Commie Nazis

Wait, a monocle? Is that a Commie-Nazi Nobleman?

"He's not just German, he's East German! He's a Commu-Nazi!"

A mix of Communism and Fascism is frequently used as "the government we don't like" in fiction. The trope is in action when the heroes enter a Communist country and find that it's Putting on the Reich — or when soldiers in Fascist army call people Tovarisch.

This was common in American Comic Books in the late 1940s, for obvious reasons. It is not common in any country with any direct experience with Communism, Fascism, or both. Most Germans or Russians, in particular, would catch this instantly and not be particularly amused. Another common variation, especially during Cold War - era Spy Fiction, is the use of East German spies as antagonists, allowing writers to combine the worst aspects of both national (and ideological) stereotypes.

Although political commentators have pointed out similarities between the two ideologies (and started many a Flame War in the process), on paper Nazism and Communism are polar opposites. Communism preaches a materialist worldview, where culture is a construct used to justify economic oppression, while Nazism/Fascism preach an idealistnote  worldview, with culture as the expression of a race's collective soul, and consider Marxism the cause of western society's decay. At least, that's what they printed in their respective textbooks.

Historically, adherents of the two ideologies have almost always been at each others' throats. The nuclei of fascism were militias formed to put down the communist, socialist, and anarchist revolutions that swept Central Europe in the aftermath of World War I, and they were very friendly with the White Army emigres driven out of Russia by the Bolsheviks. A central tenet of Nazi propaganda was that Marxism was the main thrust of the Jewish plot to dominate the world — in fact, the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion were largely unknown until they were marketed as "the key" to understanding the Bolshevik revolution — hence the Nazi attempt to destroy the Soviet Union during World War II. In turn, the Soviets justified authoritarian actions, even decades afterwards (like the Berlin Wall), as protective measures against fascism. Both viewed the other as a major existential threat, despite brief periods of non-aggression and economic cooperation against liberal democracy, which they both hated.

Nevertheless, this trope remains popular in the United States due to a collective, deep-seated distrust of "Big Government" in any form. Nazis became Acceptable Targets for western media since WWII; and when WWII ended, the Cold War began and Communism became the new acceptable target. To say that a character was Nazi was enough to establish it as evil, same for Communism, so a character that is both Nazi and Communist should be double evil, right? More or less, there's the little detail of that thing called real life: there are Nazis, there are Communists, but there is not normally such a thing as Communist Nazis. Thus, anybody with the most basic political acumen will only use this for humor or for very contrived situations. Serious attempts at playing this trope straight will usually result in massive levels of Narm. Hence, some of the examples on this page focus on characters who worked for both the Nazis and communist regimes, which is historically accurate and is generally a matter of pragmatism rather than trying to believe in two contradictory belief systems. It should be noted that the USSR mounted th largest offensive, suffered the greatest casualties, captured Berlin and liberated the first concentration camps, so pulling this trope to Russians or trying to invoke it will push Berserk Button(s) of people in Russia and Eastern Europe.

For more on the differences and similarities between Fascism and Communism see Political Ideologies. See also Nazi Nobleman for a different conflation of two groups that historically didn't get on.

Any example where East German troops are portrayed wearing recycled Wehrmacht uniforms and equipment are partially justified; the East German internal security forces had almost No Budget in the early days, so they made do with whatever they could lay hold of, including old uniforms left over from the previous administration and largely unmodified save for replacing the insignia. Pretty good metaphor for life in postwar East Germany, really.

There is a grain of Truth in Television in this trope: "Nazi" itself is German shorthand for "National Socialist Worker's Party"note , and the party consciously adopted the characteristic solid red background of the Communist flag for its own design (to more easily recruit Communist factions into its ranks). Adolf Hitler once claimed "You can easily get a good National Socialist out of a Communist, but out of a Social Democrat, never", implying that fanatics can easily be converted to one's own cause, but moderates will resist any conversion attempts.note  Hitler also admitted that the differences between Nazism and Communism were more tactical than they were ideological. Heck, there are even actual Commie Nazis active in Russia. Earlier, Commie Nazis were active in both the Communist and Nazi parties in Germany during The Twenties and thirties. Comparisons between communism and Nazism remain a field of lively academic and popular debate, for more information you're advised to give Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism a read.


Examples

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     Comic Books 
  • Captain America: The Red Skull started out as a Nazi villain, but in the 1950s suddenly became a communist. This was later retconned so that the "Communist Skull" turned out to be an imposter who wasn't so much a communist as simply being anti-American, with the original Red Skull returning to his fascist roots.
    • Played with again in the Winter Soldier and Death of Captain America story arcs, whose main villains are the Red Skull and the former Soviet general Alexander Lukin. The original Evil Plan is Lukin's, who tries to kill the Skull in order to obtain a supernatural artifact he needs to complete it. However, due to the artifact's Applied Phlebotinum, he ends up with the Skull's consciousness inside his head along with his own. Cue an uneasy collaboration, in which Lukin's original anti-capitalist plot is altered more and more to fit the Skull's homicidal, Take Over the World goals.
  • One Hellboy story has Neo-Nazis involved in a project called "Red November". This is justified, since the Nazis did use the color red in much of their regalia (as they were trying to win over ex-Communists).
  • The Norts in Rogue Trooper appear to be based upon both Nazis and Soviets.
  • The Hammer Empire in Danger Girl spoof this trope, taking the most outrageous aspects of both (although mostly Nazism).
  • The country of Borduria in the Tintin album Tintin The Calculus Affair (1956). Borduria is depicted as a stereotypical half-Eastern Bloc and half-fascist country complete with its own secret police (ZEP) (led by Colonel Sponsz) and a fascist military dictator called Kūrvi-Tasch who promotes a Taschist ideology. A statue of Kūrvi-Tasch appears in front of a government building, in which he wears a moustache similar to Joseph Stalin's and gives a Nazi-like salute.
    • Actually, Borduria started out in King Ottokar's Sceptre as a full-blown fascist nation, flying Messerschmitt 109 lookalikes, plotting an Anschluss against its neighbor, and ruled by the Iron Guard party and its very subtly named leader "Musstler." Twenty years later in The Calculus Affair, Musstler and the Iron Guard had been replaced by Kurvi-Tasch and the Taschist Party, which is when all the East Bloc analogies came in. So not sure if it's "Commie Nazi" so much as "Nazi and then Commie."
  • The fifth Lethal Legion, in West Coast Avengers, was made of resurrected historical villains who receive superpowers and appearance of supervillains. The group included Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Stalin. But initially, they did not care a dent about the Avengers: when they recognized each other, both of them tried to kill each other.

    Film 
  • The East Germans in Top Secret were all supposed to be communist, but wore Nazi uniforms. Of course, this was Top Secret, so it was deliberate.
  • The secret police in The Lives of Others are clearly East German communists, but a prologue scene makes it clear that the Stasi uses Gestapo methods and there is a clear continuity from Nazi Germany to the DDR.
  • Not just the Russians, see The Third Man
  • The Christian dystopia movie If Footmen Tire You What Will Horses Do, predicts the persecution of Christians in an America that has been taken over by Commie Nazis.
  • The B-Movie Laser Mission, starring a pre-Crow Brandon Lee, can be summed up as "Cuban Secret Nazi Communists in Africa plan to start World War III by using a diamond laser to create a nuclear weapon and only Bruce Lee's son can stop them."

    Literature 
  • The Party in 1984 intentionally combined aspects of Communism and fascism, as well as their symbolism. This was because, being a democratic socialist, Orwell thought that certain socialist movements, particularly the Soviet Union, had betrayed the ideals of socialism and might as well have been fascist.
  • In the Len Deighton novel SS-GB, Nazi Germany conquers England. By November 1941, with England under their thumb, the Nazis are still "good friends" with the USSR (In Real Life, Germany invaded the USSR on June 22, 1941). One character states that, "Nazi bastards and Communist bastards are all alike".
  • Moonraker by Ian Fleming has the Soviet Union lending a nuclear warhead to a group of Nazi rocket scientists planning to blow up London, which is unlikely, to say the least. What's to stop them firing it eastward instead?
  • In Christopher Anvil's Pandoras Planet, the plot thickens when Communist-settled planets and Fascist-settled planets resort to an alliance to dispose of the Classic American-settled planet. However, they don't REALLY trust each other, and are prepared to stab each other in the back as soon as those pesky Columbians are eliminated — a fact the Centran supreme commander is gleefully ready to take advantage of.
  • In the Sword of Honour trilogy by Evelyn Waugh, protagonist Guy Crouchback is eager to enlist for service in WWII when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invade Poland and divide it between them, hoping he'll get a chance to fight against both of the world's worst ideologies- "The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms". Instead, Britain allies itself with Stalin's USSR, and most of the novel is about Guy's growing disillusionment with an increasingly ignoble cause.
  • in Gary Paulsen's Harris and Me, mention is made of the 'Commie Japs', presumably North Koreans, by a veteran of the Korean War.
  • East German agent Mundt in The Spy Who Came In from the Cold was a former Nazi who joined the Communists out of expediency. The character is amoral, rather than ideologically Nazi or Communist, although he is an anti-Semite.

     Live-Action Television 
  • Amusingly averted in the Mash episode, "A Smattering of Intelligence," in which Hawkeye and Trapper fool one secret agent into thinking Burns is a communist and convince the other that he's a fascist. They compare notes and realize that someone must be lying, as it's impossible to be both.
  • The evil organization Kaos in Get Smart, as "generic bad guys" were clearly a mixture both communists and Nazis, with everyone having either a German accent or a Russian accent. This was always done with a wink and a nod, since Get Smart was a parody of spy shows and movies.
    • In The Most Dangerous Game "homage" episode, "Island of the Damned", the villain is alleged to have successively belonged to the Nazis, the Communists, the Mafia, and KAOS, at which Smart exclaims, "If there's anything I hate, it's a joiner!"
  • The Peacekeepers in Farscape: they're totalitarian, but their official ideology is rarely discussed (they're officially anti-species-mixing, but at least one and quite possibly two Half-Human Hybrids have reached high positions), and their design aesthetic is an equal mix of Nazism and the Soviet Union in its short-lived early Modernist phase
  • The Cardassians in Star Trek, their internal policies are definitely Communist, complete with Kangaroo Courts, 1984-style government surveillance and a rogue KGB-esque intelligence service, but their foreign policy is disturbingly Nazi, right down to the concentration camps and rampant Cultural Posturing. Although the Nazis also had Kangaroo Courts.
  • Although the Daleks of Doctor Who are blatant Nazis by another name, their first story uses them to reflect Cold War fears of nuclear warfare. "Power of the Daleks" shows them posing as workers (specifically, miners, whose left-wing union activities were hugely significant in 1960s-70s Britain) and "Day of the Daleks" shows them running Stalinist gulags and state factories.
  • Played straight in MacGyver; the episode "The Enemy Within" began with Mac on a mission behind the Iron Curtain narrowly escaping from East German troops dressed in World War Two era Wehrmacht uniforms.
  • Played straight in Airwolf episode "Fallen Angel," in which Archangel is captured by Karl Kruger, an ex-Nazi war criminal now working for the East Germans. Previously averted in "Fight Like A Dove," which also featured an ex-Nazi named Kruger, but this one working for Archangel.

     Stand-Up Comedy 
  • In George Carlin's routine "Beard", he discusses how, at the time, people with thick, bushy beards were sometimes considered "Commie Nazi Fag Junkies". He then goes on to note on how many levels that doesn't work.
  • Joked with in a David Cross routine mocking Tea Party hatred for then-president Barack Obama.
    "He's a Nazi! He's a Muslim! He's a Communist, Socialist, Black, Muslim Nazi! That's the worst kind of Nazi there is! He's a zombie too, I think!"

     Tabletop Games 
  • The Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000 is neither Fascist nor Communist, but has distinct elements of both — including "Commissars" named for the Soviet ideological officers and dressed like Nazi agents. This is probably a case of Future Imperfect.
    • The entire setting is something of a melting pot of historical influences, spiked with generous helpings of grim dark. The Death Corps of Krieg in particular are the most straight examples, being patterned after WWI-era German trench infantry while being lead by Commissars patterned after WWII-era Soviet political officers.
      • The Kriegs are actually an amalgam of WWI references: the colour scheme and helmets are unmistakably German, but the coats are French and the gas masks are Russian.
    • Catholic Commie Nazis
  • In Paranoia, Alpha Complex is at war with the Commies (among many others); one module portrays the Commie-run Alpha State, who's at war with the NazCIA.
  • Subverted in the Freedom City setting for Mutants & Masterminds. Communist terrorist group Overthrow is an apparent subsidiary of SHADOW, the huge Nazi terror group and HYDRA knockoff that is responsible for most terrorism in the setting. Overthrow's leader, Dominic Ashe, is, however, fully aware that his goals and those of the SHADOW leadership are incompatible, and is planning to depose them one day, while SHADOW's leaders in turn see Overthrow as little more than pawns.

     Video Games 
  • The Helghast of the Killzone series are mostly your typical Nazis By Any Other Name, but some of their iconography and ideals show a lot of Stalinist influence. Heck, even one of their commanders physically looks like Stalin.
    • The Helghast leader, Scolar Visari, is pretty much Space Hitler. "Visari" also sounds like part of "Vissarionovich", which in turn is part of Stalin's given name.
    • One of the main Helghast antagonists of the series, Jorhan Sthal, has a name in which the first two letters of his first and last name are the same as Stalin's. Sthal, like Stalin, also means steel.
    • By the time Shadowfall kicks in, the Helghast are stand ins for Communist East Germany, but still retain their third reich belief in racial purity.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops features the Ascension group, Nazi scientists working on the Soviet space program in an early level, and later we're introduced to Dr. Friedrich Steiner, a scientist employed by the Waffen-SS during the war to produce the 'Nova 6' toxin gas who later defects to join the USSR.
  • The East Europan Empire Alliance of Valkyria Chronicles play with this trope in spite of being an autocratic absolute monarchy, effectively making them Commie Nazi Bismarckean Habsburg Tsarists.

     Web Originals 

     Western Animation 
  • From The Simpsons, the Trope Namer:
    "McBain to base! Under attack by Commie-Nazis!"
    "They won't stop me from delivering these UNICEF pennies!"
    "Go pennies! Help the puny children who need you!"
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: In the evil country of Potsylvania everyone is either a communist or a Nazi or both. However, since it's primarily a kids' show, this is mostly played for laughs.
    • Rocky and Rullwinkle's main enemy, Boris Badenov, had a name that was clearly supposed to sound Russiannote , and Natasha Fatale had the type of accent that's often used to sound Russian. (However, June Foray reported that they were only supposed to be from an unspecified Balkan area.) And their boss is a Nazi known only as Fearless Leader, who closely resembles Otto Skorzeny.


Alternative Title(s):

Nazi Commies, Communazi, Red Fascism