What we are as a people and as a species, we will taken into outer space...and that could mean that the patterns of history could
repeat themselves for the good and for the bad. Among evil organizations in Terran history, there is none that have shaped history through blood and pain quite like the Nazi Party. Their name, iconography, leadership, and deeds have been liberally mined for use in every part of society and media, and this does include Military Science Fiction. In this latest installment of the ongoing serial Our Enemies
, we will be exploring if the so-called "Space Nazis" enemy types of science fiction.
We are going to be discussing the Nazi Party, the 3rd Reich, and that junkie nutjob Hitler throughout this blogpost and I just want to say something clear as a bell: I hate Nazis with burning intensity I hate mental weakness people that like Nazis. I hate ignorant people that want to be Nazis and try to live up to those stupid, sick ideals. My father grew up in post-war Germany and saw first hand what the Nazi Party did to the people of Germany. Nazism is the pathway to the darkest, coldest evil that lays in the hearts of humanity. They are a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and failure of the soul. The true horror and insanity of Nazism should be a lesson to all humanity and should be fought with ever fiber of our collective being.
What is "Nazism"?
In the recent American political climate and the re-emergence of groups claiming allegiance to Nazi racial purity ideals (I cannot believe I am writing this in 2018!), the term "Nazi" is a loaded term that historically has been overused since the end of World War II. Today, both the Right and the Left in American politics fling the charge of being connected to the Nazi Party, the 3rd Reich, or Hitler to the point of grounding the term into meaninglessness. Lately, members of the Right have been connecting American liberals with the charge that they want Socialism and that the Nazi Party were Socialists. This often is seen in online political flame-wars, especially when the term "Alt-Right" is used. Due to this, I decided that before we talk about Space Nazis, we should revisit what is a Nazi anyways?
During the apex of the Industrial Revolution at end of 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the workers were the meat that powered the great machines of production and commerce, and it wasn’t pretty. Abuse was common as well as danger, and this fostered a counter-movement to the current conditions advocating for workers’ rights and safe conditions. While vilified today in some political circles, Labor Unions gave us modern workers the protections and rights we enjoy today and those came at a high cost of sacrifice. Given these conditions of the era, there were many organizations founded, as well as works generated, like Das Kapital
. Another force of the time that added to soup for creating Nazi Party was the horror of World War I and the overthrow of the Tsar Dynasty in Russia. All of theses factors gave us the conditions for a fertile soil to grow workers’ rights organizations and one of these was the DAP (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
) or “German Worker’s Party”. Founded in 1919 by Anton Drexler, the DAP was a far-right, anti-Jewish, anti-Marxist, anti-capitalist organization of small membership.
Also that year, a World War One veteran Adolf Hitler was searching for an organization to join and found the DAP that married up to his own views. With Hitler, the DAP was remade and expanded under his tutelage with his views and political theories at the center. It was in 1920 that the DAP was renamed to the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
) at the urging of Rudolf Jung. It should be noted that Hitler was not happy with the inclusion of the word “socialism” in the name of his new far-right party, but, it was felt that the organization needed to pick up left thinking workers for increased membership. While it would seem to many that the arrest and imprisonment of Hitler after the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, the NSDAP, or “Nazi” Party would be finished.
However, Hitler would use this time to refine his strategy, write a book, and gather supporters like Rudolf Hess and Joseph Goebbels. It was during this time that Hitler knew that the only way to achieve victory, power, and control was via political means. That sick dream was achieved in 1933, when Hitler and his Nazi Party achieve power in the center of German government when Hitler became Chancellor. At its core, the National Socialist Party was centered on extreme German nationalism to recover the soul of the broken Germany from the defeat of the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles.
To achieve these aims, the Nazi Party sought to inspirit the German people by false beliefs of racial superiority, blame other elements of society for issues in 1930’s Germany, like the Jews, and paramilitary style and iconography coupled with fiery speeches. While populist in theory, the Nazi Regime was mostly devoted to violently reshaping German society with the party elite at the top of this new society with Nazi deemed “undesirable groups” weeded out via organized extermination. Added to this was the policy of military conquest and victories to rally the people and prevent a repeat of 1918 (which happened) with paramilitary organizations and paramilitary thought sprinkled liberally in society to feed the military’s need for manpower and obedience. This violent racial purity, use of propaganda, militarism, easy-to-digest symbols, basic tenets of fascism, and a magnetic leadership central figure are the hallmarks of Nazism.
Why Are Nazis So Popular in Fiction?
During an episode of Spoony’s Counter Monkey
video series about D&D
Role Playing, he talked about how “evil” people do not perceive themselves as evil in the “Bond Villain” kind of way. Rarely is there evil deeds done for the pure reason of being evil in the Snidely Whiplash sense. Often those violent mercilessness actions are propelled by mental illness and conditioning caused by forcibly watching Caillou
Good creators often frame the antagonist in light that makes them have their own motivations other than being purely evil or the sake of being evil. When it comes to (over)using Nazis as the go-to bad guys of popular media, fiction with an element of truth is more compelling and that is true of the Nazis. The truth is that Nazi Germany is every bit as horrific as projected in fiction and their behavior was as evil as anything that Dante could have conjoined up in the pits of hell and the worst then about it was that they attempted to justify it via nationalism. This has caused Nazis to become the very personification of evil, allowing them to be transitioned to the realm of science fiction, either in ideals or straight out Nazis-in-outer-space. Due to this, shooting Nazis in video games has never been faced with the moral conflict that has been inserted into other modern shooters. In another words, you never have to feel bad about shooting a Nazi and I learned that when I first played Wolfenstien 3D
back in 1994.
The Sci-Fi Space Nazi
When science fiction creators decide to include either Space Nazis or the “Nazi by any other name” into their work, they often extract familiar elements of Nazism to capitalize on common cultural understandings of the 3rd Reich. This can be as little as borrowing the general style of uniforms worn by the 3rd Reich which is so common, it has its own trope: Putting on the Reich, or as much as lifting major portions of the organization and philosophy…but, I have found that these sci-fi Nazis often fall into three categories.
The first being a direct implantation of a World War II Nazi into a science fiction setting This is done by the methods of time travel, holo-deck programs, or fleeing Nazis escaping into outer space like in Iron Sky
. One of the most popular in fiction is to simply borrow the style and iconography of Nazism to either given the direct connect or hint at the connection to Nazism, such as the Helghan in Killzone
or Zeon in Gundam
. Then that brings us to the third type that instead of borrowing Nazi uniforms or placing German Nazi Party members on the Moon, we have works that take the elements of Nazism philosophy and 3rd Reich history to form a type of Space Nazi without the obvious Nazi connection as we’ve seen in Star Wars
or like Colonel Green from the World War III historical era of the Star Trek
Will We Really Fight Space Nazis?
Since the Fall of the 3rd Reich, there has been a movement to keep the fires of the Nazi ideals alive to this very day. This is the rise of Neo-Nazism and it is on display throughout the world…and it could follow us to the stars. When the New World was colonized, it became a destination for splinter groups , radicals, unpopular religious groups, and exiles. It is highly likely that off-world colonies will be much the same after the original pioneer missions, and this could mean that Neo-Nazism will follow us out there as much as they have followed us for over nearly a hundred years.
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.
These were all verified and real weapon systems under development or were even in prototype or deployment phase when the war ended in 1945. The value of Nazi scientific knowledge was enough to prompt Operation PAPERCLIP and Operation OSOAVIAKHIM by the two new superpowers. These types of advanced projects only furthered the conspiracy theories surrounding the extent of Nazi scientific advancement and how they achieved them. Added to this was rumored expeditions that surrounded the occult and religious relics that entered into popular culture via works like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
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.
The source of the technology could have come from a rumored UFO crash in 1936 or 1937 in a German forest that was recovered by the 3rd Reich and reverse-engineered: the so-called "Project HAUNEBU" Nazi UFO type craft were the result. There always been rumors of surviving alien crew and possibly a deal made between Hitler and the aliens due to similar ideological philosophies. Access to advanced technology from not-of-this-Earth could have allowed for the common conspiracy theory of secret post-war Nazi bases that serviced as another pipeline for Nazis to escape the Allies, much like the verified ODESSA Project that set up safe haven for Nazis in Latin America.
There is the rumored Nazi Antarctica base in their claimed section of Antarctica called "New Swabia". This bolthole subterranean outpost could have been dealt with during the 1946-1947 joint military operation to the Antarctica called Operation HIGHJUMP. Some point to nuclear explosions conducted during Operation ARGUS in 1958 as the final solution to the Nazi antarctic base. It doesn't stop there. There has been conspiracy theories that have gone on for decades of a secret Nazi lunar base that was the ultimate bolthole shelter for escaping 3rd Reich members and beating NASA to the Moon by over 20 years. Granted there is no evidence of heavy launch rocket facilities or even that the Nazis were in-possession of the rockery technological to go to the Moon.
It is believed by some conspiracy theorist that there are photos of this Nazi lunar base and that cancellation of the Apollo moon is due to this Nazi base. If that wasn't outlandish enough, there are those that believe that there is evidence of an Nazi Martian base that was established just after the 2nd World War. Some point to the NASA Martian rover Curiosity capturing an purported image of an WWII helmet on Sol 3 (August 2012) in the Aeolis Palus. These conspiracy theories, rumors, and half-truths have caused a rich soil for our Space Nazi to take root in popular media.
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)
It is hard to believe, but we did actually get a Space Nazi centered movie in 2012 with the black comedy Iron Sky
. This film was teased on the internet to look like an interesting B-movie that was funded with ideas and resources from an on-line film community. The plot is recycled conspiracy theory that wastes the interesting parts about the film with a trip into stupidity complete with a Sarah Palin American President.Talk about a horror movie .
It seems, like most works and conspiracy theories that put survivor Nazis, they take up shelter on their Moon Base. According to the story, a harden core of 3rd Reich personnel escaped to their secret lunar base to await the day when the newly christened "4th Reich" will unleash its Nazi saucers on the world and lunar born soldiers. Yawn and the film ends in nuclear war with the numerous threats of sequel incoming. We can all hope not. This film has always been a disappoint to me.
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 Com
mission to P
reserve the N
Given the times we live in, the reading of the entry on COMPNOR on Wookieepedia.com is downright terrifying. COMPNOR is the “political religion” of the Empire and is method of control used by the New Order on the government itself and the general population of the Empire. With the New Order being a deeply racist/xenophobic organization that was centered on human-like species, COMPNOR was aimed at strengthening that support and dividing the humans from the other species via a favorite tool of the Nazis: propaganda.
Another method of supporting the human-run Empire was to hunt down the Jedi, support alien enslavement, and dismissing the old Republic. COMPNOR was a “gateway drug” to recruit new loyal members and support Imperial patriotism as well, playing upon the military power and law-and-order. To enforce the will and power of COMPNOR, there was the Imperial Security Bureau and the CompForce, another loyal band of soldiers for the Emperor that were separate from the Stormtroopers, which reminds me of the SA of the Nazi Party. This is one of the most enduring Space Nazi examples.
The Helghast from the Killzone Universe
One of the most famous modern examples of Space Nazis is from the KILLZONE
series of games. Guerrilla Games heavily used the Nazi Stormtrooper-like gas-mask wearing soldiers of the Helghan Empire to sell their “HALO
Killer” game in 2004 and the following titles. While there are number of connections to the 3rd Reich with the Helghast, there are also connections with World War One Imperial Germany and the Special Armed Garrison "Kerberos” troopers from the Kerberos Sega
universe, or more famously, the 1999 Jin-Roh
OVA. The origin of the Space Nazi regime known as the Helghan Empire is a sad one that had hope twisted into blind aggression that cause the destruction of the world of Helghan and its people. The Helghan were originally a corporation that gained colonization rights over the atmospheric standard world of Vekta. It was like another Earth, but unspoiled. The Helghan Corporation would use both Vekta and the barely habitable Helghan to build a new civilization in the Alpha Centurai star system that declare itself independent from the Terran government, resulting in the First Exosolar War. The Helghast exile to Helghan caused their militant desire for a return to their stolen world and the need for the breathing respirators. The studio mined Nazi style and hallmarks along with other elements to form the nationalistic philosophy of the Helghan people as they gathered around the Swastika-like flag and future goose step towards destruction. While I kid here, I’ve always been impressed with the development of the Helghast and I consider them to be one of the better examples of Space Nazis.
The First Order from the Star Wars Universe
From the ashes of the Galactic Empire, came their phoenix government, their ODESSA: the First Order. After the last battles of the Galactic Civil War and the signing of the treaty that ended the war in 5 ABY, the remains of the Empire, COMPNOR officials and supports, families, warlords, and business removed themselves from the main portions of the galaxy to the Unknown Regions that are in the “western” sector of the Galaxy, beyond the Outer Rim. For over 20 years, they rebuilt and transformed themselves from the Empire to the First Order.
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)
One of the classic NES titles is CAPCOM’s Bionic Commando
from 1988 and it was legendary among us 1980s kids due to the oddball appear of frozen Hitler going by the 1980s' rapper name “Master-D” as the end boss. Due to the sensitive content, when CAPCOM localized the release of the original Famicom game for the global NES platform, Hitler’s Resurrection: Top Secret
was renamed “Bionic Commando” and the 4th Reich symbols were scrubbed down to be eagles and the Nazis became “Badds”…what the hell is a Badd? Oddly, the final boss, Master-D, was renamed but the face of shitbag Hitler was not changed. This allowed us kids of the 80s to know something wasn’t quite on the level with this game. When the internet and import carts on the Famicom system, we know the full story about the 4th Reich’s quest for world domination.
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.
It is here that the producers of Voyager
were able to fulfill their long-held dream of having a World War II episode and put an alien into a Nazi uniform. For the most part, that is what it is, Hirogen hunters in 3rd Reich regalia. Then there is a speech by a Nazi holodeck character sparks the imagination of one of the hunters with the similar philosophical similarities between Nazism and “the Hunt”. I included this example of an sci-fi Nazi due to it being a prime example of mining the commonly held cultural impact of Nazis for dramatic effect with visual power. And it does just that, Don’t think on it too hard. Overall, ST:ENT
did a better job of a alien race sharing similar ideals to the 3rd Reich.
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”.
Even to this very day, the society presented in SST
is debated and discussed. Then the 1997 SST film came that took the book and transformed it into an oversexed, overblown military sci-fi film that bore some surface relationship to the original text. This film still separates the sci-fi community. While there were some overtones in the film of a military government ruling over the Terran Federation, the connection to the 3rd Reich was the uniforms. The Mobile Infantry’s dress uniforms, insignia, and even the color choices for the uniforms directly mimic the uniforms of the 3rd Reich.
The most cited example of Nazi overtones in the costuming seen towards the end of the time with the SS-like uniforms of the Federal Intelligence officers (AKA “Games & Theory”) officers, which includes Ringo’s old buddy Carl Jenkins. Why did the 1997 and the later 3rd 2008 film use Nazi uniforms? According to Dutch director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Edward Neumeier did was done deliberately as explained in 1997 EW interview: “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
One of the more memorable DC Comics of the late 1980s was Alan Moore’s tale of a near-future world of 1997 with the United Kingdom being controlled by Nazi-like fascistic regime called the “Norsefire”. Coming to power after a limited nuclear war or the St. Mary Virus of the 2006 film adaptation, Norsefire developed a multi-system of control over the UK that played upon nationalism and security feelings while robbing the people of their freedoms. Using Nazi-like iconography, six divisions of control and monitoring the population (and each other), concentration camps, secret police organization; the Norsefire Party is a Nazi-by-another-name organization. This is well-done sci-fi Nazi government that successful mines the Nazi Party and time period for a successful storyline. I enjoyed both the comic and the 2006 film. Of course, it also echoed the 1984
film in style having British actor John Hurt in a key role.
The Visitors from The NBC V Series
In 1983, American network NBC would embark on a bold and expensive ($13 million in 1983 dollars) TV miniseries called V. This 200 minute 2-night TV events told the story of a humanoid alien race called "the Visitors" coming to Earth in peace...or so they say. As we all know, the Visitors are an aggressive reptilian species with designs to conquer the Earth and put humans on the menu while stealing much of our natural resources. To up the creepy factor of the Visitors, Nazi methods, history and iconography was utilized, making them a form of the Space Nazi trope.
It was damn effective as well, the Visitors used poster, SS-like stormtrooprs, military-like uniforms, an symbol that bore some similarity to the swastikas, Hitler Youth like organization, and elimination of their human critics, to hold on to power. The roots of the Visitors being akin to Space Nazis was due to the inspiration behind the series, the anti-fascists novel 1935 It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. Originally, V creator Kenneth Johnson was bring NBC a miniseries adaption of the novel entitled Storm Warning, but given the popularity of Star Wars, NBC wanted a sci-fi work, and Johnson put an iconic spin on it. While semi-cheesy today, V aired when I was 7 and it scared the hell out of me and it has stayed with me ever since.
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
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
Star Trek Enterprise was a bold experiment in telling a Trek tale that took place in a time prior to the Federation and having Earth as a relative unknown society in galactic events. One of the underpins of the first three seasons was the “Temporal Cold War”, where several factions fought a low-intensity conflict using proxy forces to further their objectives. The good crew of the first Warp Five explorer ship by Starfleet, the NX-01 Enterprise, was involved directly into the Temporal Cold War through the seasons.
This far-future conflict came to an apex at the end of season 3 and the beginning of season 4, with the NX-01 being transported back to the 1944/World War II timeframe with massive changes that forged an alternate timeline. The Allies had lost and the 3rd Reich was in partial control of America with help from the Na’Kuhl alien species. While not named in the episodes, these reptilian alien species from the 29th century were major players in the Temporal Cold War. When Terran forces closed in the leader of Na’Kuhl, Vosk, he and his merry band escaped using a one-way type of time travel that was more difficult to track than other methods.
These aliens allied themselves with the Nazis due to similarities in philosophy and methods with a mutually beneficial relationship. Vosk would provide the Nazis with advanced weaponry, while the Nazis gave the raw material for the construction of a time machine. While allies in theory, Vosk was using the Nazis and never intended to give the Germans weapons that could be used against them if things soured. Throughout the three episodes featuring the Na’Kuhl, they are seen wearing 3rd Reich military uniforms, given Trek yet another Space Nazi appearance. However, out of all of the rest of Space Nazis seen in Trek, this maybe the best and it helps that the aliens were more than just playing Nazis, but embodied elements of the Nazi philosophy. It also capitalized on the forever rumors of alien involvement in the 3rd Reich.
The 4th Reich from the Metro 2033 Universe
In the video games and the novel, three of the stations in the Metro systems of post-war Moscow are controlled by a Neo-Nazi militaristic/totalitarian regime that is patterned after the Nazis of World War II. The underground Nazis of the post-3rd World War world of Metro 2033 are similar with leadership from a Fuhrer, but are Russian in origin and adapted to the terrible conditions of the post-nuclear world with a similar philosophy of racial purity that suppressed those affected by radiation and treating them like slaves.
Given their devotion to racial purity and a strong military presence, the 4th Reich is avoided. How are Russian survivors of the 2013(!) nuclear holocaust twisted into underground Nazis? The 4th Reich was born out Russian nationalism and kicking out non-Russians out of their original station that was slowly transformed into an oddball Neo-Nazi group. While I’ve heard great things about the games and I play on playing them, the idea of a “4th Reich” growing out of Russian nationalism is not well thought out, especially considering the conditions of a post-nuclear war world. There should have been something else besides an Neo-Nazi group in the Metro world of 2033.
The Zombie Nazis from The Outpost (2008)
One of the finest Nazi-Zombies movies of all time is 2008’s The Outpost
. This British horror film is set in Eastern Europe, but filmed in Scotland, depicts an mission to rediscover an Nazi bunker. I love this film and it is super creepy with an excellent story and atmosphere coupled with rather good acting. The film was a success and spawned two more sequels, which pale in comparison to the original. In the film, a scientist working for a powerful group hires a mercenary group to escort him through enemy lines to a location on a map. It is discovered to be an 3rd Reich bunker that was dealing in creating immortal Nazi Stormtroopers to conquer the world via unified field theory. When the Nazi Zombies appear, it is everything you wanted in your military horror film. This is a must watch.
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.
During the speech of the Western president, the Eastern Alliance decides to end it once and for all with all-out nuclear attack. Only selected few of Eastern Alliance society were moved to underground shelters for the nuclear counter attack. This cruel regime, while dangerous, was technologically behind the 12 Colonies and their small destroyer was outclassed by the massive Galactica. It is mentioned that the Eastern Alliance warships are not equipped with FTL, allowing us to assume that most of the contest between these two political blocs being intra-system. That technological limitiations did not pose a barrier to their dreams of intergalactic conquest and that the galaxy belongs to them because they were the greatest force in the universe…haha. While the creators designed the Space Nazi Eastern Alliance to be message that evil was universal, they were not done well enough to be an effective enemy to rival the Cylons
The Ministry of Peace's Nightwatch from the Babylon 5 Universe
In any totalitarian regime, control is paramount. This causes paramilitary organizations to spring up to monitor the population and each other for the reasons of control. After Vice-President Clark staged the assassination of President Santiago, he began reshaping EarthGov to fulfill his needs the needs of his backers, the Shadows. One of the methods of control and fear put into place was the Nightwatch that was born out of the "Ministry of Peace". This paramilitary organization was involved in domestic spying, policy enforcement, and suppression of rights.
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 Year 2013 on Earth-811 from the X-Men Universe
One of the best and celebrated Marvel comic story lines of all time is X-Men “Days of Future Past” (#141-142), published in 1981 and does have an air of Nazism to the dark world of 2013(!). On an alternate timeline Earth of 2013, called Earth-811, there was an assassination of an anti-mutant US Senator by the name of Robert Kelly. His hatred and social campaign to contain and control the Mutants of America was engineered by another Mutant group. This led to his support to the program to develop the Mutant hunting robots, the Sentients, and the Mutant Control Act. His assassination by Mystique was the fuel on the fire and much like the assassination of Kennedy, his earmarked legislation was passed and the Mutants were hunted down and placed into internment camps. The oppression of a certain group of people by a government that uses force to round up the undesirables into camps is a hallmark of the 3rd Reich and oppressive governments. Added to that is the speeches seen in the comic of Senator Kelly rallying against the Mutants that also as a Nazism tone and feel. Speaking to the impact of this storyline was the incorporation of some the comics' setting, title, plot element into the 2014 movie by the same name. Today, the value of The Uncanny X-Men
#141 is about $75.
The Ekos Reich from ST:TOS Episode "Patterns of Force (2x23)"
The USS Emprise is sent by Starfleet to investigate and rescue an Federal culture observer, John Gill, from the planet of Ekos. When in orbit, the Enterprise is attacked by a incoming nuclear missile and when Kirk and Spock beam down to Ekos they are greeted by a terrible sight: Nazis. The alien humanoid society of Ekos as fully replicated 1940’s Nazi Germany and Kirk and Spock immediately suspect John Gill of breaking the Prime Directive. Being that John Gill was a noted and well respected Federation historian with a number of published books, he was ideal to replicate the 3rd Reich on a planet many lightyears from Terra. According to Gill, who was the Fuhrer of these alien space Naizs, the Ekos society was in crisis and Gill injected himself to setup an effective controlling government to stop the chaos.
That government was directly patterned on the 3rd Reich due to 1960’s historical perspective that has been proven wrong that Nazi Germany was one of the most effective governments in Terran history. Adding to the horror of Earth importing Nazism to an alien culture was that the Ekos Reich was suppressing the Zeons, just like the Jews. These humanoid people came from an inter-solar system Class M world near Ekos and the two were enemies. The Zeons living on Ekos were round up and the Ekos Reich was planning on full-scale military invasion of Zeon as a “final solution” to the Ekos/Zeon tensions. I’ve never liked this espiode and it just beyond stupid for a Federation citizen to replicate the whole of Nazi Germany on an alien world with an alien culture. The producers just wanted to set a sci-fi show with Nazis. On a personal note, I cannot image how hard it was for Jewish actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy to wear those terrible Nazi uniforms, a symbol of hatred against the Jewish people. Interestingly, this episode was not aired in Germany, where Nazi symbols are ban under law until 1996 on paid German TV.
The Black Lance from the Wing Commander Universe
In the 1996 Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom
video game, the center piece of the story is an Terran Confederation Special Operation organization known as the Black Lance. During the desperate war against the Kilrathi, all manner of superweapon projects were undertaken to bring about a defeat of the aggressive feline aliens. One of those was the super-soldier “Black Lance” program that would genetically enhance an jack-of-all-trades SPECOPS unit. While seemingly DOA after the war ended in 2669, the Black Lance project continued in secret. By 2673, a masterplan to reshape the human race was in full effect with the Black Lance being the vanguard of the plan. Admiral Tolwyn was concerned with the threat of more alien races and the Terran Confederation needed to be ready. To force the issue, the Black Lance would be engaging in false-flag operations to spark a low-level war between the TC and nearly-independent border worlds. It was helped by Tolwyn that the super-soldiers of the Black Lance would be the Adam and Eve of a new genetically superior human race that would weed out the weaker human stock by breeding genocide…a very Nazistic philosophy.
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
I’ve been a fan of the 1999 OVA Jin-Roh: the Wolf Brigade
for years, but I did not understand the vast universe that the film takes back in until founding FWS. The iconic element of the Kerberos Sega
is the Special Armed Garrison stocktrooper Protect-Gear that is descended from when 3rd Reich occupied Japan in alternated timeline (“Putting on the Reich” trope). While these law enforcement serve an facist Japanese government, they are not fully Nazis, but the look of the armor is so close and Nazi-retro futuristic that the Kerberos Panzer Crops shocktroopers service as an inspiration for the look of futuristic Nazi soldiers and equipment.
It is amazing how complex these armor-wearing special police unit is in the Kerberos Sega
many works across all media type due to the groups-within-groups and the many names associated with the Protect-Gear wearers. This specialized police unit or even paramilitary was formed out of a time of great civil unrest and the Capitol Police formed the Special Armed Garrison to deal with the rebels with heavy weapons, special tactics, and special gear. This “Protect Gear” is more than just ballistic armor; it is a symbol and a psychological weapon of the authorities. Due to the arresting image of the Kerberos Panzer Corps officers in their Protect-Gear, topped off with the red glowing eyes of the IR night vision system, they have become an powerful inspiration that has threaten to overrun the rest of the Kerberos Sega
storylines, characters, and groups.
Terra Prime Movement and Colonel Green from the Star Trek Universe
In the darker times of the Star Trek Earth history, there is a name that is associated with Hitler and the Nazis: Colonel Philip Edward Featherstone Green. After the Atomic Horror/World War III/Eugenics Wars where hundreds of millions are death and millions more sick from radiation a Hitler-like figure: Colonel Philip Green. While much about him has been unexplored in Trek, including where his rank originates from, he is a murder of millions during the events of the 3rd World War. His eco-terrorist committed actions that resulted in 37 million dead when over 600 million were already died from the nuclear exchanges in the 3rd World War. His bloodlust did not stop there. Warlord Colonel Green embarked on an action have been called genocidal with good reason. He and his band of followers murdered thousands suffering with radiation sickness, which he called “impure”, due a dark mission to maintain the purity of the human race. Green was also known as a race traitor for siding with the Enhanced humans like Khan and attacking enemies during negations. After the global peace, Colonel Green would make fiery speeches calling for the culling of the impure as he did in 2056. In 2063, the first official contact with alien happened between a pocket of humans devoted to the first FTL starship and a Vulcan survey ship.
Given the troubled nature of Earth in the post-WWIII era, the records on Colonel Green are incomplete and there is no firm data on his death nor his thoughts on First Contact. In the near hundred years since First Contact, Earth had united and be repaired while attempting to enter into deep space. In 22nd century, Earth had a small population of aliens and there was a militant anti-alien Earth isolationist movement called Terra Prime. While regarded as nuts by most Terrans, the Xindi attack on Earth altered humanities views on aliens. Soon an isolationism gained traction along with xenophobic feelings, causing more support to Terra Prime. In 2155, Terra Prime leader, John Paxton hijacked the asteroid deviation field on Mars to force the Earth government to expel all aliens off of Earth. He was stopped by the NX-01 Enterprise and it is believed this ended Terra Prime.
Next Time on FWS...
Are those toys that acquire randomly throughout childhood that never take root in your life and become a random memory or piece that you cannot fit into playtime scenarios .These toys are lost often for years until a moment arrives that propels to dive onto the internet and research what the hell is this toy? I had this moment a few years ago when I rediscovered these oddball astronaut-soldiers and red-helmeted alien toys at the bottom of my action figure plastic bin from childhood and decided to research just what the hell these things were. After sometime, I found out these these lost toys were connected one of the most hallowed names in toy soldiers: Britains. It seems that from 1981-1987, Britains produced a line of unsuccessful science fiction toy soldiers and vehicles and then it disappeared. In the next installment of Military Sci-Fi Toys
, we will finding out just what the hell is Britains Space toyline?
Very nice post, I am still reading it.ReplyDelete
I was always very curious about this "space nazi" theme, always seeing it as a joke, but they really worked on the concept. More scariar than it is the "Paranormal Nazis"
Nice article. But I think you forgot the rebels from the Metal Slug games :PReplyDelete
Damn! I did! As a serious fan of the AES Neo-Geo, I cannot believe I missed them!ReplyDelete
Oh, well itz ok Will...I look forward to it as an independent article of its own :)Delete
You should read "Ghost Fleet" August Cole and P.W. singer. It's on the military reading list for almost every branch in some capacity and discusses and illustrates a near future conflict. I'd like to hear your thoughts.ReplyDelete
You should read "Ghost Fleet" August Cole and P.W. singer. It's on the military reading list for almost every branch in some capacity and discusses and illustrates a near future conflict. I'd like to hear your thoughts.ReplyDelete
Space Nazis, Insectoid Aliens, what is the difference really?ReplyDelete
Marvel has brought back Hydra's Nazi origins after Captain America: The First Avenger (which was full of old school sci-fi) Prior to that, Mark Miller's first run with The Ultimates was full of Alien + Nazi stuff.ReplyDelete
I think that the Nazis and their ways scare us all in an instinctual level. It showed humanity's high capacity for evil that could be aimed at any group of people, including your own. While I think that it is lazy to use space Nazis variations, it does hit the audience in the gut and raises all sorts of discomfort within people without them knowing it.ReplyDelete
I usually play as the Germans in any WWII game, just because I like their equipment and style. They had a lot to admire militarily. Doesn't mean I like the Nazi party.ReplyDelete
Yeah...and don't forget that noble Prussian element :DReplyDelete
Origins (not element) I mean...ReplyDelete
Well thought out article. Marred only by the language in the introduction.ReplyDelete
To be honest, I think he is right in condemning Nazism and such; I mean I did that too in a post about Wolfenstein II (the 2017 game) and it's questionable marketing scheme.Delete
No fault in condemning Nazis; it’s a well thought out article is marred by gutter language.Delete
The Iron Sky sequel is coming out this year. It's going even further with the conspiracy theory stuff, there's going to be hollow Earth and everything!ReplyDelete
A fine post as always.ReplyDelete
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I'd like to point out that Hitler was tasked by his "beloved" German Army to infiltrate and spy on the DAP at least initially. It wasn't until a little later that he became an official member of it and then turned it into what it became.ReplyDelete
Nazi Germany also discovered the connection between smoking and health issues and launched the first no-smoking campaign, long before anyone else. They also developed the first night-vision system.
Nazis make good enemies because they're the epitome of evil, plus they look good doing it. But I do agree they're a hot button and great care needs to be taken with them.
To be honest: Whenever "Nazis" start to show up in any TV-show or other fictional format this is typically a sign that the writers have exhausted their creative limits and are desperately looking for something "new" that they can add to the storyline.ReplyDelete
It's like raising a white flag: "Sorry guys, we just can't come up with any interesting ideas anymore!". 99% of the time it's just stupid and/or boring.
"The First Order" from Star Wars is such a sign, along with "Ivar's cult" in Vikings or even the images of "Daenery's Emire" from the final of "Game of Thrones"
It's like having the archetypical "black criminal/drug dealer" and the "white righteous cop" in your storyline. It's basically an "unconditional surrender".
If you want to include these themes into your storyline in a meaningful way then have to do your homework and really understand the underlying social mechanics that have created these images in the first place. And then you have to solve the even more difficult part of waving these (historic) social mechanics into a novel storyline, so that the images have a meaning.
"The Wire" is for example the only TV show I know, that was able to do this with the last theme that I've mentioned.
Star Wars Episode IV to VI on the other hand is basically modelled after WWII dynamics. And by the way: The Empire's uniforms are mostly "Japanese" not German.
However, the idea of the "Stormtroopers" (aka "imperial Waffen-SS") works because the "Waffen-SS" was *also* a special military branche beside the normal Army that received preferential threatment, had a very strong esprit de corps and were basically known for being more "motivated" than "tactially versed" - just remember the initial scene in Episode IV when dozens of Stormtroopers are killed while boarding Leia's ship.
Also, the images from Nazi Germany were not used exclusively for the Empire! If you look closer you'll actually notice that the "Rebel" rank insignia are rather similar to "German SS" insignia and the final "medal award" scene of Episode IV is very much modelled after a German propaganda event.
Now, why are these images *gripping* while the "First Order" is just lame?
Because the "First Order" uses the Nazi theme just to indicate: "These are the very, very evil guys", while the "Stormtrooper" image conveys the idea that: "Here is an 'elite' military unit whose devotion is basically bought by setting them 'above' the normal Army and giving them preferential treatment and superior equipment".
I also do understand Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers" interpretation as a strong "Anti-Heinlein" movie on Heinlein's ideas about how a society should look like (just as "Full-Metal Jacket" is in essence an "Anti-War" movie). And here this theme actually works, because both Heinlein's Starship Tropper society and Germany in the early 20th Century have been completely militarized societies.
So please do me a favour: Stay away from "(Space) Nazis" unless you have a really cleaver idea about it.