— Heinrich Himmler, Die Schutzstaffel als Antibolschewistische Kampf-Organisation
A quick and easy way to suggest a group of people are evil in fiction is to give them uniforms that resemble those worn by the Third Reich, the Roman Empire, pseudo-Mongols or the Soviet Union. In a broader sense, this can also refer to using other stylistic elements from the Nazi times (like the "Führer" title, goose-stepping "stormtroopers", or swastikas if the creatoris more daring) to make sure your villains are visibly evil. When a group puts on the Reich, expect to see the classic fascist colors of red background, black symbol, and white circle and an easily recognizable, sometimes swastika-like insignia somewhere...or everywhere.
Incidentally, some of the uniforms for the real SS were manufactured by Hugo Boss (yes, thatHugo Boss) using slave labor. Those Wacky Nazis were actually pretty snappy dressers despite being evil, which just furnishes another reason for authors and costume designers to borrow their motifs. Very common when State Sec is around.
This trope is named after the expression "Puttin' on the Ritz".
Note that this trope covers the uniforms. For a more general similarity, see A Nazi by Any Other Name. May result in Commie Nazis.
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Anime and Manga
The Principality of Zeon and its offshoots from Mobile Suit Gundam's Universal Century. Gets more Anvilicious as time goes on, since later series played up the "Zeon = Nazi Germany" metaphor: Zeta Gundam gives us Axis Zeon = Axis Powers. Gundam ZZ gives us Neo-Zeon = Neo-Nazis. Gundam 0080 gives Zeon a fixation on using German words with their mecha, like Kämpfer, Gelgoog Jäger and Rick Dom Zwei. Gundam 0083 introduced battle flags that were one Swastika away from Nazi banners. Gundam Unicorn gives the Sleeves mobile suits with Stahlhelms.
In another Gundam example, the uniforms worn by the Mariemaia Army in Endless Waltz were quite intentionally modelled on the Hitler Youth uniforms.
Which makes sense, considering it's set in an alternate universe where the Axis won World War Two, the Japanese got its ass kicked by the Germans, and the Corps is a secret police force for the fascist Japanese government.
While the uniforms in Fullmetal Alchemist are much more French◊ than German, the simple fact that they refer to their leader as the Führer is a tipoff that all is not right. It's made even more obvious in the 2003 anime version, where we eventually learn that the entire series takes place in an alternate universe equivalent to early-20th-century Germany.
The guards of Impel Down in One Piece look like demons and wear uniforms that bear a very strong resemblance to SS officer uniforms, complete with armbands showing the Impel Down symbol (not quite a swastika, but close).
Ironically enough, despite how they look, they're not particularly evil and are rather understandably just trying to stop the prison break initiated by Luffy. The head of Impel Down, Magellan, in particular, is often considered a Hero Antagonist.
The Red Ribbon Army from Dragon Ball has just about the least oppressive dress code out of any army in fiction, but the effeminate, physically formidable, blond-haired, blue-eyed General Blue seems to dress this way strictly out of personal preference.
Not to mention the red armbands they wear.
Also, one of the movies, Fusion Reborn, features a character known as the Dictator who is quite blatantly an Adolf Hitler expy.
The original name of the Zoid Berserk Fury is actually Berserk Fuhrer
The villainous Empire in the H-anime Angel Core, with armored battle robots that look like the Kerberos Corps troopers from Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade has SS-style uniforms (including the SS lightning bolt insignia), and experiments relating to the supernatural.
Team Rocket in Pokémon. Not only do they wear uniforms similar to Nazi Germany, as well as implied to experiment on sentient creatures, but in one of Team Rocket's boss fantasies during AG in the Japanese version◊, they are even doing a pose similar to the Hitler salute, and militaristic footsteps are heard. (This was omitted in the English version presumably due to the implications of the scene.)
The crew of the Silvana in Last Exile wear black uniforms with silver trim that look vaguely like those of the SS, but more loosely tailored.
Bleach: The Vandenreich seems to be closely associated with this trope. It doesn't help that they're quincies and the quincies have been associated with the militant Christian Knights (Teutonic Knights, in particular, but also the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller) since the very beginning of the manga. Just like the adoption of certain Teutonic Knight themes and symbols in the Nazi pagentry, the Vandenreich also seem to have evolved from these Teutonic Knight roots into something very reminiscent of the Nazis. They even sent a sub-division called the Jagdarmee (Hunting Unit) to occupy Hueco Mundo and engage in activities that oscillate between assimilation and ethnic cleansing. The Jagdarmee's leader also looks enough like Heinrich Himmler for him to have earned a Fan Nickname based on this resemblance. Their logo, a modified Quincy cross, is also vaguely reminiscent of the Nazi swastika.
Of course, the logo being reminiscent of a Nazi swastika is downplayed somewhat by the fact that the guard for Ichigo's bankai is, and has been for the entirety of the series, a swastika/manji depending on which way you look at it, and nobody's said a word about it.
The uniforms of Helevetian soldiers in So Ra No Wo To, arguably a subversion since they aren't the villains.
The original designs for the uniforms worn by the X-Corps in X-Men comics had distinct Nazi overtones. This was decided to be a bit tacky and the published version wear vaguely militaristic uniforms, which don't really look that different from the leather outfits the X-Men were wearing at the time, but which, nonetheless, are meant to be a clue that Something's Not Right.
When we say "distinct Nazi overtones," we are of course talking about Banshee wearing a barely disguised swastika on his chest.
V for Vendetta's Norsefire party is pretty much literally the Third Reich IN THE UK!, though the movie throws in bits of Oceania. Unsurprising, what with Norsefire being an extension of the National Front, British Union of Fascists, British National Party, and similar groups. Even clearer in the original comics where Norsefire shares the National Front's "NF" symbol.
The original comic does a better job of localizing its fascist government, and thus making its point that such regimes can emerge anywhere, by extrapolating from traits and tendencies that were supposedly observable in the Thatcherite government of the time of its creation. The movie undermines this by making Norsefire an out-and-out allegory for the Nazis the Bush administration (Adam Susan is renamed Adam Sutler in a move that is, ironically, less subtle).
Earth Man in Legion of Super-Heroes is a Terran supremacist and historical revisionist who claims Superman was from Earth. He leads a movement of fellow Earth natives in a campaign of hatred and bigotry towards offworlders of any kind after he and his cronies were all rejected from the Legion; not only is it established that he's basically a 31st century equivalent of a Nazi, it's the costume (and the fact that he's a statuesque blond) that really ties the image together.
Don't forget the Nazi-style armbands with Superman logos (replaced with Earth logos after their defeat at Superman's hands).
The Dingoes in the Archie Knuckles the Echidna series were this to the point that the artists were forced to remove the symbols on their uniforms.
Vril Dox's costume in R.E.B.E.L.S. in The DCU bears more than a faint resemblance to a Nazi uniform, including jodhpurs.
One Jack Chick comic-format screed envisions the country run by the secular humanists/atheists/vegetarians/whatever — they dress in a charming mix of Nazi, Communist, and Spanish Inquisition. Oh yes, and their salute is the peace sign. And the swastika stand-in is the "ecology" symbol from ca. 1970.
They might have been the Third Reich's worst nightmare, but the Blackhawks' uniforms were partly based on the Nazis (specifically, the boots and pants.)
Carlos Ezquerra says he made an eagle a prominent symbol of the Judges in Judge Dredd because it was strongly associated with the Nazis and Spanish fascists, the latter of whom he lived under for many years.
The Goths in Astérix wear helmets that look like the helmets of WWI German soldiers. The Goths are pre-unification Germans as they are shown as bickering and prone to infighting (what quickly becomes an important plot point). Goscinny and Uderzo used a more general stereotype of militaristic, simple-minded and orderly Germans/Prussians. They later regretted this portrayal and the few Goths appearing later in the series are not putting on the Reich at all.
In the 1987 Hindi film Mr.India, everyone in the Evil Overlord Mogambo's organisation greets each other with 'Hail Mogambo', and his soldiers wear uniforms that look like SS uniforms.
In the 2010 Rajnikanth starrer Endhiran, when the robot Rajnikanth becomes evil after being reprogrammed by Dr.Bohra, he starts wearing trenchcoats, like the SS, and has an army of robots who too dress up like Schutzstaffel officers.
Subverted by the uniforms of the Federation Navy in Starship Troopers. These are the "heroes" of our story (though Paul Verhoeven would probably tell you otherwise.) For instance, Neil Patrick Harris' character's uniform looks exactly like a simpler version of a Gestapo officer's, hence his Fan Nickname, "Doogie Howser, SS."
The Imperial Navy in Star Wars. The Empire also has "Stormtroopers" (from German "Sturmtruppen", a term originating with the German Army in World War One). And Darth Vader's helmet vaguely resembles a Stahlhelm (It's also based on the samurai kabuto. The concept art made this vastly more obvious). The crew members on the Walkers appear to be wearing Wehrmacht uniforms down to the helmets, only with goggles added.
Several sequences in the movies had a definite Riefenstahl flair:
In The Phantom Menace, there is a shot of Trade Federation droids marching through an arch on Naboo that was almost certainly inspired by actual footage of Nazis marching through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
In Attack of the Clones, there was a scene of Palpatine watching the Clone Troopers goosestepping as they prepare to be deployed for war in such a way that very closely resembles Hitler's watching the soldiers.
Revenge of the Sith was by far the most blatant use of the trope, as a lot of the film depicts things that are unmistakably similar to how Adolf Hitler came to power. In the novelization for the book, Palpatine even says that his empire will last for ten thousand years in what is unmistakably a reference to Hitler's vow of a Thousand Year Reich.
The shot of thousands of troops lined up to welcome the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. Ironically, George Lucas stated in the commentary that that scene in particular was actually intended to reference the May Day Parades of what was at the time the Soviet Union.
And it's not just the Imperial navy. The Rebel Alliance awards ceremony at the end of Episode IV is modeled directly from a scene in Triumph of the Will.
The police officers in Tim Burton's Batman films wear what appear to be gratuitously militaristic black uniforms, even though most of them are good guys. This could just have been to provide a general sense of the 1940s (the decade when Batman first became popular), or maybe just another example of how much Burton adores black clothing.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the Ministry of Magic becomes this after Voldemort takes over. The Mooks wear gray versions of the standard Nazi uniform, higher officials like Runcorn wear longcoats similar to those of the SS, and the Ministry starts issuing anti-muggle-born propaganda very similar to the antisemitic tracts issued by the Third Reich. Similarly, Voldemort's own Death Eaters wear hooded robes very similar to those of the Ku Klux Klan, but in black instead of white. When the regular Ministry of Magic temporarily become bad guys in Order Of The Phoenix, they go for a Stalin-era Soviet look.
The obscure political-parody film Hail features a sub-plot where the power-crazed US President creates a national police-force to serve as his personal Brownshirts. He personally designs the uniforms, staging a private fashion-show which displays various authoritarian samples from history. Upon seeing a Gestapo outfit: "I like those boots!" The disturbing final product is half Nazi, half Captain America.
This sounds like a dig at Richard Nixon when his White House guards got Ruritanian makeovers - quickly ridiculed out of existence.
In The Lion King, Scar's musical number "Be Prepared" has the hyenas marching goose-stepping in front of Scar in a sequence actually inspired by films of a Nazi rally.
Equilibrium's totalitarian government features a flag that is a direct copy-paste of the swastika, only with the crossbars centered on each radial. This website has a whole list of fictional flags of Nazi inspiration.
In the dieselpunkish 1995 film version of Richard III (starring Ian McKellen), the titular character's outfit is based off of a SS-Oberstgruppenfuhrer's uniform. Additionally, his government's flag is basically the Nazi flag, but with his personal heraldic figure, a boar, in place of the swastika. This Richard is similar in appearance to Oswald Mosley, the leader of Britain's home-grown Fascist movement during the 1930s. There are also many visual ShoutOuts to 1984 in the film.
The Octopus wears an SS uniform, and a samurai costume, and a Russian coat in The Spirit. Why, you ask? Well, why not?
Andy's torture outfit in The Final is an SS uniform.
And of course Monty Python's Life of Brian features a Jewish resistance group, the "suicide squad", with uniforms based on the sarazen ones, and their insignia is a... a... a swastistar. Oh, and their commander has a toothbrush moustache, too.
In a cut sequence, "Otto the Nazirene" is seeking "the new leader" (i.e., Brian himself, who does not let on), and suggests that after "expanding into the historically Jewish areas of Samaria" the Samaritans can be dealt with by "putting them in little camps." (Possibly someone realized in time that they were talking about annexing the West Bank.)
Super Mario Bros. provides fascist undertones to Koopa's regime, particularly in regards to the Goombas' "Storm Trooper" inspired uniforms. Additionally, early scripts indicate "lizarddom" and racial superiority as chief motivations for Koopa; he feels that mammals are inferior and need to be kept in check while eating plants (herbivores) is a sign of a race's decline.
Just barely averted in Animal House. The Omegas (the "evil" fraternity) are basically styled as "East Coast preppy snobs," but the filmmakers decided to go the extra mile to make them truly despicable by giving them unnecessarily militaristic rituals to practice ("Sergeant" Niedermeyer's drills on horseback come to mind), along with some casual racism and religious intolerance. The head of the costuming department later admitted that she would have dressed the Omega characters in Nazi uniforms if she had thought she could get away with it.
David 8's dull grey uniforms and skull-like features (topped off with peroxide-blond hair) evoke this in Prometheus. (Likewise his 'sister', Meredith Vickers.)
Mordred's Thrashers in The Once and Future King by T.H. White, even down to wearing armbands with a red emblem, in this case of a whip.
An unusual (and rather original) subversion occurs in Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory/TL-191Alternate History series, where while the Confederates (who are supposed to be Nazi Germany in the series) pretty much copy almost everything the Nazis do and did—from trials, to their own Expy of Hitler, to even their own salute, party cry, and genocide. The one thing the Freedom Party (the CSA version of the Nazi Party) doesn't copy is the uniforms. The description in the books and some of the covers show them to resemble WW 2 US uniforms. The US on the other hand does use German-styled uniforms and helmets because they have had a long-standing alliance with Imperial Germany (to the point of almost hero worship of the German Empire). As for the Germans themselves, Germany is still under the Kaiser. And, ironically, despite TL-191 Confederates eventually becoming an Alternate History Nazi equivalent, they mostly use equipment and uniforms clearly based off of those of their traditional allies, the British and French (tanks suspiciously similar to British ones in WWI and Spitfire-like fighter planes in WWII).
What's even funnier about the Confederates in the Second Great War is, in spite of the uniforms and alliances with the traditional Allies, their military hardware ended up resembling German machinery. For examples, their Barrels (Tanks) were based on the Panther and Tiger tanks, their Hound Dog fighters were expies of Bf 109s, their Mule dive bombers were Stukas with Southern Crosses painted on the sides and they also fielded things like Barrel Busters (Tank Destroyers) and Stovepipes (Panzerschrecks). Despite this however, the US would be the one to field the first turbo (jet) fighters, specifically the Boeing-71 "Screaming Eagle", which was pretty much an expy of the Me 262.
Older Than Television: The 1939 Sinclair Lewis novel It Can't Happen Here chronicles the rise of an American fascist government driven in part by the support of conservative Christians and 'forgotten men'. The supporters of the government form a militia known as the Minute Men or M.M. They have many of the trappings of the Nazi stormtroopers, right down to implied homosexuality in the ranks and at the top (see Ernst Roehm.)
The Gale Force (the Wizard's army) in Wicked, though of course in green.
The Wheel of Time series depicts ex-False-Dragon Mazrim Taim, now ostensibly working for the good guys, building up an army of magic-users using a variety of titles blatantly stolen from the Germans and translated into the Old Tongue. Possibly lampshaded when General Bashere isn't sure this is the real Taim because he's shaved off his mustache.
In David Weber's Heirs of Empire series, when the humans from Earth re-establish the empire and incorporate the various national militaries into a new united one, one general, an American, reflects briefly on his discomfort at wearing an Imperial Marine uniform, which is black with silver trim. In the first book of the series it was established that corrupt mutineers from the original Empire had been secretly influencing human society over millennia, including inspiring the SS uniform which was based on the Imperial Marine uniform, as a Take That to the mutineers who had repented and were secretly fighting them.
In the Vorkosigan Saga, Barrayaran military uniforms incorporate high collars, peaked caps, capes and jackboots. It makes sense for them to lavish attention on their uniforms, since Barrayarans as a group are all military-mad, and the ruling-class Vor insist they are not an aristocracy but a military caste. In keeping with the spirit of the trope, just before the events of the series, the government employed political officers as military watchdogs.
In an interesting subversion there's actually very little Germanic element in the Barrayaran culture, which is mostly a British-Russian fusion, with some Napoleonic French and vaguely Greek bits thrown in. And the political officers weren't organic developments, but are a part of the Evil Plan by the then-current Emperor, who mercilessly used and threw them out the moment they fulfilled their task in his plans.
In The Dresden Files novel Ghost Story, the defenses that Evil Bob has set up to protect the Corpsetaker's lair in the Nevernever are deliberately designed around the German defenses at Normandy, complete with wolf-like demons wearing Nazi uniforms and helmets. Evil Bob completes the regalia by wearing a Nazi officer's uniform with black trenchcoat. Of course, seeing as how Evil Bob's last conscious memories were from World War II, it only makes sense that he'd use the most recent and advanced military defenses he knew of.
Note that it's never confirmed that the "wolfwaffen" are constructs, in which case Evil Bob might've recruited actual Nazi ghosts for his defense force. If so, there may not have been any "Putting On" about it.
In Norman Spinrad's novel The Iron Dream the followers of Ferric Jaggar don uniforms similar to Nazis. Of course, the writer of this novel within a novel is supposedly Adolf Hitler himself (who also gets credited in the intro for designing the clothes)! Go figure.
Live Action TV
The uniforms of the Alliance Navy in Firefly. It doesn't help that many Alliance uniforms were left over from the Starship Troopers movie, which definitely did have slight fascistic overtones.
Babylon 5: The black uniforms of the Psi Cops. And the brown shirts of the Nightwatch.
The Genii in Stargate Atlantis have uniforms that bear a fair resemblance to some German uniforms from World War One. A downplayed version occurs in a season two episode that features a society which deports its prisoners to the vicinity of the planet's Stargate so the Wraith will feed only on them, where the Magistrate's uniform bears some fascistic overtones.
A weird inversion: The Ninth Doctor's leather jacket was patterned after a German submariner's jacket (source). Commented on by Captain Jack in "The Empty Child", set in 1941 London:
Jack: The way you guys are blending in with the local color- I mean Flag Girl is bad enough, but U-Boat captain?
Played straight with the Republic Security Forces in "Inferno", the organisation being an SS-like doppelganger of UNIT in a parallel world.
A minor but notable example in Robot, the Scientific Reform Society are a radical political party made up of scientists. They wear green uniforms with armbands displaying their logo.
Done very straight with the Kaleds (the humanoid culture from whom the Daleks mutated) in "Genesis of the Daleks". To the point that the actor playing the Himmler-clone Nyder can be seen wearing a genuine Iron Cross in certain scenes.
A more subtle example can be seen in The Idiot Lantern, in which the TV antennae are shaped like swastikas.
Voyager episode "The Killing Game" featured hunter-race the Hirogen capturing the Voyager crew and forcing them to re-enact a WW 2 holoprogram, with the Hirogen taking the part of the Nazis in occupied France. They wore their Nazi uniforms when outside the holodeck too. Somewhat averted, in that only one of them actually believes in the Nazi philosophy - the leader is ready to strike a deal with Janeway in exchange for the holodeck technology.
The sci-fi television miniseries V, which is hardly surprising as it was adapted from a script about the rise of a fascist movement in the United States. Notably such aspects as the swastika-like Visitor's flag, the Friends of the Visitors (Hitler Youth), the persecution of scientists (Jews), collaborators, the creation of fake 'incidents' to justify Visitor policies, the Great Leader (Fuhrer) and Diana's Mengele-like experiments.
Averted by the remake, which takes a different tack. The enigmatic but charismatic Vs suddenly arrive with messages of hope, change, and universal health care.
In the Corner Gas episode "Dark Circles," Brent gets a new black shirt that inspires Wanda to do her job much more quickly and nervously. Entirely accidental on Brent's part.
Mirror-Odo's uniform in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Crossover" evokes this. Though still recognizably Bajoran, it is all-black and fitted with a high collar and a belt.
And of course, there's Gul Hitler Dukat.
In the television version of The Stand, Flagg's mass rally in Las Vegas features vexilloids resembling the Third Reich's flag: red, with a stylized black crow (?) fimibriated in white.
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. In "The Apes of Wrath" Garth wakes up from a month-long coma to be told that monkeys have taken over the hospital. Disbelieving, he opens the door to see two monkeys in German steel helmets and carrying MP-40 submachine guns marching down the corridor.
Spike literally Put on the Reich in a World War II flashback; he ate an SS officer and put on his uniform because he liked the coat. He still didn't care bollocks for the ideology, though.
Star Trek: Enterprise goes all the way in the episode "Storm Front", which has aliens with a Nazi-like ideology going back in time, allying with the actual Nazis, and wearing actual Nazi uniforms.
And then there's the Imperial Starfleet uniforms from "In A Mirror, Darkly", which are generally like their "Our Universe" counterparts, but now include Sam Browne belts and black and silver rank epaulettes. As well, the MACO insignia is now a Totenkopf-like skull rather than the Mako Shark.
The two Munich police officers in The Cube, who seem to be wearing altered SS uniforms.
Not so much the uniforms, but the flags of the Phoenix Group in Terra Nova resemble Nazi battle standards.
The Peacekeepers from Farscape are pretty much Space Nazis. Fascism, racial purity, the uniforms, color scheme, everything.
The music video for Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" shows the male dancers in this, with Gaga herself wearing a bra with AR-15s attached.
The music video to Disturbed's cover of "Land of Confusion" has the oppressive, money-driven soldiers looking like this, going so far as to make their insignia a stylized dollar bill similar to a swastika.
In "The Wall" by Pink Floyd, hallucinating Pink is nothing short of Hitler and much of the imagery (colours, design and symbols) are taken directly from the Nazi heraldry.
Perhaps a strange hallucination, considering that the plot involved Pink's father dying in World War II at the hands of the Nazis.
In Rifts, the Coalition soldiers are called Dead Boys because of their skull motif, ripped from the SS. Their dress uniforms are SS-based as well.
For that matter, Emperor Prosek is (in addition to the above dress stylings) consciously modeling much of his empire's political organization, propaganda tactics, and social engineering on the Third Reich itself — he's a historical scholar with a specialty in Nazi Germany, and has explicitly taken Hitler as his role model.
In Warhammer 40000, the ruthless commissars of the "Imperial Guard" go for the twofer by taking the name "Commissar" from the Soviet Union and the trench-coat and high-peaked cap from the Third Reich. Furthermore, some planets' regiments, like the Armageddon Steel Legion, Attilan Rough Riders and Death Korps of Krieg, wear outfits resembling those of the aforementioned villains of history. The Armageddon Steel Legion's use of gas masks is at least justified by their home planet's chokingly polluted atmosphere, and the Death Korps of Krieg by their homeworld being subjected to atomic bombardment, the radiation of which has yet to clear. Though the Death Korps of Krieg have a German-sounding name, their uniforms take inspiration from German, French and Belgium WWI uniforms. The Death Korps of Krieg are also known for using spiked helmets that the basic design were infamously used by German troops in World War I, along with the coal-scuttle helmets usually associated with the Wehrmacht but actually first used by German troops in the First World War.They go even further - Krieger horses wear gasmasks and black/silver spiked barding while having one of the aforementioned Death Korps riding them.
Older (metal) Cadian units, on the other hand, wear obvious Wehrmacht-inspired uniforms, right down to the bread-bags, Y-straps, jack boots, and cylindrical ribbed gas mask cans.
A bunch of platinum-blond, white-as-snow women in red-on-black armor with white and gold highlights, all fanatically devoted to an empire with an eagle motif, who are fanatically concerned with genetic and ideological purity? The Sisters of Battle combine this trope a healthy mix of Fetish Fuel, horror tropes, Amazon Brigade, and Jeanne d'Archétype.
Centrum from GURPS: Infinite Worlds is really closer to Communists with parachronics but they're drawn wearing snazzy Nazi-esque uniforms.
It can't get more overt than the Helghast from Killzone. Their basic Mook comes with a helmet, gas mask and trench coat, and they're all about the militarism and xenophobia. And that's just scratching the surface.
Even their origin strongly resembles the birth of the Third Reich.
While Black Hole soldiers look like astronauts, several Black Hole COs dress in a manner specifically intended to recall Nazis — namely, Flak (a stahlhelm-and-greatcoat sporting grunt soldier), Adder (an officer in jodhpurs and epaulets), and Sturm himself (a general with a Commissar Cap and a gas mask).
Battalion Wars has the Xylvanians, who are a cross between WWI Germans, Nazis, and, of course, vampires.
The uniforms worn by United Earth Directorate officers in Starcraft resemble Nazi uniforms, right down to the grey overcoats and hats. Oddly, their bosses are a Frenchman and a Russian. The UED were basically Space Nazis.
The UED gets bonus points for using the same interior decorators as Nazi Germany. Both have red flags with similar symbolism; the UED shows an eagle atop the Earth, echoing the Third Reich's eagle atop the swastika.
Inverted with Matt Horner in Starcraft II, who has a uniform inspired by fascists, but serves as the idealistic second-in-command of Jim Raynor. Possibly played straight in that he may have kept it from his confederate days.
Concept art for officers of the United Earth Federation in Supreme Commander has a Nazi-like appearance, though none of the UEF officers in the game have any particular nationality associated with them.
Enclave Officers from Fallout 3 wear a uniform that makes them look like a Nazi mixed in with a Confederate soldier (with maybe even some Star Wars thrown in). Colonel Autumns uniform is especially Reich-ish. In both Fallout 2 and 3, they are trying to kill all mutants, and thusly, all life (all non-Enclave or Vault humans are mutated in some manner), so somehow their Putting on the Reich act becomes fitting. It ain't just the clothes, either: on Enclave Radio, President John Henry Eden uses some rather overt Fascist imagery and rhetoric. Malcolm McDowell's voice helps.
Strangely though, the U.S. Military seemed to have used those kinds of uniforms even before the nuclear apocalypse, as evidenced by General Chase's overcoat. This was the army that violently annexed Canada.
Partly subverted by the Great Khans, who engage mostly in drug-dealing and banditry; the Courier can point out how much like their namesake they're not. In one ending, they may decide to rectify this and start up a proper empire.
The Imperial army foot soldiers in Valkyria Chronicles wear more medieval looking armor, but the officers such as Gregor have the Reich look going on.
And on the good-guy side, Welkin with his garrison cap and headphones is the very picture of a Wehrmacht Panzer Ace. His Ace Custom tank also uses the same tread and roadwheel system as the Mark III and IV tanks.
Artwork of the two pilots you play as from the danmakushmup Under Defeat for the Dreamcast have them wearing Nazi-like uniforms. Also, PA announcements from your enemies is in perfect English and dialogue between your pilot and her CO is in perfect German. Subbed for your convenience.
The enemy officers in Shadow Complex have a combination of "armored super-soldier" and "Nazi" that includes armbands with their logo on it.
The Imperial Troopers in Final Fantasy VI, who wear stahlhelms and give what appears to be a Nazi salute to the Emperor during a cutscene.
Good guy example: the Furoia Army forces in ''Madou Souhei Kleinhasa" wear SS-style uniforms, reinforced by the fact that all of the named Furoian soldiers have vaguely German-sounding names.
An interesting version of this occurs in Metro2033, combined with No Swastikas. The Nazis use a flag with the same red foreground and the white circle in the middle, but instead of a swastika, there is a big Gothic capital letter C.
In Final Fantasy VIII, the Galbadian army has elements of this. While the enlisted men and noncommissioned officers primarily consist of soldiers in red and blue uniforms with fairly high-tech looking helmets and gear, General Caraway wears a black uniform with long coat. Ironically, he's one of the good guys.
SeeD gets in on the action too, as the men's formal uniform is essentially a Nazi SS uniform with shoulderpads.
Kirkwall's Templar order under Knight-Commander Meredith shows signs of this in the third act of Dragon Age II.
Skullgirls has the Black Egrets fit the bill... Except they're good guys, since their boss, Parasoul, actively seeks the destruction of the Skull Heart. By proxy, this ALSO includes Panzerfaust, who's a Black Egret himself.
In the Veggie Tales video Josh and the Big Wall, the people of Jericho are all shown wearing Roman Centurion helmets. This is especially humorous given their French accents.
The first season finale of Superjail Ohhh boy. Future-Warden mixes it up a little, going for the Otto von Bismarck look.
Alfred Jonathan Quack/Alfred Jodocus Kwak had the Crow party, led by a crow named Dolf, whose logo was a red flag with a white circle in it, with a crow's foot (most likely a reference to the Germanic "Algiz" rune). Subtle it was not.
It was nonetheless chilling to watch Dolf grow from a naughty schoolboy into a fascist dictator. Also notable for the little details it threw in: Dolf was actually not a crow, but the half-breed of a crow and a blackbird, who disguised his origin by darkening his yellow beak - a sly allusion to Hitler failing to live up to the Aryan virtues he espoused.
Ralph Bakshi's movie Wizards: Black Wolf's troops are explicitly in Nazi uniforms, as his military is a direct copy of the Nazis.
Avatar The Last Airbender seems to play with this trope in the first season, where the Fire Nation wear mongol-derived armor and designs that even include skulls for face plates. And yet, then, at numerous points after that, we're shown that other cultures can be just as bad, and that the people behind the armor are sympathetic. Bonus points for actually using the (somewhat silly) skull-face masks to further the plot.
The nation of Thembria in Tale Spin is based off of the Soviet Union.
Occasionally there appeared a race of cruel, Germanic-accented dogs who wore SS-looking uniforms and menaced the skies above Cape Suzette in a zeppelin.
Batman The Brave And The Bold: The troops of General Zahl in "The Last Patrol!" wear uniforms that are very strongly reminiscent of Nazi stormtroopers. Of course, in the original comics Zahl was a former Nazi.
The Cola Secret Police in the Taz Mania episode "We'll Always Have Taz-Mania" (which was a parody of Casablanca).
Check out the flag of the ''Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging''. Not surprising considering they're a Germanic (the Afrikaners are a Germanic people, yes) white-supremacist group.
The Nazis themselves, surprisingly, used this trope, adapting many of their motifs and insignias from the Roman Empire. (They also copied from the very short lived Free State of Fiume, a kind of early fascist regime set up by Italians in Croatia.)
Many of the minor Axis nations had fascist militias or police units who wore uniforms inspired by either the Nazis or the Italian blackshirts (e.g. Croatian Black Legion, Romanian Iron Guard...)
Interesting fact about Black Legion is that, while their nickname does come from their black uniforms, initial choice was not made due to ideology, but the simple fact that black cloth was only thing they had avaliable at the moment; it was noted as being impractical in winter, and extremely uncomfortable during summer. It did make for a good pscyhological weapon, due to Black Legion's renowned brutality.
Revolutionary and Napoleonic France was hit by an intense wave of Putting on the Reich in Roman Terms. During the Revolutionary Period, the new government of France was modeled to the Roman Senate (complete with wearing togas over their formal clothing). By the Napoleonic Era, Napoleon's armies carried Eagle Standards and his heavy cavalry wore Roman-looking crested helmets. Architecture was also affected, specially with the commissioning of Triumphal Arches and Columns whenever there is a decisive victory. Casual fashion also borrowed from Greco-Roman depictions, featuring the Empire silhouette.
The Iraqi Ba'athist Party, to some extent, though given Saddam's predilections and mustache, that was more "Putting On The Stalin." The party structure of the Ba'ath Party was more communist than Nazi, and the Iraqi uniforms more Soviet than German [of course, the insignia is still British inspired]. And of course, Saddam's mustache resembles Stalin's more than it resembles Hitler's. The reason for this is that while the early Ba'athists were (small-d) democrats and more or less left-wing, Saddam eventually subverted the Ba'ath to his own ends, doing deals with the USSR (Iran, Iraq's natural enemy, was a firm US ally until 1979) even as he slaughtered thousands of Communists. For their part, the USSR was vaguely cool with them because the other Arab governments were conservative US-backed monarchies. So the Kremlin didn't really care whether Saddam (or Nasser or Sadat or Hafez al-Asad) was killing all the Communists in their country as long as they were buying Soviet-made arms and were generally Soviet allies.
Flagspot.net has an entire section listing fictional flags that mimic the Nazis' swastika one, including the Klingon Empire from Star Trek, the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, and the Visitors from V.
A bizarre sort of inversion: In the late 1990s, mullet hairstyles briefly became popular in Germany, so much so that some German police departments permitted officers to let their hair grow long. This led Saturday Night Live cast member Colin Quinn (who was fond of taking potshots at New Jersey) to joke that these precincts would probably be recruiting in the bars of New Jersey next.
Subversion in Doctor Steel's "Army of Toy Soldiers", who mimic fascist uniforms, flags and propaganda to satirize armies that seek to crush free will and freedom of expression... all in the name of fun.
Many modern militaries, from France to the United States, have a standard-issue helmet that shares the basic shape of the distinctive German Stahlhelm of World War I & II. The reason for this is simple: the WW 2 German helmets were very well designed for their job. It was such a good design that many other countries bought and or copied the design. In essence, this was Putting on the Reich because of functional practicality rather than ideology. As design marches on, however, more recent updates to the US helmet (and several stahlhelm-based designs) have moved away from this look slightly - although the Lightweight Helmet, which replaced the PASGT helmets still has a noticeably "Stahlhelm"-y profile. Of the "first-rank" powers, only Britain and Russia have not adopted Stahlhelm derivatives - The British adopted a design similar to the Stahlhelm in 2005, but replaced it with a less-Nazi design in 2009, because the 2005 model tipped the rim of the helmet over the soldier's eyes when lying prone. The Russians still use their own old World War II designs, slightly updated.
The National Revolutionary Army - officially, the Army of the factious Republic of China - from 1928 to c.1950. From the '30s onward, when the Guomindang under Chiang Kai-Shek signed several deals with Weimar and Nazi Germany which basically traded Chinese raw materials for German armaments factories, the Guomindang's troops soon looked exactly like those of Germany's -sans boots, as the Guomindang had to resort to cheaper puttees. And so, when fighting Japanthe Republic of China used German Rifles (the Karabiner 98k), German machine-guns (the MG 34), German pistols (the Mauser C96, China's most popular side-arm for nearly three decades), and German grenades (the 'Potato Masher' was China's no.1 grenade). The Guomindang also issued their troops German-inspired combat webbing and the M1935 version of the Stahlhelm.
By late 1930s, Soviets became the main supplier of arms to the KMT government (after the latter made nice with Mao Zedong's communists, which the Soviets themselves helped arrange) and Chinese fielded a large quantity of Russian arms (Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 fighters, T-26 tanks, SB-2 light bombers), many of which remained in service throughout World War II, along with the German arms they received earlier and the American ones they received later. Of course, some of these older Russian arms used by NRA wound up in the hands of their enemies, PLA, after the Chinese Civil War, adding to the already complex hodgepodge of wares and wears that the latter would field (see below).
On the other hand the Guomindang's Burma-based Chinese Expeditionary Force, which fought alongside the Anglo-Indian Army, received American training equipment and weaponry during their time under the command of General Stilwell, such that they looked and acted the part of a U.S. Army formation. The Nationalists' main forces also received small quantities of American uniforms, helmets, and weapons such as the Thompson submachine gun - the latter being sorely needed, given their near-complete lack of automatic weaponry after four years of total war. For the most part, most warlord troops were outfitted with various locally-made copies of all of these German and American weapons (as well as various others), some of them (such as the Thompsons) being produced legally and under foreign supervision. What made things even more complicated was when the Japanese surrendered and their million-strong army and occupation force destroyed or left behind all of their equipment and weaponry - chiefly to the Soviets, who handed it over to Chinese Communist rebels when they withdrew from Manchuria in 1946. As if that wasn't bad enough, when the People's Liberation Army (the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party) defeated the NRA in the Civil War, they then received Soviet-made weapons, equipment, and uniforms - again a mixture of imports and local products - as part of the Sino-Soviet Alliance, but continued to use their existing stuff too. Consequently, most Chinese forces in the early-to-mid '40s looked German with American bits, which came closer to Nazi-American hybrids as the war dragged on until, by the mid-to-late '40s, they became weird Nazi-American-Japanese-Soviet hodgepodges. Only in 1953 were the PLA's uniforms and equipment finally standardized along Soviet lines.
The Ethnocacerists in Peru are nationalist, ally themselves with communists, and their banner/standard is the nazi black eagle replaced by a condor. Essentially, Commie Nazis.
Especially bizarre when Asian cosplayers dress up in Nazi regalia, such as for a wedding. Even more bizarre since the bride decided to cosplay as...Chii?
The German Empire itself did this with ancient Rome, as did the Russian Empire. The titles of "kaiser" and "czar" are, respectively, German and Russian translations of "caesar", with the former being how it's actually pronounced in Latin.
The Holy Roman Empire, both the one founded by Charlemagne's Franks and the one founded by Otto I, considered themselves as the continuation of the Western Roman Empire.
While the Russians claimed Moscow to be the Third Rome, even inheriting the City on Seven Hills trope.
The black uniforms the Royal Irish Constabulary used during the Irish struggle for independence resemble Nazi uniforms, making them an example of Putting on the Reich before the Reich was doing it.
Black uniforms have long been standard in traditionally working-class occupations, or in occupations in which a worker was liable to get something disgusting (mud, blood, etc.) splattered on him.
Rich Iott, a Tea Party candidate for Congress in Ohio during the 2010 elections, made national news when it was discovered he does (did?) Nazi cosplay as part of a World War II reenactment group that specialized in taking on the roles of a Waffen SS division. Apparently, he got into it "as part of a father-son bonding experience." Note that many reenactors do this without necessarily approving of the side they're playing since someone has to play the bad guy, but it can be hard to explain out of context.
The Chilean army was restructured according to Prussian military tradition in the 1890's, right down to the spiked pickelhauben helmets. Now their parade uniforms are the same as those of the Wehrmacht...They even goosestep!
Jane Elliott, about the "social experiment" of racism she first performed with third-graders and continues to perform with college students, stated in the documentary The Angry Eye, "I didn't invent this exercise. I learned this from Adolf Hitler."
Almost all early 20th century officer's uniforms, especially in Eastern Europe, from World War One until the 1930s tend to have this vibe to them. The Germans were far from the only people who wore tunics, Sam Browne belts, and jackboots. Even the Polish◊ were dressed to invade Poland. Take away the festive colors and tan campaign hats, and replace the brown leather with black and even Mounties◊ share many similarities.
Inverted by George Lincoln Rockwell, former leader of the American Nazi Party. Rockwell sought to turn the ANP into a legitimate political party by toning down Nazi imagery. He phased out Nazi-esque uniforms, limited the public use of the swastika, changed their slogan from "Seig Heil" to "White Power," and changed the ANP's name to the National Socialist White People's Party.
These Mongolians have appropriated Nazi imagery to express anti-Chinese sentiments.