Walter: Fucking Germans. Nothing ever changes. Fucking Nazis. Donnie: They were Nazis, Dude? Walter: Well come on, Donnie! They were threatening castration! Are we gonna split hairs here? Dude: Walter, they weren't Nazis. They kept saying they believed in nothing. They were nihilists. Walter: Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
What happens when Those Wacky Nazis is too good a stereotype to be confined to period settings. Even though World War II is long past, the ugly shadow of Nazism endures, and inevitably colors perceptions of the German people. So, in many post-1945 settings (and Fantasy Counterpart Cultures), German characters will display gratuitous Nazi traits like goose-stepping or greeting their leader with a Roman salute, sometimes when they otherwise have nothing to do with Nazi Germany. (Note that much of this is actually banned in Real Life modern Germany.)
Can even apply in World War II works - large sections of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe, not to mention plenty of civilians, didn't agree with the Nazi Party's ideals, and some actively opposed them. Even if the Just Following Orders excuse might not clear people of complicity, it's a far cry from personally being Nazis. Indeed, for the vast majority of the population, consent with the regime was far easier than subtle opposition or active resistance, mainly because of everyday needs such as career prospects, sustaining the family and not arousing suspicion (which, let's remember, could easily get you arrested). Not to mention that several heroic figures like Oskar Schindler were technically members of the Nazi party themselves, even if they came to oppose them in secret.
Also, the more stereotypically German characters are (even around other Germans), the more likely they are to be Nazis. Especially beware if they start speaking Gratuitous German.
It is especially prevalent in Eastern Europe, since the last time German soldiers did pay the place a visit, it wasn't pretty.
See also Nazi Nobleman for a trope caused partly by this one, or Godwin's Law, when someone is deemed a Nazi regardless of being German or not, or Music to Invade Poland to, when music that is from or is influenced by Germany is accused of being Nazist, as well as Argentina Is Naziland, for the only other once-fascist country to Never Live It Down.
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Germany from Axis Powers Hetalia subverts this, as he is shown not liking some of the orders he was given (reacting with shock and disgust) and being a generally sympathetic guy whom fans adore.
General Blue, one of the high ranking officers of the Red Ribbon Army in Dragon Ball, is not only given the appearance of a SA officer, Blond hair, Blue Eyes, superhuman capabilities, and psychic powers, but he even went as far as to say "Auf Wiedersehen" at one point in the manga, a phrase that is German for "goodbye." Of course, considering how the FUNimation dub apparently gave him aBritish accent, it seems less obvious.
Subverted in the board game Tannhäuser. Even though "The Reich" is obviously based on the Nazis stylistically (tons of leather, a blond-haired/blue-eyed, whip-toting Femme Fatale as one of the playable characters, and an obsession with the occult), the game actually takes place in an alternate history where WWI has been going strong for 35 years, WWII never took place and the Nazis never existed.
Its title is actually pretty accurate, since "Deutsches Reich" was the official name of of all German nation states between 1871 and 1945, which derived from the "Heiliges Römisches Reich" (the Holy Roman Empire).
One of Harry Enfield's sketch characters was a German student visiting Britain. Every time someone mentioned anything to do with WWII (and he would always cause it to be brought up by doing things such as asking why there are modern buildings next to pre-WWII buildings on a tour of London) he would start off by apologising for his country's past actions, but would always end up betraying his Nazi sympathies.
Played straight in Hellboy, where pretty much every German character who appears turns out to have something to do with the Nazis, but averted in the spin-off B.P.R.D. series, where one of the main characters is the heroic (though occasionally absent-minded) ghost-in-a-bag Johann Krauss. Kate Corrigan has also recently started a relationship with a German policeman.
A Zig-Zagged trope in Preacher: Jesse Custer, the protagonist, befriends an old German WWII veteran. Initially it looks like this trope is averted: the old man tells Jesse he merely did his duty during a time of war and was never a Nazi. But then we find out he's lying: he actually was a member of the SS and killed many innocent people. However, the old man now repents his actions and asks Jesse to absolve him, but Jesse refuses.
Johann Schmidt, AKA Red Skull, served as a former member of the Nazi Party during World War II in the Captain America comics and also pretty much every single medium (except the 1990 movie, where he was an Italian facist whose only involvement with the German Nazis is his partaking in the Ubermensch project.)
Astérix: In "Asterix and the Goths" the Goths are depicted as villains. They kidnap Getafix and bring him to Germania. When they are kept waiting at the border, their chieftain starts swearing, one of the swear words being a swastika. In later Asterix albums the Goths are depicted in a more sympathetic light, as artist Albert Uderzo regretted depicting them as being evil. He apologized to his readers and explained that "Asterix and The Goths" was made a mere 20 years after the end of World War Two.
The Billy Wilder comedy One, Two, Three features a Coca Cola executive in West Germany during 1961 who has a former S.S. member as his assistant; one scene shows his employees acting like complete robots when issued orders.
Euro Trip. Scottie meets the hot German girl's family. Her kid brother goose-steps and does Nazi salutes while his dad isn't looking.
Inglourious Basterds: Subverted. The Basterds insist that all German soldiers are Nazis and carve Swastikas in the foreheads of the survivors. In spite of this, many of the Germans they encounter are just regular soldiers with families and loyalty to their comrades. The Basterds do, however, recognize the capacity for some Germans to be allies. They have recruited at least one former German soldier and work with a collaborator.
Invoked by the co-pilot in Memphis Belle, who gives this as his justification when wanting to bomb a target (a factory that is a near a hospital and a school) through thick clouds, while the pilot wants to go around for another pass.
Averted in Watchmen- German-born Adrian Veidt actually uses "practically a Nazi" as an insult toward another character. But then again, Veidt's father was a Nazi, and this is why Veidt himself ends up committing mass murder on a grand scale- not because he absorbed his father's beliefs, but because he felt a great deal of family guilt due to his father's associations with the Nazi party and felt that he had to save the world himself to make up for it. And by his standards, saving the world meant killing enough people to scare the survivors out of nuclear war.
Yahoo Movies makes this generalization about the boarding school in the film version of The Confusions of Young Törless. Despite the novel being set in the 19th century. Beineberg and Reiting are vicious bullies in Prussian-looking school uniforms who spout some Fascist-sounding rhetoric, and they are Austrian, but the First World War hasn't even happened yet. The director makes some obvious choices to play up the Nazi parallels in the story's conflict, but the school is not a Nazi boarding school.
Subverted in The Pianist, where Wilm Hosenfeld, despite being a captain of the German army, helped main character Szpilman escape from death and regularly gave him food. The Real LifeWilm Hosenfeld also fits into the subversion, having helped hide and rescued many Jews.
Averted in Beer Fest where every conceivable German stereotype except Nazism is represented by the opposing team.
The scenes where they take someone to the back, and we hear a gunshot without any of the Germans so much as looking in that direction, does kinda smell of Nazism (or Stalinism).
Notably averted in Sam Peckinpah's 1977 movie Cross Of Iron. Unlike most English-language WWII movies, this one actually depicts the war from the point of view of the German army, featuring German soldiers who are not particularly fond of either the war or the Nazi Party. Even though it's directed by Peckinpah and stars the American actor James Coburn (as a Wehrmacht corporal), Cross of Iron was an Anglo-German production based on a German novel, which might explain why its depiction of Wehrmacht soldiers goes far beyond two-dimensional Nazi stereotypes.
Averted in Captain America: The First Avenger. Nazis/Hitler are only mentioned a few times and the main conflict is against the Red Skull and HYDRA, who broke off from the Nazis early on in the movie (although not that they were much better). Additionally, German born scientist Dr. Erskine works with the Allies and develops the supersoldier serum. Later he tells Steve that a lot of people forget the first country to be invaded and fall victim to the Nazis was, in fact, Germany.
Averted in The Reader, where most of the characters are Germans born after the war and thus couldn't have been Nazis; in fact, as Schlink has Michael point out in the novel, the younger generation's willingness to come to terms with the past became a major cause of the generation gap in 1960s West Germany:
[W]e explored it, subjected it to trial by daylight, and condemned it to shame ... We all condemned our parents to shame, even if the only charge we could bring was that after 1945 they had tolerated the perpetrators in their midst.
The Monster Squad attempts to subvert this, but it actually comes across fairly straight. The neighborhood kids are all afraid of the "Scary German Guy" and suspect that he's a Nazi. It turns out that he's a kindly Jewish Holocaust survivor. So... all Germans are Nazis except the Jewish ones.
Death Race 2000 has "The Swastika Sweetheart" Matilda The Hun from Milwaukee, an American city known for its large German population.
Django Unchained has the complete inversion Dr. King Schultz, who is very German, vehemently opposed to slavery and probably the single most decent individual in any work by Quentin Tarantino.
The Spanish Inn (L' Auberge Espagnole): Wendy's brother (an Englishman) tries to amuse a German student by comparing the German reputation for order with Hitler and starts goose stepping around the room, much to the annoyance of the German student.
In the Louis de Funès film Le Grand Restaurant, he plays a restaurant chef. He greets a German guest by speaking some German, but unfortunately shadows on his face make him resemble Hitler. The German gets frightened, but doesn't inform Mr. Septime that he looks like Der Fuehrer.
The Roi-Tanners in Bored of the Rings are tall and blond, speak a German version of Poirot Speak, and wear horned helmets, lederhosen and toothbrush mustaches. They are said by Stomper to make a habit of waging territorial war on neighboring lands and to have "summer camps for their neighbors handsomely fitted out with the most modern oven and shower facilities."
Ter Borcht from Maximum Ride is this. He's a mad doctor, with a suspiciously German accent, who works for a woman who believes that the world's population must be reduced by one half.
It's a lot worse then this. The antagonists are all but stated to actually be Nazis. In fact, the aforementioned woman is old enough to have lived through World War II.
A plot point in the James Bond novel Moonraker: A German technician's last actions before he commits suicide are to salute and yell "Heil!" It turns out that Hugo Drax and his men are in fact German soldiers who have been hiding in England since World War II.
Julie Hecht's short story "Perfect Vision" is about a woman who is convinced her German optician is a Nazi. She's wrong, as she briefly realizes toward the end.
Robert Conroy's 1901 might very well be called All Germans Are Nazis: The Book. Because every German in it is and acts as such. Despite the book being an Alternate History book depicting a war between the United States and the Kaiserreich in 1901. It even ends with a Captain Ersatz of Hitler seizing power in Germany after the Kaiser flees to Denmark, congratulating himself that he can blame the German defeat on the Jews.
Played partly straight in Harry TurtledoveWorldwar series. Many non-German characters refer to Germans as Nazis or "Nazi bastards". Despite some Germans clearly having issues with the official policy of the Reich, they never try to explain that they're not Nazis. The Race, who don't care one way or another, just call all Germans "Deutsche".
Strangely, many Soviet characters do this as well, even though the most likely term they'd use would be "fascists".
Averted in Hogan's Heroes, which actually takes place in Nazi Germany. Many members of the Underground are Germans, or at least more sympathetic to Hogan's crew than they are to the Nazis and the Gestapo. Schultz doesn't particularly care who wins the war, as long as he doesn't get shot or sent to the Eastern Front, and several of the actual officers are portrayed as sympathetic characters stuck in bad positions.
Frasier ("A Man, a Plan, and a Gal: Julia" episode):
Niles: Oh, it's just temperamental. My Gaggenau is German-engineered. It probably needs more power than my building's old wiring can give it. Martin: Leave it to the Germans. Even their appliances crave power.
In the infamous Fawlty Towers episode "The Germans", some Germans are visiting Basil Fawlty's hotel. He tells everyone "Don't mention the war". However Basil (who, for a change, is actually concussed rather than simply rude) manages to make reference to the war in almost every sentence he subsequently speaks to them. It's subverted here: the Germans are never cast as Nazis (and find the constant references upsetting to the point Basil's actions reduce one of them to tears), but are just trying to enjoy their holidays in peace.
This is discussed in Band of Brothers. The soldiers are frustrated that, as they close in on Germany, every German claims they're not a Nazi. This feeling comes to a head in episode 9 when they find a concentration camp just outside a German town and the residents say they didn't know about it. As Webb puts it, "Are you going to tell me that you never smelled the fucking stench?!" In the final episode Easy Company occupies Berchtesgaden, where they say they can finally call everyone in the town a Nazi. note For the info, you had to be a full blown member of the Nazi Party to be allowed to live in Berchtesgaden.
On Get Smart KAOS high-up Siegfried went very heavy on the movie-Nazi shtick, especially when running a WWII-era prison camp for captured CONTROL agents (named "Camp Gitchee-Goomee-Noonee-Wawa".) Inexplicably, he's revealed to have grown up in Florida.
Siegfried's left-hand stooge Shtarker (sic) claims to have been the track champion of the Third Reich (although he seems terribly young for that), and the second man out of El Alamein (right behind Siegfried.)
In the Law & Order episode "Evil Breeds", Briscoe and Green suspect an elderly German of murdering the victim of the week, who had survived a concentration camp, because she identified him as a guard and he was now threatened with deportation. As they investigate his apartment, the man's son accuses them of assuming this trope — "Not every German was a Nazi!" ("Yeah, they were Just Following Orders," Briscoe replies.)
Bit of Reality Subtext here: Briscoe, like Jerry Orbach, is German Jewish on his father's side (Polish Catholic on his mother's), and is of a generation where this kind of bitterness would be realistic.
Dwight Schrute from The Office is clearly from a German background (possibly by way of Amish or some other German group from rural Pennsylvania). As a result, there's the occasional joke about a grandfather in Argentina he can't visit without protests from the Shoah Foundation.
In Made In Canada, with the possible exception of Alan Roy, most people at Pyramid/Prodigy make snarky asides about the Germans and their innate aggression despite the fact that sales TO Germany are pretty much the only thing keeping the creditors at bay. At one point, a German character wanted to know what Richard meant when he said "And you guys would know" when the man said something about Europeans being easily dominated.
For the subject of "extracts From DVDs that would never sell" on Mock the Week.
Hugh Dennis: (in German accent) Welcome to The Best of German "Who Do You Think You Are?" So, your grandfather was a... OK, we'll leave it there.
A. Whitney Brown: But it [newly independent Lithuania] is in basically the same position as the rest of eastern Europe, the good news being that the Soviet Union is falling apart, the bad news being that Germany's getting back together. Now I'm not saying the Germans are bad neighbors, historically speaking, but let's just say they get a little restless every couple of generations. Believe me, a lot of countries are nervous. France, for example, offered to surrender.
In the 2002 Christmas Episode of They Think It's All Over, the teams had to give the clues for the final round, "The Name Game", in mime. One of guest captain Steve Davis' names was German tennis star Boris Becker; Jonathan Ross' clue involved miming playing tennis, then putting his finger on his upper lip and giving a Nazi salute. Meanwhile, one of opposing captain Gary Lineker's names was German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher; Rory McGrath likewise mimed driving a car and then put his finger on his lip and did a Nazi salute.
The German band Rammstein has been criticized as being fascist sympathizers for their dark and sometimes militaristic imagery. The cover for the album "Herzeleid" depicted the band members shirtless. Critics accused the band of selling themselves as "poster boys for the master race" and an alternate cover is used in North America. Apparently, being German and bare-chested automatically makes you a supremacist. The irony of course is, they're on the left side of the spectrum. Their song "Links-2-3-4" specifically was written to counter Nazi accusations.
There were also accusations over the video for "Stripped" using clips from Olympia, the notoriously Nazi Leni Riefenstahl's documentary on the 1936 Olympics.
And because there's no 'All Russians East Germans Are Commies' trope, when they haven't been accused of being Nazis they've been accused of being communists, since they hail from the east side of the Berlin Wall.
There's a bit of truth to that. A few members of the band have shown themselves as having a lot of Ostalgia.
A lot of Scandinavian and German metal bands that have Viking influences are also accused of this. The Nazis can be blamed for this, due to their fetishization of Germanic/Norse imagery.
The classic German group Kraftwerk have been accused of being either Nazis or communists at one point or another.
The cover of The Man-Machine album didn't help this one. They're wearing red shirts with black ties, standing rigidly on a staircase looking to the right and surrounded by Constructivist fonts and graphics.
The industrial metal band Hanzel Und Gretyl actually plays this trope up for shock value, especially on their album Uber Alles with tracks such as Third Reich From The Sun, though their music actually is a parody of Nazism, and they are actually Americans.
Sascha in KMFDM parodies fascist image at times, but the body of political commentary in his lyrics show that he certainly isn't one.
Played with in Bally's Mata Hari pinball; though no Nazis are depicted in the game, some versions of the backglass art include a dagger with an inscription used by the Waffen SS troops from World War II.
Averted in Wolfenstein. While the rest of the games are primarily about eradicating Hitler and his many minions, the 2009 release finally shows you another side. You do kill tons of Nazis in the game, but most of your allies are German resistance fighters.
Freaky Flyers has Traci Torpedoes, as well as her supporters back in her home country.
In The Saboteur, one of the missions Sean does is rescue a spy for the people fighting against the Nazi's. It later turns out said spy is a full blooded German who is using his skills to help take down the Nazis. Sean invokes this trope by asking why he is fighting against his people, which the man replies that they are not his people, finding their actions despicable, and is tired of everyone stereotyping every German as so.
Unlike many Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act story, Command & Conquer: Red Alert completely averts this — removing Hitler in 1924 works, and is enough to save Germany from the worst excesses of expansionism, militarism and racism. By the time of the second Great Warnote Some time in the early 50s/late 40s, probably. The game doesn't really say when it takes place, although the weight of evidence points to the war being later than our World War II, they are a staunch and leading member of the western alliance system.
Scandinavia and the World averts this trope in an interesting way. Nazi Germany and Modern Germany seem to be two separate entities (as opposed to the latter being simply the former after a very thorough makeover), evidenced by the fact that they both can appear in the same comic. (Wherein Modern Germany is outright terrified of his fascist counterpart.)
The German comic German Superhero #1: Der Anfang explores how a German Captain Geographic would likely provoke this trope even for fellow German citizens. Here the superheroes German and Germania (while both separately being on the hunt for actual neo-Nazis) meet for the first time, and a Let's You and Him Fight situation immediately ensues. Then, on the next page:
German and Germania simultaneously: You think I am a Nazi?
Subverted in Spinnerette with Greta Gravity. She is a villain, and she is German note Well, actually German-Brazilian, but she shows of her German heritage quite proudly by playing up the Oktoberfest stereotype., but she is not a Nazi, which becomes evident when she and Dr. Universe have to interact with the Nazi Grandpa Kugelblitz and Elite Mook Maus, who plan to clone Hitler in order to establish the Fourth Reich. Dr. Universe even points out this trope's fallacy in the end:
Even if the Hitler clone would choose to become a dictator, the German people wouldn't tolerate it for a minute. They know their history.
College Humor lampoons this in the Gunter Granz sketches. The eponymous character is a German marketing expert who joined the staff at College Humor, but turns out be a vehemently antisemitic Neo-Nazi, and is usually at odds with the Israeli-born Amir. At the end of both sketches he seems to subvert the trope, as he expresses regret for what happened in the past, but then he double subverts it as it turns out that he was being Nazist after all.
Used as a joke on Family Guy. At an international food festival, the German booth takes over the Polish booth and starts eying the Czech one (of course, it should've been the other way around). Also, when Stewie and Brian tour Munich:
Tour Guide: Besides its beautiful historic architecture, Munich was the home of many great writers, such as Thomas Mann. You will find more on Germany's contribution to the arts in the pamphlets we have provided.
Brian: Yeah, uh, about the pamphlets, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 and 1945. There's just a big gap.
Tour Guide:(after some arguing about with Brian he shouts:) "EVERYONE WAS ON VACATION! On your left is Munich's first city hall, erected in 15—
Heinrich von Marzipan from Codename: Kids Next Door is an obvious Nazi allegory, counterpart to Number 5's Indiana Jones (he is a parody of Jones' rival Rene Belloq, a Frenchman in cahoots with the Nazis). Then things got weird. There's also the principal and vice principal of the school.
The Simpsons assumes this at times, too and even makes it appear as if Germans are evil by nature. In a Halloween episode, "Treehouse Of Horror XVII", Homer is turned into a giant insatiable blob and starts eating people. He eats some (clearly 40-something, American) Germans at a German festival (Oktoberfest):
German1: What did we Germans ever do to deserve this?
German2: [glares at German1]
German1: Oh, right.
In another episode, Homer and Marge go to an Oktoberfest celebration together, and Homer remarks after drinking some good beer, "Ah, the Germans...you just can't stay mad at 'em."
Yet another episode cleverly plays with this trope via Abe Simpson's usual hilariously outdated word view.
Abe (to Walter Hottenhoffer, who is German): What did you do during the war?
Abe (still suspicious) Funny how many Germans say that these days...
Inverted in the Cape Feare episode when Sideshow Bob is questioned by the parole board about the tattoo on his chest 
Lawyer: But what about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn't it say, "Die Bart, Die?"
Sideshow Bob: No, that's German for "The Bart, The." [The spectators laugh, understanding]
Officer: No one who speaks German could be an evil man.
In "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" German industrials buy Mr. Burns' nuclear power plant. At first the workers are suspicious, but they change their mind. Lenny even says: "Sure they made mistakes in the past, but that is why pencils have erasers." Finally the Germans deem the power plant to be unsafe and sell it back to Mr. Burns, who demands a large sum. They reluctantly give in to his offer, but warn him with a sinister stare that "We Germans aren't all smile and sunshine", as threatening music starts playing.
In "Bart's Inner Child" there is a joke that the Germans started a "Do As We Say Festival", after 1946.
In "Lady Bouvier's Lover" Mr. Burns' single relative is an old aggressive German officer wearing a pickelhaube.
In "Itchy And Scratchy Land" the guards have a German accent.
In "You Only Move Twice" the Bond villain Hank Scorpio is said to like German beer.
Lisa the "Clobber Girl" defeats a German zeppelin in the second segment of "Treehouse Of Horror X".
In "Treehouse Of Horror XI" Kaiser Wilhelm is described as being "the most evil German of them all."
This is something of a Genius Bonus - after all, Hitler wasn't German.
Klaus from American Dad! invokes this trope somewhat, claiming to be incredibly sadistic due to being German.
Subverted in "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" when he gets horrified looks after mentioning that his grandfather was a conductor at Auschwitz.
Klaus: No, no, no! He ran the kiddy train at the zoo! (sighs) You know, it's a big town. There's other stuff there.
Also, when visiting a site of the D-Day landings, Klaus and Roger comment on the brave young men fighting for their country. Except Klaus is talking about Germans, and Roger about Americans.
When Francine is labelling things in the house to help Steve study spelling she labels Klaus with "anti-semite" at gives a plaintive hey then subverting by saying "That's how you spell that" in an interested tone.
For reference, Klaus was an East German skier whose mind was swapped with a goldfish in order to prevent "the Reds" from winning the Winter Olympics.
Futurama invokes this in the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," where Trekkies completely associate Germany with the "Nazi planet episode".* By the way, said episode (the Star Trek episode, not the Futurama episode) wasn't dubbed into German until 1995, and not broadcasted in German free TV until 2011, of course precisely because of the Nazi theme.
In the Justice LeagueTime Travel episode "The Savage Time", Wonder Woman (who has been sent back to 1942 with most of the remaining league) helps an American secret agent rescue an undercover spy and crypto agent from a nazi prison. The spy turns out to be a native German working against the nazi regime.
Subverted in the episode "Skytanic" of Archer. The German executive officer, complete with an eyepatch and a scar on his cheek is automatically assumed to be a Nazi and the bomber when an actual bomb is discovered. This all turns out to be wrong. Also, he lost his eye while rescuing a Jewish girl from a gang of skinheads, and is the only one on board who knows how to disarm the bomb.
Played straight with Dr. Krieger, the mad scientist in charge of ISIS research who often performs horrific, Dr. Mengele-style experiments on people without their consent. His father was a Nazi scientist who fled to Brazil.