What is "Nazism"?
Why Are Nazis So Popular in Fiction?
The Sci-Fi Space Nazi
Will We Really Fight Space Nazis?
Much of this will depend on the realities of space colonization, the contact between Terra and her space seed, and if the values of Nazism still find a hold on people enough to form a colony of their own. If all factors add up, we could see an establishment of an off-world colony that embraces Nazi ideals and policies that would threaten the stability of mankind’s colonial ventures. This would be even worse if there is indeed intelligent alien life. A Space Nazi colony could become a viper’s nest of tension and inflame relations between Terra and any alien power to the point of war with Terra or cause Terran forces being called in to quell the threat of these Space Nazis as a preventive step to a human-alien war. I think there could be a form of Neo-Nazism if intelligent alien life is found and it has the same imperialistic or colonizing aims as humans. This will be made worse if there has been armed conflict between the humans and aliens. Nazism seems to thrive in times when a clear and present danger is looming.
UFO Conspiracy Theories, The Occult, and Nazism: the Making of the Space Nazi Trope
When it comes to the commonly held concepts of the Nazi Party and their time ruling over Germany (1933-1945) that intercepts the sci-fi Space Nazi is the rumored 3rd Reich's dealing in the occult and their advancement of science through any means necessary. Their disgusting human experiments and the V2 rockets allowed for the US and the USSR to achieve manned space flight earlier, they also deployed the first jet attack fighter, fielded the first assault rifle, and were developing a number of Wunderwaffe like the Horton Ho 229 V3 and the Silbervogal sub-orbital bomber to take the war to American soil and beyond.
Adding to mysterious nature of the 3rd Reich was this was the appearance of the Foo Fighters and Ghost Rockets during World War II. Given the Nazi engineering advancements, there are some that firmly believe that the Nazis had access to reverse-engineered alien technology or some supernatural method that created the Foo Fighters and the Ghost Rockets. According to some, there was a project beyond advanced aircraft and one that could have reversed the fortunes of the Nazis during the Second World Wwar: time travel.
The experiment was, according to Polish author Igor Witkowski, was conducted a secret base called "Der Riese" or "The Giant" run by the SS near the Wenceslaus mine on the modern Czech border. Reinforcing this conspiracy theory is that seems to be an actually secret 3rd Reich research base there with some odd structures, like "the ring". The story goes that a bell-shaped small craft was developed to use an unknown mercury-like fluid called "Xerum 525" for the purpose of anti-gravity or time travel or both.
This "Die Glocke" temporal vehicle was under development to possible prevent the defeat of Nazi Germany, which was a reality at the time that the Die Glocke was "launched". The head of this project is believed to be SS General Hans Kammler. Compounding the weirdness, is that Hans Kammler was never captured and his body has never been found. According to the Die Glocke story, the pilot of the craft was none other than Hans Kammler. When "the Bell" was finally activated with the intend to use its time traveling abilities, it re-materialized in December 9th, 1965 in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, only to crash. The vehicle and its rumored SS pilot were recovered by the US Military. How did the 3rd Reich develop a time traveling pod without help from Gallifrey? Aliens...of course.
Science Fiction and the Space Nazi
It came as a surprise to me how long the relationship between science fiction and Nazis has been around and even dates to when the Nazi Party was then in power in Germany. There is debate about the first appearing of the Space Nazi in sci-fi, given that science fiction literature was in its infancy in the 1930's. There was a Nazi-like alien civilization in E.E. Doc Smith's Skylark Three published in 1930, which is nearly too early and it is a Ubermensch alien race that desires to wipe out inferior races. Then we have the 1933 story The Robot Technocrat that has a alternate history 1954 with Hitler and his stormtroopers in the US making trouble. In 1936, the author that penned the term "robot", Karel Capek, wrote The War with the Newts that had racial "living space" being a genesis of future wars and it seems to take inspiration from 3rd Reich policies. In 1938, came another example of Space Nazi in a story penned by legendary author Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1938 called “Carson of Venus”. These Space Nazis were called “Zanis” are a political group from the planet Venus. This was done with fully intention to take a swipe at the Nazis, even in 1938! One of the bedrock concepts of Nazis in science fiction takes its cues from the real-world Operation ODESSA, which had Nazis escaping to South America to avoid war crimes courts and firing squads, but in the sci-fi twist, the Nazis are escaping to off-world colonies. The likely target for an interstellar escape destination is the Moon and this trope was first put into print via Robert Heinlein’s 1947 youth book Rocket Ship Galileo.While many might attempt to modern connect the Space Nazis of science fiction to the Empire in Star Wars, but the Space Nazi has never died out or died down. Throughout the decades, there is one or two well-known examples, but there are more hidden under the surface of science fiction.
For example, one of the most well-known films of the 1980s is Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and it was packed with Nazis, but there was to be a form of "sci-fi Nazi" in the original concept. The Nazi Gestapo agent with the Hugo Boss leather jacket was Major Arnold Ernst Toht played by with creepy evil by Ronald Lacey. In the original concept of the character, Toht was to be fitted with an mechanical arm and some sort of eye piece as seen in Ron Cobb's concept art. One wonders what the impact of having the original concept of Toht's character as the mechanically enhanced sci-fi Nazi would had on the Space Nazi Trope.
And what is the reason for their enduring popularity? The evil deeds of the Nazis are a common culture touchstone that instantly connects the audience to the creators’ vision of an enemy that utilizes similar values and tactics of the 3rd Reich. It also doesn’t help the saturation of Nazi conspiracy theories all over media and the internet that have been around since nearly the fall of Nazi Germany steer many people towards the “Space Nazi” trope. While that seems good on the surface, it is also an easy or even lazy connection for creators to make. Space Nazis are nearly “ready to wear” or “just add water” enemies as much as are grey aliens or space kitties. This trend does not seem to be close to dying out either. With the recent discussions in Europe and America over groups that mirror some Nazi tactics and philosophy, it seems this trend of forwarding Nazis into to the future is not going to die out in either the fictional or real world.
The Lunar 4th Reich Nazis of Iron Sky (2012)
The Galactic Empire and COMPNOR from Star Wars Universe
When it comes to one of the best know examples of Space Nazis it is the Empire from the Star Wars universe and there is a very good reason for that: it was done deliberately by Lucas and the production staff. The backstory to the rise of the Empire from the mess that was the Republic was inspirited by the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany of the 1930’s. Reinforcing the connection to the Nazi regime, the Imperial military is styled, in structure and look, to the Wehrmacht and other German military uniforms. Another aspect of the Empire’s connection to the 3rd Reich was in the organization known as COMPNOR (The Commission to Preserve the New Order).
The Helghast from the Killzone Universe
The First Order from the Star Wars Universe
This authoritative military government was led by a Dark Force user named Snoke. Much like the previous COMPNOR Empire, the First Order had the Dark Side of the Force at its heart with new Dark Sider Force users in key positions that were outside of the standard rank-and-file, like the Knights of Ren. While inspirited by the Empire of thirty years ago, the First Order was attempting to avoid the same mistakes…but, they built a superweapon, draining a great deal of their resources and had it destroyed by a the Resistance (not official aligned to the New Republic). After the destruction of the New Republic capital system, Hosnian, in 34 ABY these two powers were officially at war. Much like what Lucas did with the Empire, channeling the 3rd Reich, the First Order was another Space Nazi military/fascist government that recycled Empire and Nazi style and symbols. One of the most famous scenes in The Force Awakens is a rally of First Order personnel at the Starkiller Base and it directly channels the infamous Nazi rallies, further reinforcing the Space Nazi aspect of the First Order.
4th Reich from the Japanese NES release of Bionic Commando (Hitler's Resurrection: Top Secret)
The Hirogen from Star Trek: Voyager Episodes "The Killing Game pt. 1 and pt. 2"
I am not the biggest fan of ST: VOY and I thought it was among the weakest Trek series with the best series finale of all time. Due to this unevenness, it is likely that if Voyager not been a flagship TV series on a fledgling network, UPN, it would have been cancelled. To spice things up in the Delta Quadrant, the producers created the Hirogen space hunters for season four that were partially based on the Yautja hunters from the film Predator. While interesting, they do not seem to be akin to the Nazi ideals or style borrowed for many of the examples here on the list. However, for the 4th season two-parter “The Killing Game”, several Hirogen hunting vessels take over the Voyager and subject the crew to hunts in the holodecks and one of these settings is World War II.
House Harkonnen from the DUNE Universe
During the research phase for this article, I came across those that place House Harkonnen on the list of Space Nazis. This claim has been reinforced by the author himself, Frank Herbert, who said that he based House Harkonnen on the Nazi Party. But, here is the thing, I don't buy it. I've read DUNE several times, I never got the "Nazi vibe" from them and I do believe that the costuming choice for the Harkonnens seen in the 1984 David Lynch sci-fi epic could be part of the reason along with their cruelty to their enemies and the Fremen.
While the Harkonnen troopers seem to have a passion for dressing in black leather, even in the open desert of Arrakis, and this could connect them to some Nazi costuming and uniform choices, it still is a stingy connection to the Nazi Party. The actions of the Harkonnens on their own homeworld and on Arrakis comes from a cruel place. They abuse the whole of the Fremen people, they enjoy in gladiatorial combat, and have a vast slave population for all purposes. This makes House Harkonnen more of a "Space Roman" society than Space Nazis.
The Nazi Overtones from Starship Troopers 1997 and 2008 Films
There is much made out of the Terran society presented in the 1959 SST book and in the 1997 film. Robert Heinlein was a rare hawkish, right-wing science fiction writer that clashed with other noted sci-fi writers of the time over nuclear testing. As a response, Heinlein, a WWII Naval veteran, wrote a book about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship that is earned and not given mere as a token of birth in a geographic location. In the book, military service allows for someone to achieve full citizenship and the right to vote, which is borrowed from Roman concepts of land ownership and military service. Heinlein also was commenting on the prospected erosion of 1950’s society from the “good old days”.
The reason for all the German uniforms and everything is because the Germans made the best-looking stuff,” says Troopers screenwriter Edward Neumeier. ”Art directors love it.” Verhoeven too was attracted by the visual appeal: ”I just wanted to play with these [Nazi images] in an artistic way.” It was not limited to costuming, but also in lifting structure and camera shots from the Nazi film Triumph of the Wills.
The Norsefire Party from V for Vendetta Series
The Visitors from The NBC V Series
The Operation Pure-Blood from DC Comics Superman
In the 1980 Superman 2020 D C Comic story line, we see the 3rd Superman attempt to take his place with the mantle of responsibility associated with being a member of the Superman clan. Unlike his grandfather, Superman II and III are injected with human DNA due to paring with human mothers. This is all too much for a band of humans that are devoted to the idea of humans only breeding with humans to prevent the mixing of “blood” and the weakening of human genes. The members of the Pure Blood movement are very much like futuristic Nazis with all of the familiar hallmarks and tropes. Seen in Superman 2020 story of 1980 that ran from issue #354 to around #368, this Pure Blood movement had it all: Nazi-like symbols, armbands, special arm salute, and a fiery speaker that speaks of persevering their race and purity due to an “alien influence”. Of course, this is playing up to Nazism and this mistrust of the alien ubermench is a theme explored throughout the Superman universe, even in the recent films. I was actually shocked to see this in a Superman comic and I never read of it until I found a blogpost explaining the oddball storyline of futuristic Nazis rallying against Superman in a 1980 comic.
The Space Nazis from the Wolfenstein Universe
The research into advanced weaponry paid off allowing for the 3rd Reich to control much of the world by the end of the 1940’s and its use of nuclear weapons allows for the surrender of the United States in 1948. By the time our hero rejoins the world in 1960, it is a much darker place, with the Nazis in charge of much of the world and they boot prints on others. According to the alternate history, in 1951 two Nazi German astronauts by the names of Hans Amstark and Otto Emmerich are the first men on the moon and this paves the way for the full-size “Moonbase One” in 1960. Designed to be a hub for off-world research, nuclear secrets, and even forced off-world labor camps, this moon base Is just a stepping stone to the rest of the solar system. This important off-world installation is guard by the elite “Weltraummarinesoldaten” or “Space Marine”…which I totally missed for the recent Marine FWS blogpost…and these Nazi Space Marines(!) are some of the most elite combat veterans. During BJ’s assault on the lunar base, most of the Nazi Space Marines are killed along with a majority of the the “Weltraumsoldaten” or “Space Troopers”. With the destruction of the Space Marines by BJ, the Space Troopers took over off-world guard duties on the moon, space stations, and even on Venus. This only fruther reinforces my desire to play these new Wolfenstein games.
The Principality of Zeon from the Gundam Universe
The appearance of Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 altered the landscape of anime, mecha, and military science fiction. It was during this original series that we saw the unfolding of the One Year War between the Federation and the Principality of Zeon. There is a great deal of “Putting on the Reich” trope here for the look and feel of the Zeon military. Part of the racial aspect of the Nazi Party is handled by the Zeon identifying themselves as “Spacenoid” and separate from humans that were born on Earth. When Degwin Sodo Zabi takes power after the death of Zeon, he declares the Side-3 colony the new nation of Zeon and One Year War is the outgrowth of that decision. One of the sons of the new leader, Gihren Zabi, is compared to Hitler by his own father due to its ideals of racial purity, powerful speaking ability, and the Zeon hand salute. The trend continues with Zeon=Space Nazis when German names began populating and the flag of Zeon that is very symbolic.
The Na'Kuhl from Star Trek: Enterprise
The 4th Reich from the Metro 2033 Universe
The Zombie Nazis from The Outpost (2008)
The Eastern Alliance form the Classic BSG Universe
In the classic 1978 Battlestar Galactic, the ragtag fleet guarded by the last Battlestar was a quest to final the lost tribe, who lived on Earth. During the end of the only season, the Galactica starts coming across new humans that talk of a powerful fascist human government from Terra called “The Eastern Alliance”. Two powerful human governments, presumed to be based on Terra, came to a one-sided peace treaty that favored the Eastern Alliance. During this, the Eastern Alliance begins to wipe out the Western governments colonial holdings with nuclear weapons to pave the way for Eastern Alliance settlement.
The Ministry of Peace's Nightwatch from the Babylon 5 Universe
One of the most important posts for Nightwatch activities was the Babylon 5 Station and it paid EarthForce personnel more credits per month to wear an armband and file reports. When B5 declared independence from the Earth Alliance, Captain Sheridan throw all of the Nightwatch off of the station. During this time period, Clark’s regime empowered the Nigthwatch with help from the Psi-Corp. When Clark fell, so did the Nightwatch.
The Ekos Reich from ST:TOS Episode "Patterns of Force (2x23)"
The Black Lance from the Wing Commander Universe
The Kaled from the Doctor Who Universe
The Daleks are one of the most iconic and (in) famous alien enemies of the Earth and our favorite Time Lord. However, everyone has a origin story and the Daleks are rooted in an example of Space Nazis: the Kaled. On the planet of Skaro, there was a bloody long war fought between the Kaled and the Thals that had lasted for a thousand years. This resulted in the Kaled living under an authoritative regime devoted to grooming new soldiers and obedience. For the 1975 fourth story of the 12th season of Doctor Who was devoted to the 4th Doctor exploring the origins of the Daleks, the archenemy of the Time Lords.
It was here that story linked the Kaled to Space Nazis via their actions, uniforms, hand salutes and some philosophy. The war took the advanced technology present on Skaro all the way down to bolt-action rifles and bows-and-arrows that remains me of Einstein’s quote about the 4th World War. Given the grim status of the war and the state of the planet, an end to the war needed to happen, and the leader of the scientific elite of Kaled, Davros, decided that there needed to evolution to the conditions of Skaro. This was the development of Davros loyal tin-cans: the Daleks. Upon these cybernetic metal warriors, Davros would be their eternal emperor and offer the final solution to the Thousand Year War, by killing both the Kaled and the Thals. The Daleks themselves are sort of an alien Nazi with their single-minded devotion to hate and killing those that are not Dalek.
The Special Armed Garrison Police Unit from the Kerberos Sega Universe
Terra Prime Movement and Colonel Green from the Star Trek Universe
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