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Piggybacking on Hitler
"You are a fool. You think we're equals because I allow you to participate in this struggle. You fight to control nations — we dominate entire worlds... we extend our will across time."

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

Expect Stupid Jetpack Hitler or Ghostapo if the villain in question comes from the future or has access to mystical powers.

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


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • In the mainstream Marvel Universe Mister Sinister, the X-Men villain, was a doctor in Auschwitz performing unethical human experiments and looking out for mutants. He used his real name, Nathan Essex, but was nicknamed Nosferatu and he scared even the Nazis. Magneto remembers him and recalled that he used to give candy to kids in exchange for blood samples. That's a real detail based on Josef Mengele, who would hand out sweets to the children he was about to kill and dissect.
  • Batman: Ra's Al Ghul allied with the Nazis to further his goal of wiping out 90% of the human race to stave off overpopulation, so taking part in the Holocaust. One of the victims was his own daughter and her family — she survived, they did not; she was mightly upset with him.
  • Herr Kleiser in The Ultimates. He was Captain America's chief nemesis during World War II, but was actually an alien known as a Chitauri (a.k.a. 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 Red5 comic book series Atomic Robo, Robo's (arguably) arch nemesis, Baron Von Helsingard, uses this trope to seek 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.
  • The Red Skull was personally trained by Adolf Hitler and, having Gone Horribly Right in that regard, made no secret to the Führer that he had ambitions of his own, but was willing to bide his time.
  • Rasputin in Hellboy got Hitler to back his Project Ragna-Rok with the claim that it would change the course of the war. He turned most of the Nazi scientists assigned to him into disciples who were fully aware that his real plan was to bring about the apocalypse. Technically he didn't even lie, as an apocalypse would definitely change the war.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones films like this trope.
    • First was Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
      Donovan: The Nazis want to write themselves into the Grail legend, take on the world. Well, they're welcome to it. But I want the Grail itself, the cup that gives everlasting life. Hitler can have the world, but he can't take it with him. I'm going to be drinking my own health after he's gone the way of the dodo.
    • Elsa meanwhile claims to have sided with the Nazis simply to get the Grail. Although as Indy bluntly chews her out on, she's already been corrupted into a Nazi.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) sets up HYDRA like this.
  • Played with in X-Men: First Class. Sebastian Shaw, alias Klaus Schmidt, jumped on the Nazi bandwagon mainly because it would further his research of mutation; however, he holds one of Nazism's tenets (Master Race and all that stuff) in very high esteem, and later adapts the ideology for mutant use.
  • Rasputin in the Hellboy film.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise two-part episode "Storm Front", a race from the 29th century find themselves back in time on 20th-century Earth, during World War II. They side with the Nazis, offering to build advanced weapons in exchange for the resources they need to build a time machine. When the Nazis complain that the Aliens aren't helping them enough, the alien leader (quoted above) lampshades the trope by bluntly stating that the Nazis conquer countries; they conquer planets.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Justice League three-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 II, 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 Führer. Vandal Savage didn't really care about Nazi ideals; he just wanted to use them to conquer the world for himself.

    Real Life 
  • SS Sturmbrigade RONA had been made up from rebellious Soviet people from the Lokot area after the German invasion of 1941 and led by the Russo-Pole Bronislav Kaminski. Their cruelty, looting and total lack of military competency during the Warsaw Uprising enraged the Führer enough to execute Kaminski and disband the unit.
  • XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps had been formed by the German high command from anti-Soviet Cossacks to fight partisans under the command of General Helmuth von Pannwitz. They were later forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union by the Western Allies and faced execution as traitors. (This is used as Alec Trevelyan's Freudian Excuse in GoldenEye).
  • A number of conservative factions in Germany supported Hitler because they thought they could control him. This bit them hard.


Examples Involving Other Dictators:

    Films — Live-Action 

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer:
    • In the alternate history timeline of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Kane and his Brotherhood of Nod are using Stalin's Soviet Union to get to power.
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, Yuri aided the Soviets in their rise to power, but has his own plans and was using the war as a smokescreen so he can set up his Psychic Dominators to mind control the world when the Allies and Soviets aren't looking.


No SwastikasReichstropenPutting on the Reich
Pin-Pulling TeethMilitary and Warfare TropesPlunder
Perverse PuppetVillainsPirate

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