique journey we each have to make.
As Dorothy travels and she gets to the field where there is a four-way fork for the Yellow Brick Road, the question is, which way to go? It doesn't matter which way to go, all roads lead to Rome, all roads are viable options. The Lord already knows which road you are going to choose, and while each road is unique, it is also the only road that you could have chosen. This is the time when discernment is cultivated through prayer, and you learn how to distinguish the movements of the heart and the heart's desires to understanding where and how God is leading you; for a nation on the brink of war, there is rarely a choice that can be made, only choices that must be made.
Dorothy, going down her life's journey, is learning about what skills she has, her brains, her heart, her courage, things and virtues which we really don't consider as being gifts or talents, but which we cannot make it throughout life without them. But each one is lacking something, and that "lack" is made up for on the journey itself. Without brains, we wither like grass, like the Scarecrow; without a heart, we are hollow and empty, like the Tinman and, without courage to face our enemies with, we are like a lion afraid of his own tail; these translate onto the larger, national level as well, for without that terrible road of war we had to follow, we never would have realized who we were as Americans.
When the witch appears and threatens both Tinman and Scarecrow, she's atop a little house; this is the symbol of Dorothy's soul at this point in the journey, she's recovered from the crashing in Munchkin City (the house from Kansas) and it's not put back together. Note, also that the roof is green. The top of the house would symbolize her thinking, so she has hope that the Wizard will make things right, but the witch is up there, too, meaning, that Dorothy's thinking of the costs that this trip is making on her. But, they almost start to go back the way that they came, and that they turn around is the sign of their affirmation, they will continue on the road and not give in. As they enter deeper and deeper into the forest, the dark night of the soul, Dorothy finds what she's still missing: courage.
Besides the length of time that it takes to get to the Emerald City, there is the danger of temptation, and the poppies symbolize that. Her "Falling asleep" means that she has lost courage to fight the temptation and forget about what it is she's searching for. The Snow that Glinda sends is Grace, to help revive her and remind her that she should forgo earthly pleasures (poppies are used to make opium) for those that are heavenly. On the political level, it's a warning for the United States not to fall asleep to the dangers and problems in Europe and be wrapped up in our own problems. Having conquered these temptations, Dorothy can now enter the Emerald City.
What does the horse of a different color mean?
The horse is the Holy Spirit, and the different colors the horse turns symbolizes the different ways he appears to us, in trials, in consolations, in hopes and dreams, even in disappointments, but it is always the Spirit who takes us, carries us and leads us. Similarly, the getting fixed up before going to see the Wizard invokes Joseph of the Old Testament once more when he was taken to be fixed up before appearing before Pharaoh.
Why doesn't the Wizard just grant their requests and let them leave?
That's not how the spiritual life works, and that's not how politics work.
Remember when Jacob had worked for the hand of Rachel and was instead given Leah? This is exactly what that is like. Leah symbolizes works of the flesh, or works of the earth, fruit that is born in this world but isn't worth much in Heaven; Rachel symbolizes the contemplative life, and while much less fruit is born by her, that is the fruit that is most precious and loved the best, but you cannot have Rachel until you have had Leah. Dorothy isn't ready to find her true home, she still has another forest to go through and overcome that part of her that is still potentially susceptible to becoming Miss Gulch. Just as our souls and our hearts are beholden to spiritual laws, so countries are beholden to international laws, but not all countries, like the Nazis, follow it.
Of all things, why does the Wizard want the broomstick of the Wicked Witch?
The broom symbolizes her power, and power allows Dorothy to fear her. When the Wicked Witch no longer has power, Dorothy won't fear her. Remember, Glinda doesn't fear the Wicked Witch because she knows that the Witch doesn't have power in Munchkin City (because the faith of a child is greater than the evil of the Witch, so she can't control them).  Traditionally, the broom would be a symbol of cleanliness--well-swept floors--but when a Witch has it, the broom emphasizes the dirt of sin and what the woman was called to do, "clean living," and has chosen to do instead.
Why does Glinda arrive in a bubble?
Don't think of it as a bubble, rather as an Mandorla or Aureola, which is a full-body halo designating holiness. In early Christian art, this was particularly common in establishing Jesus, Mary, the Apostles or other holy figures from the Bible. It's a way of illustrating illumination from within, a burst of light that comes from the working of wisdom within us. Note, also, that around Glinda's neck is a butterfly, symbolic of metamorphosis, the way the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, just as Dorothy will be called to turn from a little girl into a witch-slayer.
The full-body halo, or mandorla/aureola around Christ.
Why does the bubble float?
Again, don't think of it as floating, think of it as levitating. "Levitation" comes from the Latin word for "lightness" and that indicates a release from sin: when something isn't weighted down by sin, its lightness allows it to float. When we are called to "Lift up your heart to the Lord," a heart heavy with sin is harder to lift up, a heart that is free of sin is light and naturally goes up towards God where its greatest good is. Modes of travel are imperative in Oz: you have the Wicked Witch on her broomstick and you have Glinda in... her bubble, both, however, are fliers, and that emphasizes the role that aviation would play in the war, if Britain hadn't the planes that America was producing, there wouldn't have been a war, Britain would have fallen instantly, and if it weren't for the aviation power the United States provided when we finally entered, the war might not have been won.
But you also have Dorothy arriving in a tornado (perhaps a prophesy that it would take a storm of doom to pull the U.S. into the war) and the hot air balloon of the Wizard. As we stated before, the tornado is a "gift from God" to Dorothy Gale, the gale of wind she needs to get her to Oz yet the difference between how she arrives in Oz and how she "gets back home to Kansas" represents the finer aspects of the spiritual life, the difference between the tornado and the "breath of God" upon which she is mystically taken into Him again, as the great prophet Elijah heard God upon Mt. Horeb.
So why does Dorothy walk?
"Did you bring a broomstick with you?" "No, I'm, afraid I didn't," her will must be exercised so she can become stronger. Remember, the feet symbolize the will, and when Dorothy first arrives in Oz, her will is dead. It''s not enough to wear the Ruby Slippers, she has to "stay fast inside them" and not be tempted out of them, because the slippers are a sign of Love, she is not allowed to despair or even to reason, as we will see the Witch tempt her with.
In the spiritual life, the deeper you go, the worse the sins get and that's what the flying monkeys symbolize, the unnatural sins within us. I don't won't to go into it any deeper here, however, what's important is that Dorothy's still fighting. We know that she's still in a "state of sin" because, unlike when she finds the Tinman and she almost turns back on her journey, now, the cost is too high and she's willing to give the Wicked Witch what she wants, the slippers, because Dorothy has run into the problem of not being able to understand how valuable Love is (that is what will get her home). This fight in the forest is really a battle scene, and, again, foreshadows the dark days of fighting and war ahead for the United States in World War II.
The Scarecrow getting torn to tatters by the monkeys and Dorothy giving into the Witch to give her the slippers symbolize the same thing: Dorothy has to learn, on a deeper level still, how faith and reason are really one and the same thing. "Now, you'll listen to reason," but reason is the last thing the Witch represents. The Scarecrow symbolizes Dorothy's ability to think and reason; when the Witch threatens Dorothy if she doesn't give her the slippers, and the Witch can't get them off her, Dorothy's mind is as scattered as the Scarecrow's straw body, because she's not using her reason. As St.Augustine tells us, we have reason so we may have faith, and we have faith so that we may use our reason to the greatest possible good, and Dorothy's not doing that. But that's why we have Grace, because Grace can and does overcome our weakness.
The Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow dressing up as guards does not symbolize that they have "gone to the dark side," rather, that they are now themselves on guard and they are united with each other in their cause. In the Dialogues of St Catherine of Siena, the Lord tells her that when he said, "Wherever two or more are gathered, there I am in their midst," he meant whenever the heart and the mind are united in prayer, or the soul and the heart, or the soul and the mind, he is there with that person as they pray, because in the dark nights of our soul, sometimes that is the best that we can do, bringing two of our parts together in prayer.
That Lion, Scarecrow, Tinman and Toto, too, are all united means that Dorothy, inwardly has re-grouped and re-united herself because of the fear that the Witch has inspired within her. Knowing what a threat the Witch is, Dorothy needs all her own power to fight her, and her love, courage, reason and ability to give herself entirely is what will "storm the Witch's castle." Politically, this is also what must happen, and The Wizard of Oz foreshadows that: the country must be united together in this war, all must be working with a united heart or we can't take Europe or the Pacific. Due to some strikes in Philadelphia, the war effort was nearly brought to a standstill and demonstrates this ancient truth that the greatest weapon against any enemy is unity.
So how does the Wicked Witch die?
The only way that evil does die: the power of  Love.
When the witch threatens to destroy the Scarecrow by fire, this is the final battle. When Dorothy and the Scarecrow first meet, what do they say to each other? "Well, maybe you better not come along, I have a witch following me." "Witch? I'm not afraid of a witch. I'm not afraid of anything, except a lighted match." "Well, I don't blame you for that." It's always the Scarecrow that the Witch attacks, even just in thought, with fire, and that's because the greatest enemy of reason is the fire of passion.
When they are going down the Yellow Brick Road, before they have met Tinman, they come to an apple orchard (it probably seems that I am going really out of order here, but I felt I needed to discuss some other symbols first so that these would fit into a better framework). This apple tree should invoke the symbols of Original Sin and the Forbidden Fruit. There are three levels upon which this works: between Dorothy and her romantic love for Hunk, between Dorothy and her love of Reason, and between the United States and the reasons for or not for joining in the upcoming war. Regarding her relationship with Hunk, her hand is slapped and she says, "I was hungry," literally, invoking the appetites: I want a relationship now. That's why they have to meet the Tinman next, the symbol of real and genuine love, so that Dorothy won't mistake a crush for the real thing.
But it also works abstractly: there are people who love reason for the sake of loving reason, and reason must be balanced by love. What is it that puts out the fire when the Witch has thrown a fireball at the Scarecrow? Tinman takes the top off his head and smothers the fire. Genuine love knows the difference between a crush and deep, abiding feelings so he can save reason when reason needs to be saved so that reason can help guide love the rest of the time. In terms of the upcoming war, there were people--and I don't blame them one bit--who did nothing but come up with reasons against joining the war, or come up with reasons for joining the war (remember, f you will, this same year, Gone With the Wind was released  and what was that opening scene? Scarlet sitting on the front porch listening to the twins get excited about joining the war).
Yet, reason and love are insufficient.
The Scarecrow can fall and stumble--reason is imperfect and not strong enough on its own--and love can be "unbalanced" and sway with the wind. It's courage that regulates and makes steady our nerves, and when we have courage, we have the heart of a lion, with cunning, strength and confidence in our will and our goals. It's not just having these virtues that are important, it's also the lack, the absence of vice and fear that makes possible these virtues. Why is Dorothy special? Because, in addition to these virtues, she has Toto, her ability to give herself entirely to what she believes in and loves.
This is true of individuals, and this is true of countries.
Now we know what small but powerful army has united against the Wicked Witch. Why does the Witch try to kill Scarecrow first? Because she overestimates his power and underestimates the others. Evil, including in war, always attacks reason first because it underestimates the strength that comes to it from Love and Courage. If the fireball that the Witch threw at the Scarecrow in the forest was "the fire of passion," then the fire she throws at him in the castle is, literally, the fire of destruction: in terms of war, that means the images of cities burning to the ground. Note that the Witch sets fire to his arm, the symbol of strength, and the idea of the great cities being bombed and burnt to the ground wasn't a reasonable idea to anyone in 1939.
But this is also the time when Grace comes in. The Witch has said that Dorothy will be the last to die and she'll have to watch the other three go before her (her army dismembered one by one), and this is the sign that Dorothy has "finally grown up": earlier in the Witch's castle, Dorothy could only think of herself and Toto, but now, she's not thinking of herself, she's thinking of the welfare of the Scarecrow, and in true Love, she's put another before herself. This is what defeats the Wicked Witch: she's liquidated by  the power of Grace. When Dorothy throws the bucket of water upon her, that's the Baptismal Vows that Dorthy invokes, the vows of Love which utterly defeats the Witch. That is why Dorothy can now take the broom, the Witch's power over Dorothy has been dissolved.
When Dorothy arrives back at the Emerald City, why does the Wizard get "revealed"?
When we are young in faith, God seems terrible, and when a war is going on, our enemies seem terrible. When we have grown in faith, God's loving, tender and caring side comes through more than his awesome nature, and when we are in war, the enemy stops seeming like an enemy and you see individuals instead of just a war machine.
Why does Dorothy not get to go home in the balloon with the Wizard?
What does she say to the Scarecrow when she's saying her good-byes? "I think I'll miss you most of all." He may be made of straw, but he's a "hunk" to Dorothy, and the heart won't let go, that's the reason why Toto chases the cat again, the same situation as in the very beginning of the film is still present although it's now on a deeper level. Very wise priests and directors have told me, however, that sometimes God will allow such things to bring a greater good from it, and this is the case now: Dorothy will learn what the great power of Love really is all about.
When Glinda arrives, it's really the image of Dorothy's soul now that we are being shown: in Munchkin City, it was the wrecked house from Kansas, in the forest it was the small but tidy cottage with the green roof, and then it was the wonders of Emerald City, but still, the Witch waged war in ordering Dorothy to surrender, but when she returns, Emerald City is a free city, as Dorothy herself is free. But in the spiritual life, freedom is not enough, God wants to give us power, and that power is illustrated for us by Glinda. Think about it, all she really does it arrive and leave and make it snow, but you know, in watching the film, that she's stronger and better than anyone else in Oz. While Dorothy was that wrecked house when she arrived in Munchkin City, Glinda was the first one whom she met, because it is like Glinda that Dorothy is destined to become within her soul, and when Glinda comes back to Dorothy in Emerald City, Dorothy's journey is finally complete, and her will--the Ruby Slippers--can now be harnessed to the rest of her because Dorothy has achieved perfect balance.
Regarding the upcoming War, the Ruby Slippers symbolize the "good will" towards other countries that the Allied powers needed to have, specifically, towards Poland and the Netherlands as they were being invaded that very year. Like Dorothy thinking of the Scarecrow instead of saving herself, the United States needed to realize that by saving other countries being devoured by the Nazi war machine, we would be saving ourselves, too. When the will of the United States would be acting in love for the preservation of Europe, our journey would be completed as well. The Great Depression was a state of the country's soul just as the little wrecked Kansas farm house is for Dorothy; as the country united and came together for the war effort, that became the image of the new soul, although there would be problems with that (which we'll discuss at another time).
There are two key elements for Dorothy getting back home: clicking her heels and saying, "There's no place like home." Clicking her heels means that what is divided--her heels--is now coming together, so it's an illustration that she's doing what is in her heart to do, to be unified in wanting to go home. But that is the key to understanding the whole film and our own lives: where is home? It's not that it is in Kansas, rather, our heavenly home, the home where we long to be and where we belong, the heaven where we are united to God and united to the perfect realization of what God intendeds for us to become, that is, our destiny, unique and singular to each of us. That "There's no place like home," means, there is no place on earth like our heavenly destination and, when we remember that, we are free of worries and ambitions that bound us to earth, but are free to "go over the rainbow."
When Dorothy wakes up, Auntie Em has a folded rag on her forehead, intended to bring down a fever, and this is important because, as noted earlier regarding Gone With the Wind, it is possible to have "war fever," but that's not what has happened to Dorothy: just as everyone is in her room (the room that is most intimate and representative of Dorothy) is brought together, so Dorothy is still inwardly united in her resolve (or the resolve of the country to do the right thing in the war) and just because Dorothy's journey is over, doesn't mean that her journey is over: she has been to Oz so that she's ready for the upcoming war in the world that will erupt, or, in more intimate terms, to decide what to do about Hunk and his courtship of her.
As the title card for the closing credits come up, we see that the "storm clouds of war" are still hanging around, so, like Toto chasing the cat in the Emerald City, so we still have the same problems when the movie first started, but now, we are going to be able to embark on the journey far wiser than before the tale of Dorothy we have been given.