Commie Nazis

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/commienazis.jpg
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 a Fascist army call people Tovarisch.

This trope is common and popular in the United States. Nazis became Acceptable Targets during WWII, Communists shortly after it, and both are foreigners from far-off places with strange un-American philosophies. Since both Nazis and Communists are villains by default, why not have characters who are both at once to be double evil? But this was never much more than a Comic Book trope, and is a Dead Horse Trope at best at this point; there were always people who knew the contents of Nazi and Communist ideologies, which have awkward similarities but are not quite the same thing.

Over in Europe, this trope is unknown, and somewhere between eye-rolling and fisticuff-inducing. Germans are still ashamed of what they got up to in the war years, and not really in the mood for joshing about it just yet. Russians are rightly proud of their massive effort in the war ("WWII was won with British intelligence, American steel, and Russian blood", as the saying goes) — and are nostalgic, not for the Soviet Union itself (and especially not for Stalin), but for the high relative prosperity and world-historic significance that they had under the USSR. And the countries caught between two fires in the war suffered at the hands of both sides — both of which were quick to purge anyone who'd collaborated with the other one. They obviously weren't the same people.

There's not much truth behind this trope, but there's a little bit in its neighborhood. Many officials in the countries caught between Hitler and Stalin managed to work for both sides (burning documents, scapegoating Jews, and giving just enough aid to La Résistance that you can claim you weren't a collaborator can work wonders). East Germany was Nazi-ruled until it was Communist-ruled, and their internal security forces, which had No Budget early on, used WWII surplus uniforms for much longer than you'd expect. (This made East Germans popular antagonists in US Spy Fiction.)

Part of the problem can be traced to the Nazis themselves, or rather their official name, the National Socialist German Workers Party. This has lead certain political figures to denounce anything that they feel smacks of socialism as just another step on the road to swastikas and dodgy mustaches, with plenty of references to totalitarian Communism (especially Stalin) for good measure. Of course, there are three main problems with this belief: First, that Socialism and Communism aren't the same thing; second, just because the Nazi party used the word 'Socialist' in its name doesn't mean it actually had Socialist (or Communist) objectivesnote , just like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is none of those things; third, that Hitler really, really, really didn't like Bolshevism, blaming the Jews for it, comparing it to a disease, and also kinda fought a war over that issue.

See this trope's analysis page for further discussion — and for some recent (2000s) movements which are unpleasantly close to being Defictionalizations of this trope. See also Nazi Nobleman, for a different conflation of two groups that historically didn't get on.


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 Kûrvi-Tasch who promotes a Taschist ideology. A statue of Kûrvi-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.
  • 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. Since this is a parody film of Cold War / WW2 spy films this particular caricature 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.
  • 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."
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Captain America: The Winter Soldier where HYDRA has not only infiltrated the Soviet and Nazi governments, but the American government and SHIELD as well.
  • Bridge of Spies gives this feel to the East Germans. While obviously Communist, the East German NVA uniforms resemble Wehrmacht ones and The Stasi wouldn't look too out of place as Gestapo agents in the Third Reich.note  Not to mention the East Germans are fanatical with border control in Berlin. Finally, a gang of trouble-making boys Donovan runs into feel eerily similar to modern Neo-Nazi skinhead groups.note 
  • This blog post notes that the film version of The Hunger Games has the Capitol built in a style using Stalinist Soviet and Nazi Fascist architecture.

    Literature 
  • The Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four intentionally combined aspects of Communism and fascism, as well as their symbolism. This was because, being a democratic socialist, Orwell thought that Stalinism and Nazism were effectively identical in their effect on the population and true motivation of elite power for its own sake, no matter what the difference in their purported ideology. O'Brien actually mentions in the book that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union used basically the same tactics as the Party, with the only exception being the Inner Party does not tell itself that its motivations are good.
  • 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 M*A*S*H 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.
  • Get Smart:
    • The evil organization Kaos, 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 HalfHuman 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, Nineteen Eighty-Four-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, secret police, government surveillance etc.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Klingons were introduced as this before they were retconned as a species of Proud Warrior Race Guys.
  • 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.
  • On My Name Is Earl, John the Artist berates his estranged parents for (allegedly) not giving him enough love during his childhood, and calls them commie Nazis. His father replies that he's a terrible son who knows nothing about history, while his mother bursts into tears.

     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
    • Except that it is not. The Imperium of Man, despite all references quoted above (and mainly aesthetic) is fundamentally feudal. And if there was anything fascism, nazism and communism were agreeing on, it was the fact that aristocracy and feudalism are bad, especially due to the lack of central control.
  • 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.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting of Ravenloft, the domain of Falkovnia is often summed up, somewhat derisively, as "a Medieval-flavored combination of Nazi Germany and the USSR being run by Vlad the Impaler". The domain features a combination of Fascist-like military dictatorship, crushing oppression for the vast population of serf-like non-soldiers, and a paranoid, ever-watching government that treats its populace like cattle — to the point where children who survive birth are branded on the forehead. Its Darklord and military despot, Vlad Drakov, essentially combines Hitler's manic charisma & rages with Stalin's brutal paranoia and coats it all with Vlad the Impaler's sadism, complete with demanding nightly impalements as "dinner theater".

     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", part of Stalin's given name.
    • One of the main Helghast antagonists of the series, Jorhan Stahl, has a name in which the first two letters of his first and last name are the same as Stalin's. Stahl, 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. This is Truth in Television insofar as many Nazi scientists did end up defecting to one of the victorious sides after World War II in order to avoid prosecution.
  • 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.
  • In Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, the Human Hive faction headed by Chairman Yang is built on a devilish blend of Western authoritarianism, Legalism, and Communism, with contributing ideas from Nietzsche, Chairman Mao and the Chinese classical philosophies, all taken to it's most brutal. Unsurprisingly, Yang's Human Hive is a very, very dark shade of grey, in fact it would be outright black if not for some Villain Has a Point moments. The Usurpers are still pretty inarguably the most evil faction, though.
  • In one ending of Titanic: Adventure Out of Time, Communists manage to take over Germany instead of the Nazis, and the protagonist is killed by them immediately following their takeover of Britain.
  • In Hearts of Iron IV, if playing as the German Reich, the player has the option (assuming they've chosen appropriately) of leaving the standard Axis and upgrading the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact into the much tighter Berlin-Moscow Axis faction (faction members can't declare war on each other). Which, as it should, scares the living shit out of literally every other nation that isn't allied with the German Reich, considering that invading the U.S.S.R is what caused Germany's downfall more than anything else in real history. The effects of forming the Berlin-Moscow Axis are so bad that a fascist/communist America can return to democracy immediately, while Britain rallies every democratic nation on Earth to form the Grand Alliance faction as protection from the new Axis.
  • Chivalry: Medieval Warfare has the Mason Order, who combine the populist rhetoric and goals of communists with Nazi-esque social Darwinism. Basically, they're this trope in a medieval setting.
  • In Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg, a Game Mod for Hearts of Iron II, Darkest Hour, and IV, the ideology of Totalitarian Socialism or Totalism closely resembles National Bolshevism or Strasserism from our own timeline and to emphasize the status of Totalists as Commie Nazis, many Totalist leaders are people who were fascists in our timeline, such as Oswald Mosely and Benito Mussolini.

     Web Originals 
  • This image originated from Something Awful. Once there was a "make German translations of image macros" thread and the second picture in the thread was a translation of that picture.
    • This is also a wonderful example of the generalized form of Poe's Law.
  • The Rather Good Flash video Fear the Kitties could be considered an example of this. The song is in German, and mocks Germany's fascist tendencies. The kitties, however, are wearing Russian uniforms.
  • An alliance between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia was narrowly averted according to Cracked's "5 Insane 'What If' Scenarios That Almost Changed Everything".

     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

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CommieNazis