->''"Waiting to put on a black shirt.\\
Waiting to weed out the weaklings.\\
Waiting to smash in their windows\\
And kick in their doors.\\
Waiting for the FinalSolution\\
To strengthen the strain."''
-->-- '''Music/PinkFloyd''', "[[Music/TheWall Waiting for the Worms"]]

Black Shirts are closet EvilMinions yearning for the day the villain brings about his [[TheEmpire Empire of Evil]]. In the meantime, they'll complain about the current "decadent and corrupt" government to anyone who won't roll their eyes and to some people who will. Once the villain starts recruiting, these guys are in line before LesCollaborateurs have finished breakfast.

The threat that Black Shirts represent is a latent one. While they're harmless on their own or in peacetime, they quickly organize into a formidable force in service of the BigBad. Heroes are [[SlaveToPR nominally]] obliged not to kill them, but even the MessianicArchetype would be hard pressed to make them [[MookFaceTurn turn to the side of good]]. What's more, they completely agree with the EvilOverlord's agenda, no matter how cruel, inhuman or insane -- even if it means that they'll end up dying themselves by its conclusion [[BlindObedience (a fact they usually ignore).]] While LesCollaborateurs are greedy enough that they can be bribed into helping the good guys, Black Shirts [[IControlMyMinionsThrough do it for fanaticism]] and can't be swayed by mere money. Against them, only force will ultimately stop them and you'll know they'll show no mercy in a heartbeat if they think they can get away with it, so get ready to get tough with them.

They frequently serve the fairly useful purpose of explaining just how the villain got so much support overnight (namely, it was always there, the villain just managed to lead them) and, on the other hand, add a bit of NightmareFuel to a happy ending -- unless they have been all killed or otherwise had their minds changed, the villain's ideology is still ''viable'' in the setting…

[[WriterOnBoard Authors with an agenda]] will often make them into a StrawmanPolitical for whatever ideology they dislike, and top it off by having them led by a StrawHypocrite. Some character types like the AlphaBitch or the JerkJock can become Black Shirts when presented with the right opportunity.

Named after the uniform worn by the [[UsefulNotes/FascistItaly Italian fascists]] and by their ineffectual [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Union_of_Fascists British imitators]]. [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany The Nazis]] did the same thing with brown shirts (who were replaced with the actually black-shirted SS after the Nazis actually took power and the brownshirts [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness had outlived their usefulness]]), and one American fascist movement wore silver shirts. A variety of other lesser-known fascist movements also copied this pattern of wearing a uniform with a specific color shirt that became the nickname of their followers, such as the blueshirts of the somehow even ''more'' ineffectual [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Fascists first attempt at British fascism]] and the greenshirts of the Romanian [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Guard Iron Guard]] (who like the Nazi brownshirts were [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness disposed of once no longer useful to the fascist dictatorship]]). Needless to say, this trope is TruthInTelevision, since every distasteful ideology has always had followers, and of course, uniforms are a very easy way of enforcing conformity, as practically ''any'' organised group from store employees to the Boy Scouts to, y'know, ''armies'' can attest to.[[note]]This is '''''not''''' to equate any of these latter groups with any of the former, just in case [[ThatCameOutWrong that got interpreted poorly]].[[/note]]

Also see TheQuisling, DayOfTheJackboot and SecretPolice.

Unrelated to RedShirt and MauveShirt, though legions of Black Shirts can make useful {{Mooks}} for CannonFodder.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Interestingly enough, ''Manga/{{MAR}}'' manages to pull this one off with a nice HeelFaceTurn at the end of it. Ash has actually joined the Chess Pieces to protect the children he loves and despite Ginta telling him that Phantom just wants to kill everyone, he knows this and it isn't until his strongest [=ARMs=] are overpowered and defeated that he finally admits defeat and completes the turn. Letting Ginta know that he's leaving it in the boy's capable hands to protect the kids in his place.
* In ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'', the corrupt administration in TheFederation has its own black shirts.
* The cult of Kira in ''Manga/DeathNote'', [[spoiler:who actually appear in the manga ''after'' Kira's defeated]]. Light also thought Matsuda was this. [[spoiler:Five bullets later, Light was no longer so sure.]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Large swaths of the MarvelUniverse's general populace. It is surprising when we see {{Muggles}} side with mutants and the like.... Though they don't show up that often, the Sons of the Serpent are basically Marvel's version of the KKK, and they actively recruit among the ordinary population. Racial or religious minorities, mutants, whoever: they pretty much hate everyone.
* Pro-Nazi Bunds were a common foe of the ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica in UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks.
* In ''ComicBook/SupermanBirthright'', Superman's first foes are Black Shirts working for Luthor, who truly believe Luthor's theory that Superman is an evil alien invader.
* A Creator/GarthEnnis ''War Story'', "Condors", features an Irish Greenshirt, who supports the closest thing Ireland had to a true fascist, Eoin O'Duffy, fighting for [[UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar Franco in the Spanish Civil War.]]
* A good version is seen in ''ComicBook/PlanetHulk'', where the Imperial resistance's morale is bolstered when rumors surface of a mysterious green goliath who put a scar on the Red King's face the first time he entered the ring as a gladiator. The captions put it best, describing how they don't know their peoples' warrior history because those days are long gone, that their fighting streak ended with their fathers' fathers. They don't know how to fight, but all of a sudden... they ''do''.
* ''ComicBook/ThereforeRepent'': The Splitters who side with the psychopathic angels against LaResistance.
* Franchise/DocSavage takes on the Silver Shirt bundists in the first issue of Millenium Comics ''Franchise/DocSavage: Man of Bronze''.
* In ''ComicBook/TheSpirit'' comic strip by Will Eisner, a [[spoiler:fake]] invasion by Nazis brings these guys out of the ''woodwork''.
* ''[[Comicbook/StarWarsDoctorAphra Dr. Aphra]]'' of the Franchise/StarWars comics is an AdventurerArchaeologist who happens to be a supporter of the Empire and a personal fan of Darth Vader, admiring their ideals (or at least fears them enough to prefer being on their side).

* ''Franchise/StarWars'' series: Anakin Skywalker. Likewise Stormtroopers follow this trope mostly, (at least with the Clone Troopers,) since they answer to the emperor. A few clones do oppose the Empire due to the fact their trainer cared for them so much and shown them their ProudWarriorRace Heritage. Some other Clone Troopers are disgusted by that though. This is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] a bit in one of the ''ComicBook/TagAndBink'' comics; a Stormtrooper goes on a little rant about how in a time of war and confusion, the Emperor brought forth peace, order, public safety, health care, and so on. Apparently he didn't know that the emperor deliberately caused said war and confusion for this very purpose.
* Noah Vosen from ''Film/TheBourneSeries''
* ''Film/ItHappenedHere'', set in a [[AlternateHistory German-occupied Britain]]. It's implied Oswald Mosley is in charge, and the Immediate Action Organisation consists of former blackshirts (at least one of them complains about how the Germans keep "getting in the way" and not letting them run things); in fact actual British neo-Nazis were used for some of the scenes, which caused much controversy as they were allowed to openly express their views.
* ''Film/FightClub'' featured a group of black shirts calling themselves Project Mayhem. One of the film's more obvious clues that these guys are not heroes is their literal black shirts and habit of chanting in unison while Edward Norton is pleading with them to think for themselves.
* In ''Film/OsmosisJones'', Thrax recruits a bunch of bacteria gangsters from Frank's armpit after [[KlingonPromotion killing their leader.]] [[spoiler: He ends up destroying all of them, too, when they suggest "incubating" for a few days.]]

* The ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series provides numerous examples:
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'': Filch readily welcomes Dolores Umbridge as Headmistress of Hogwarts during her TyrantTakesTheHelm arc because she gives him free rein in his sadistic disciplinary tactics -- in fact, hers surpass his!
** Umbridge herself seems to leap at the chance to upgrade from being a SadistTeacher to being able to torment the entire muggle-born population after Voldemort takes over in [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Book 7]].
** The Malfoys and other Death Eaters readily lap up Voldemort's views and policies on all non pure-blood Wizards as being inferior, even though Voldemort's pretty contemptuous of all others himself. Voldemort is probably tailoring his message specifically to fit their prejudices.
*** Ultimately deconstructed with the Malfoys (especially the [[SpoiledBrat bratty teenaged son]] who never actually lived through the BigBad's original reign of terror and comes to find that cold blooded murder is quite few steps above harassing your classmates) in that they quickly find that they got way more than they bargained for once he actually returns and reinstates his de facto dictatorship. After [[BreakTheHaughty learning the hard way]] that EvilIsNotAToy, they decide to just [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes grab each other]], ditch their BadBoss, and [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere opt for a strategic withdrawal.]]
** The entire Slytherin House sides with Voldemort without a second thought during the FinalBattle. However, [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Professor McGonagall]] suspends most of them before the big battle. [[WordOfGod Some returned with Slughorn and his reinforcements to fight in the final battle on Harry's side.]]
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** In several novels, small groups of [[AristocratsAreEvil aristocratic characters]] are portrayed as plotting against Lord Vetinari so that they can restore the monarchy with a puppet and make their interests policy, even though it's hinted this would be disastrous in the long run, which is why most city leaders are against the idea of a monarchy, even those from noble families such as the Rusts and Venturis who are critical of Vetinari personally.
** The Day Watch and the Palace Guard from ''Discworld/GuardsGuards!'' and ''Discworld/MenAtArms'', contrasted with the more JerkWithAHeartOfGold-like Night Watch.
* Creator/PGWodehouse created a rather merciless (and contemporary-to-the-original) savage parody of the Blackshirts -- Sir Roderick Spode and his Black''shorts'', from the ''Literature/JeevesAndWooster'' stories.
** It is explained that they adopted this because all the shirts were already taken. Bertie takes the chance to sneer at "a handful of halfwits (disfiguring) the London scene by going about in footer bags."
** [[spoiler: Jeeves and Bertie get to hold over Spode the Dark Secret that he designs lingerie under the brand name "Eulalie Soeurs", which would ruin his fascistic aspirations if it got out.]]
* From ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Bill Ferny, Harry Goatleaf, and the rest of the "ruffians" from Bree, plus the [[TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong malcontent]] [[{{Hobbits}} hobbit]] Ted Sandyman, who are more than happy to join [[TheQuisling Lotho Sackville-Baggins]] as hired thugs when he takes over the Shire with Saruman's help.
* Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel ''Literature/ItCantHappenHere'' chronicles the rise of American fascism based on religious fundamentalists (duped, more or less), economic discontent, and hatred of Communists and socialists. President Buzz Windrip's supporters organize themselves into paramilitary Minute Men units complete with blue uniforms
* In Creator/SMStirling[='=]s ''Literature/T2Trilogy'', "Luddite" environmental extremists work for [=SkyNet=] because wiping out humanity is a ''good'' thing. Even Skynet thinks they're crazy.
* ''Literature/{{Timeline 191}}'': Being an AlternateHistory, Creator/HarryTurtledove's series features the SS-counterparts in the form of the Freedom Party Stalwarts. The series also mentions the Silver Shirts, who were organised by Oswald Mosley and [[UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill Evil Churchill]] in 1920s Britain (which had lost the First World War).
** There were [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Legion_of_America real-life Silver Shirts,]] too.
* ''Literature/{{Everworld}}'': The Sennites. They have a certain gray-eyed witch in mind for the throne of Everworld, and if you get in the way, [[MoreDakka you'll eat lead]].
* The Grey Stormtroopers from ''Literature/HardToBeAGod'' by Creator/StrugatskyBrothers.
* The various Kuinists from ''Literature/TheChronoliths'' are just waiting for the day when prophesied [[TakeOverTheWorld world conqueror]] [[DarkMessiah Kuin]] will arrive and lead them to victory. One of them, Adam Mills, serves as the ''de facto'' BigBad in Kuin's absence.
* Many rank and file Darkfriends are this in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. They pledged themselves to the Dark One (usually out of greed or power lust) but they mostly serve as informers, messengers and sleeper agents. They are clearly unpleasant and bad persons but they don't usually do so much harm, at least until a powerful leader (for example a Forsaken) takes charge and actually makes them do something.
* In the Creator/AgathaChristie UsefulNotes/WorldWarII novel ''N or M?'', Literature/TommyAndTuppence run across a number of characters who admire the Nazis and think it a pity that Britain didn't ally with Germany at the start of the war. [[spoiler: It turns out the villain has an entire book full of these: people in power who can be counted on to support the Nazis in case of an invasion. The villain is also an example of one, British by birth but spying for and supporting the Nazis.]]
* In the Creator/KimNewman short story "The Germans Won", puppet UK Prime Minister John Major is attending an anniversary celebration of the successful German invasion of Britain. He notes the attendance of a handful of elderly surviving Black Shirts who had been hailed as heroes after the invasion, despite having played almost no part in it. They are often referred to by the sarcastic nickname of 'Series/DadsArmy'.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': The Night Watch appears to have been almost entirely composed of Black Shirts. [[spoiler: And Zack, who gets them all VERY arrested...though Garibaldi does, at least, call out a few of them, whose facial expressions imply they're reluctant.]]
* The two ''Series/{{V 1983}}'' miniseries had a youth group that followed the Visitors and helped them in their "we're only taking over for your own good, really" approach to humanity. Loosely based on the RealLife Hitler Youth. There is such a group in the [[ContinuityReboot re-imagined series]] as well.
* One episode of ''Series/LoisAndClark'', "Super Mann", featured a group of deep-cover Nazis, who had created "all-American" cover personas as a footballer, a model and a country singer. The Daily Planet's new copyboy, in addition to being a rather bitter figure who even Jimmy thought was a bit of a dweeb, was a huge fan of theirs. When they revealed their true colours, of course, he was the first to get a black leather uniform and took over the Planet building.
* ''Series/FoylesWar'': In "Trespass", a former member of Mosley's black shirts was attempting to start up a similar organisation in post-war Britain. Although he claims to be in favour of a single European givernment, in his first speech he reveals it will be a Europe free of Jews, Slavs and other 'undesirables'. He whips a mob into a frenzy where they murder a pair of harmless Polish refugees on the mistaken belief they are Jewish.
* Parodied in ''Series/JeevesAndWooster'' where Black Shorts (as all shirt colours were taken already) use imagery very similar to one used by German and Italian fascists, but are all real Black Shirts should not be: incompetent, lazy, fumbling, very low in number, and partial to haphazardly twisted ideas (such as providing all citizens with a British-made bicycle and umbrella) . They get dissolved when their leader quits the politics.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Ratcliffe and his gang of neo-Nazi thugs who ally themselves with the Daleks in "Remembrance of the Daleks". Ratcliffe even mentions that he had been jailed during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII for advocating that Britain was on the wrong side (implying that he was an actual Black Shirt).

* Subverted in the music video for Music/{{Eminem}}'s "Mosh". Throughout the song, Eminem engages in a vicious diatribe against then-president UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush on a [[DramaticRain rain-soaked stage]]. This inspires scores of disaffected people to put on identical hooded sweatshirts, take to the streets, and fight through a police blockade... so they can line up at a voting station in an orderly fashion.

* In the original stage version of Ustinov's ''Theatre/RomanoffAndJuliet'', one of the bookend guards explains that his movement wears violet shirts - "or would if we could afford them."

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [=JRPGs=] seem fond of this, especially those of the SNES era. If the villain is a leader who's openly belligerent, and you enter his hometown or base of operations, you can expect to find these spouting his praises and talking about how the day where he rises to power and kills all who oppose him is at hand.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** The various monsters are an unintelligent variant, as they are occasionally stated to suddenly start increasing in number and ferocity whenever Ganon or some other villains are about to spread their dark works over Hyrule, such as in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild''.
** Dark Lord Ghirahim of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' performs rituals to summon the Imprisoned, hoping to resurrect his lord and serves him. [[spoiler: Ghirahim is in fact a LivingWeapon, his purpose is to literally serve Demise as a sword.]]
* Fascist rebels in ''VideoGame/VictoriaAnEmpireUnderTheSun''.
* Else God-Hater in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion''. She openly despises the official religion of the Septim Empire. Turns out later in the game she's a member of the [[ApocalypseCult Mythic Dawn]], and ends up dying on the PlayerCharacter's blade.
* In the campaign mode of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos, the very first mission of the Undead Scourge campaign has the player invading the capital city of Lordaeron to find and recruit acolytes who are hiding amongst the local populace, waiting for the return of the Scourge.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{MAG ISA}}'' -- [[http://mag-isa.thecomicseries.com/comics/pl/119615 The cult members wear black...]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Concerned}}'': Gordon Frohman (not Freeman, common mistake) in the ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' parody comic is the dumbest blackest Black Shirt imaginable. Though not malicious, he is a [[TheDitz dim-witted]] thoroughly pro-Breen and anti-Freeman advocate, doing everything he can to stop the hero and his allies. Thankfully, he's more of a SpannerInTheWorks who inadvertently helps Freeman at Breen's expense (though he is at least responsible for transforming Ravenholm into the Zombie-infested hellhole it is). He buys into the flimsy [[VillainWithGoodPublicity propaganda]] and [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter he can't tell how awful the Combine is]], so much so that when he accidentally escapes to Ravenholm he misses living in the oppressive {{Dystopia}} so much he makes a spare parts EvilTowerOfOminousness and (inert) Strider.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', [[Creator/FoodNetwork Guy Fieri]] and Music/InsaneClownPosse work for the [[EvilOverlord Condesce]] [[ScaryDogmaticAliens when she invades the Earth.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/DecadesOfDarkness'': New England has a group of them. For fun, they're called {{Redshirt}}s. An Anglo-Saxon revival group in Great Britain, in a ShoutOut to Creator/PGWodehouse (see above) is called the Blackshorts.
%% * ''Literature/ChaosTimeline'': The fascisti.
%% * ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': Similar to that is the huge throng of people in the continuity who are supporters of "Humanity First!", an organization opposed to the [[FantasticRacism mutant scourge]]. Of course, there are Black Shirt types on the other extreme, since there's an extreme mutant organization called "Evolution Rocks". Their most famous poster is of a hand-drawn superman-type dropping said rocks (the size of cars) on baselines below. Sort of polarizes the argument. %% Someone could edit these two back in, but explaining how each of them is an example.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Reboot}}'': Megabyte's defeat by Matrix frees hundreds of Binomes who he had infected and forced to be his slaves. However, in the film "My Two Bobs," we see a group of former Viral Binomes who actually liked serving Megabyte, since it gave them free rein to bully people. (Plus, it impressed the ladies.) These Black Shirts are reduced to being minor nuisances in the era of prosperity following Megabyte's defeat until said villain returns. They whip themselves into a fairly impressive fighting force despite their limited numbers and ultimately aid Megabyte in gaining control of the Core, which is unfortunately the cliffhanger the series ends on.
-->[[Film/TheBluesBrothers Elwood Binome: Mainframe neo-virals.]]
-->[[ShoutOut Jake Binome: I hate Mainframe neo-virals.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'': AlphaBitch Bonnie Rockwaller, Kim's [[SitcomArchNemesis high school arch-enemy]] turns into a Black Shirt when [[BadFuture Shego takes over the world]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}'': Clash is the Black Shirt in universe -- as she's the first Misfits fan we set our eyes on.