Created By: unclerupee on August 13, 2011 Last Edited By: unclerupee on August 16, 2011
Troped

Piggybacking On Hitler

The bad guy joins Hitler purely to use Nazi resources/manpower for his own schemes

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Trope
A villain joins the Nazis during World War II, impresses Hitler enough to get his own squadron/unit, then uses these resources for his own gain. Often sees Hitler as just another obstacle to overcome later. This trope also works if you substitute Hitler/Nazis with any other historical dictator (Stalin, Kim Jong Il, Pol Pot etc), but those examples are less prevalent.

Compare/contrast with Dragon with an Agenda, here you don't need to be The Dragon, and with this trope you get an instantly recogniseable yardstick of evil for the villain to compare to and steal funds from.

Examples

  • Indiana Jones films like this trope. First Belloq in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, then Walter Donovan in Last Crusade.
  • In the latest Captain America movie, the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) sets up Hydra like this.
  • Sebastian Shaw in X-Men First Class. He was just there to experiment on captive mutants.
  • Rasputin in the Hellboy film.
  • Herr Kleiser in The Ultimates. He was Captain America's chief nemesis during the second world war, but was actually an alien known as a Chitauri (aka a Skrull) that ate the real Kleiser and impersonated him, backing Hitler by giving the Nazis advanced weaponry. Really, this was just a scheme to soften the Earth up for a full-scale invasion.
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise 2-part episode "Storm Front", a race from the 29th century find themselves back in time on 20th century Earth, during World War 2. They side with the Nazis, offering to build advanced weapons in exchange for the resources they need to build a time machine.
  • In the Justice League 3-part episode "The Savage Time", the immortal Vandal Savage in the present builds a time machine and sends a laptop back to himself during World War 2, containing future history and schematics for technology. Vandal then joins the Nazis and rapidly rises through the ranks until he usurps Hitler himself, becoming the new Fuehrer. He didn't really care about Nazi ideals, he just wanted to use them to conquer the world for himself.
  • In the Red5 comic book series Atomic Robo, Robo's (arguably) arch nemesis Baron Von Helsingard uses this trope to try and gain ultimate power, and gains quite a following in the process.
    • And later in the series, two leading members of Hitler's Weird Science division are revealed to be secretly working for the cloned brain of Helsingard all along.
  • Dean Koontz's Frankenstein novels have this as part of Victor Helios's (aka. Victor Frankenstein's) backstory.

Examples Involving Other Dictators

  • In the alternate history timeline of Command And Conquer: Red Alert, Kane and his Brotherhood of Nod are using Stalin's Soviet Union to get to power.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • August 13, 2011
    KingZeal
    • Sebastian Shaw in X Men First Class. He was just there to experiment on captive mutants.
  • August 13, 2011
    BuckRivera
    Love the title.

    Weren't there aliens in ST Enterprise who did this? I'm fuzzy on the details. Maybe it was the other way around.
  • August 13, 2011
    KingZeal
    Herr Kleiser in The Ultimates. He was Captain America's chief nemesis during the second world war, but was actually an alien known as a Chitauri (aka a Skrull) that ate the real Kleiser and impersonated him, backing Hitler by giving the Nazis advanced weaponry. Really, this was just a scheme to soften the Earth up for a full-scale invasion.
  • August 13, 2011
    KamenZero
    Like the title as well, but description could be changed to include any organization, other than just Those Wacky Nazis.
  • August 13, 2011
    Bisected8
    If they have noble goals they might be the Token Good Teammate.
  • August 13, 2011
    BuckRivera
    About extending this trope beyond Nazis - I think both would be justified. I bet there are enough examples even for the narrow version of the trope. You could do both as individual tropes (with this being the subtrope).
  • August 13, 2011
    dalek955
  • August 13, 2011
    Koncur
    To elaborate on what Buck Rivera brought up:
    • In the Star Trek Enterprise 2-part episode "Storm Front", a race from the 29th century find themselves back in time on 20th century Earth, during World War 2. They side with the Nazis, offering to build advanced weapons in exchange for the resources they need to build a time machine.

    • In the Justice League 3-part episode "The Savage Time", the immortal Vandal Savage in the present builds a time machine and sends a laptop back to himself during World War 2, containing future history and schematics for technology. Vandal then joins the Nazis and rapidly rises through the ranks until he usurps Hitler himself, becoming the new Fuehrer. He didn't really care about Nazi ideals, he just wanted to use them to conquer the world for himself.
  • August 13, 2011
    TwinBird
    ...there's got to be a more general trope here.
  • August 13, 2011
    unclerupee
    What if I just add something like "This trope also works if you substitute Hitler for a fictional-Hitler-counterpart, but Your Mileage May Vary"

    Also on Dragon With An Agenda, all the examples there seem to indicate a Dragon with an agenda that hinges on the Big Bad's plan, or at least an agenda that will be completed when the Big Bad's plan is completed. My trope has the Dragon have an agenda that doesn't even depend on whatever Hitler's doing at the time.
  • August 13, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    Dean Koontz's Frankenstein novels have this as part of Victor Helios's (aka. Victor Frankenstein's) backstory.
  • August 13, 2011
    SomeSortOfTroper
    ^^ To be more general, I think is to include other historical dictators. This trope works when it works because it manages to give your villain an automatic sense of evil, an obvious source of funds and the chance to compare your character's evil to another evil. Maybe your original has standards or maybe they are so bad even Hitler thinks they go too far.

    This could work with Stalin or Kim Jong Il or Pol Pot (although I think a guy who tried to force everyone to be farmers isn't going to be great for funding for your mutant cyborg project). I think we can still call it Piggybacking On Hitler though.

    The obvious difference from Dragon With An Agenda here- they don't have to be The Dragon. Plus using a real life historical figure makes a big difference to all those points I mentioned above.
  • August 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Variation: in Star Trek TOS a Federation historian introduces Nazi-ism to a planet, making it their hat, because he believes it was the most efficient form of government.
  • August 14, 2011
    unclerupee
    I've added a bit more to the description, does that sound good now?
  • August 15, 2011
    unclerupee
    OK tweaked even more. I think that looks good now...
  • August 15, 2011
    Generality
    Inverted in Monster. A band of neo-nazis attempts to recruit Johan as their spokesperson because he is blond, attractive, and very charismatic. He turns them down because, basically, they aren't ambitious enough: he doesn't want to restrict his genocide to just minorities and foreigners.
  • August 15, 2011
    Sol9000
    Looks Epic. *Gives a Hat*

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