What happens when Those Wacky Nazis is too good a stereotype to be confined to period settings. Even though World War II is long past, the ugly shadow of Nazism endures, and inevitably colors perceptions of the German people. So, in many post-1945 settings (and Fantasy Counterpart Cultures), German characters will display gratuitous Nazi traits like goose-stepping or greeting their leader with a Roman salute, sometimes when they otherwise have nothing to do with Nazi Germany. Note that much of this is actually banned in Real Life modern Germany.
Can even apply in WWII-based works — a significant minority within the army's officer corps opposed Hitler throughout the war, with planned putsches in 1938 and 39, as well as the infamous 20th July 1944, while also playing a role in various resistance cells (it has been estimated that over 50% of the resistance was military). Given that the Army had had quite a difficult relationship with Hitler pre-1938, a lot of people going into 'inner exile' (seeking a place in society reasonably free from any interaction with Nazi ideology) had also wound up in the service. The record in the war was quite checkered, however, due to an overlap in what was acceptable and desirable for conservative German nationalists (like most of the officer corps) and the Nazis, especially as it pertained to actions against partisans (which the old establishment hated with a passion), scorched earth tactics in the East, and discipline within the Wehrmacht (20,000+ German servicemen were executed during the war).
The Luftwaffe, having been newly created under the Nazis and led by Göring, was the most National Socialist arm in the armed forces, with Luftwaffe personnel being notorious for their sympathies for National Socialism. The Navy, on the other hand never really approved of National Socialism note and the Army's intelligence service (the Abwehr) was quite deliberately obstructive to the Schutzstaffel's (SS's) intelligence service (the Sicherheitsdienst or SD) not just out of Interservice Rivalry but also because it didn't approve of all the genocides. Even some civilians spoke out against the Nazis, though all of them were in concentration camps by the mid-1930s. The first people sent to them were not Jews, but all political opponents of the Nazis, starting with the Communists.
Even if the Just Following Orders excuse might not excuse people of the violence they committed whilst working for the Nazis, that does not mean that those people were Nazis and agreed with their entire political agenda. The costs of opposing or even just refusing to support them were very high, not just because you could be killed on the spot (in 1944-45), but also because you could be imprisoned or fired or passed-over for promotion (1933-45). One must also remember the handful of heroic figures like Oskar Schindler (whose career was famously depicted in Schindler's List), Gert Fröbe (better known for his post-war acting career in movies like Goldfinger and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and Karl Plagge, who all belonged to the Nazi Party and publicly supported it while secretly working against it. There is also the bizarre case of John Rabe and the Nanjing Nazis under his leadership, who saved tens of thousands of Chinese people during the Nanjing Massacre in the name of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Rabe had no authority from Hitler to do this. He was acting on his own initiative, from his correct belief that this was expected of a decent person, and his incorrect belief that Hitler was the decent sort of person who would expect this (he later found out how wrong his view had been after being arrested by the Gestapo (and told to keep his mouth shut) for talking to the German police about Japanese atrocities in China).
Finally, one should note also the saying that "not all Germans were Nazis, but most Nazis were Germans": the Schutzstaffel (SS) recruited and conscripted many non-Germans to serve on and behind the front lines, respectively (only the volunteers were trusted with weapons). While not even 300k non-Germans fought for Nazi Germany as combat-troops (versus 4m or so Germans), several hundreds of thousands did things like wash horses and drive wagons and carry sacks about for them.
Also, the more stereotypically German characters are (even around other Germans), the more likely they are to be Nazis. Especially beware if they start speaking Gratuitous German.
It is especially prevalent in Eastern Europe, since the last time German soldiers did pay the place a visit, they tried to kill off a quarter of them (under the Hungerplan) as the prelude to replacing them all with Germans (Generalplan Ost and various other schemes) — and very nearly fulfilled the former goal (35+m killed of a target of 40+). In fact, one may even find that what a native of Eastern Europe would sooner find questionable is a deliberate aversion or inversion — the notion that Germans weren't inherently Nazis could be (and has been) taken as an attempt to shift the blame, whether onto non-German allies, or even (on the logic that Germans were themselves victims) the Nazis themselves. As if the basic trope wasn't bad enough.
Should be noted that Modern Germany is actually nothing like Nazi Germany however, as the country is basically now a prosperous social democratic country, filled with many ethnic minorities from across the world leaving the country not as homogenous as it once was, as well as a significant left wing voice in parliament. They are very conscious of the horrible past as the Nazis and are one of the few countries to outright ban holocaust denial. If Adolf Hitler was still alive he'd probably be horrified by it.
See also Nazi Nobleman for a trope caused partly by this one, or Godwin's Law, when someone is deemed a Nazi regardless of being German or not, or Music to Invade Poland to, when music that is from or is influenced by Germany is accused of being Nazist, as well as Argentina Is Nazi-Land, for references to another once-fascist country.
- In general, Germany from Hetalia: Axis Powers is the Only Sane Man who tries to get the others to work together and do their jobs, and is a fan-favorite because of it. In strips set during World War II, he is portrayed as not getting along with Hitler and being shocked and disgusted at the orders he's forced to carry out.
- General Blue, one of the high ranking officers of the Red Ribbon Army in Dragon Ball, is not only given the appearance of a SA officer, blond hair, blue eyes, superhuman capabilities, and psychic powers, but he even went as far as to say "Auf Wiedersehen" at one point in the manga, a phrase that is German for "goodbye." Of course, considering how the FUNimation dub apparently gave him a British accent, it seems less obvious there.
- The Vandenreich of Bleach. Gratuitous German? Check. Putting on the Reich? Check. Fantastic Racism? Double check. Love of the Final Solution? Double check.
- In K, the Weismann twins were military scientists in Dresden during the war, working with a Japanese magic user to decipher and utilize the Slates, a magical stone discovered in the wall of a church (which that Japanese soldier takes back to Japan, where it gives the cast their powers in the present day). Subverted in that one of the twins — the one who would become the immortal Silver King, the Big Good and main character — was horrified at the idea of the Slates being used for war, and wouldn't have supported their policies, but wouldn't have had a choice about working for them. But his sister tells him to remember who's paying for their research — the shot in the flashback in episode 9 when she grabs him shows that they're in this whether he likes it or not, and he probably doesn't.
- Subverted in the board game Tannhäuser. Even though "The Reich" is based on the Nazis stylistically (tons of leather, a blond-haired/blue-eyed, whip-toting Femme Fatale as one of the playable characters, and an obsession with the occult), the game actually takes place in an alternate history where WWI has been going strong for 35 years, WWII never took place, and the Nazis never existed.
- One of Harry Enfield's sketch characters was a German student visiting Britain. Every time someone mentioned anything to do with WWII (and he would always cause it to be brought up by doing things such as asking why there are modern buildings next to pre-WWII buildings on a tour of London), he would start off by apologising for his country's past actions, but would always end up betraying his Nazi sympathies.
- The late great Robin Williams had a stand-up routine regarding the German relationship with humor, and this was the punchline.
VE ASK DE QUESTIONS!
- Patton Oswalt proposed the theory that the reason for the stereotype of Germans having absolutely no sense of humour (which he can confirm is very true from taking a trip there) is because they are afraid that if they allow people to get away with making jokes of any kind, then it's only a matter of time before the "All Germans Are Nazis" jokes come out, and they can't have that.
- Played with in Hellboy, where pretty much every German character who appears turns out to have something to do with the Nazis (usually because they either are Nazis with some kind of Eternal Life, or related to them), but averted in the spin-off B.P.R.D. series, where modern Germans are universally just regular folks, and one of the main characters is the heroic (though occasionally absent-minded) ghost-in-a-bag Johann Kraus.
- A Zig-Zagging Trope in Preacher:
- Jesse Custer, the protagonist, befriends an old German WWII veteran. Initially, it looks like this trope is averted: the old man tells Jesse he merely did his duty during a time of war and was never a Nazi. But then we find out he's lying: he actually was a member of the SS, specifically the infamous "police battalions," and killed many innocent people. However, the old man now regrets his actions and asks Jesse to absolve him, but Jesse refuses, saying "There's some things can't ever be put right," while tossing him a hangman's noose. The old man then hanged himself in his home.
- Actually averted with Grail leader and main protagonist Herr Starr. In the course of a conversation with the vampire Cassidy (whom Starr has kidnapped, mistaking him for his true target, Jesse Custer), Cassidy remarks how unusual (if not outright hypocritical) it is for a German like Starr to belong to a subversive organization that has named its most sacred shrine/headquarters "Masada" (after the ancient mountaintop fortress in Israel and the last Jewish stronghold during a revolt in Judea). Starr asserts that he is not a racist and that all national, religious and racial identity became inconsequential once he joined The Grail.
- Johann Schmidt, AKA Red Skull, served as a former member of the Nazi Party during World War II in the Captain America comics and also pretty much every single medium (except the 1990 movie, where he was an Italian fascist whose only involvement with the German Nazis is his partaking in the Ubermensch project). Subverted in the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger. Johann Schmidt was never a Nazi, but served Hitler in exchange for resources to fund his research. When Hitler became impatient with Schmidt's apparent lack of progress and cut off his funding, Schmidt instantly turned against Hitler and murdered his Nazi superiors; in fact, he was all along planning to destroy Berlin alongside other "hostile" capitals.
- Asterix: In Asterix and the Goths, the Goths are depicted as villains. They kidnap Getafix and bring him to Germania. When they are kept waiting at the border, their chieftain starts swearing, one of the swear words being a swastika. In later Asterix albums, the Goths are depicted in a more sympathetic light, as artist Albert Uderzo regretted depicting them as being evil. He apologized to his readers and explained that Asterix and The Goths was made a mere 20 years after the end of World War Two. Even in Asterix and the Goths, the Goths wear helmets that look like picklehaubs, deliberately to suggest the First World War rather than the Second.
- Thor: Vikings: A Luftwaffe pilot is plucked from his timeline and enlisted to fight against the zombie vikings. However, its established that he is a Punch-Clock Villain who loathes the Nazis and doesn't need much convincing from the others to combat this new threat since he feels that for once, he will fight for a noble cause.
- Sausage Party has a gag where German foods in the supermarket do a Nazi march and sing about wanting to get rid of "the Juice."
- Top Secret!: Played for Laughs, with Nazis in East Germany fighting the French resistance.
- The Billy Wilder comedy One, Two, Three features a Coca Cola executive in West Germany during 1961 who has a former S.S. member as his assistant; one scene shows his employees acting like complete robots when issued orders.
- Euro Trip. Scottie meets the hot German girl's family. Her kid brother goose-steps, draws a Hitler-stache on his face, and does Nazi salutes while his dad isn't looking.
- Hidden in Silence: Narrowly averted. Every German soldier who appears is a sinister and oppressive figure, but the German factory manager is helping two Jewish factory workers hide from the Gestapo and gives Fusia more food and money to help her secret guests upon deducing their existence.note The two German nurses are usually rude, but do show brief concern for Fusia during the Russian advance and aren't explicitly Nazis. They have a soldier inspect the attic after hearing a noise, though.
- Inglourious Basterds: Subverted. The Basterds insist that all German soldiers are Nazis and carve Swastikas in the foreheads of the survivors. In spite of this, many of the Germans they encounter are just regular soldiers with families and loyalty to their comrades. The Basterds do, however, recognize the capacity for some Germans to be allies. They have recruited at least one former soldier and work with a woman from the German resistance.
- Spoofed in The Big Lebowski, where the evil German Nihilists have many aspects of Those Wacky Nazis, but as the Dude points out, aren't Nazis. This prompts Walter's famous line "Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, but at least it's an ethos."
- Doctor Hans Reinhard in The Black Hole. German name. German accent. And a Nazi attitude to people in the way of his plans.
- Invoked by the co-pilot in Memphis Belle, who gives this as his justification when wanting to bomb a target (a factory that is a near a hospital and a school) through thick clouds, while the pilot wants to go around for another pass.
- Yahoo Movies makes this generalization about the boarding school in the film version of The Confusions of Young Törless. Despite the novel being set in the 19th century. Beineberg and Reiting are vicious bullies in Prussian-looking school uniforms who spout some Fascist-sounding rhetoric, and they are Austrian, but the First World War hasn't even happened yet, let alone the second. The director makes some obvious choices to play up the Nazi parallels in the story's conflict, but the school is not a Nazi boarding school.
- Subverted in The Pianist, where Wilm Hosenfeld, despite being a captain of the German army, helped main character Szpilman escape from death and regularly gave him food. The Real Life Wilm Hosenfeld also fits into the subversion, having helped hide and rescue many Jews.
- The Monster Squad attempts to subvert this, but it actually comes across fairly straight. The neighborhood kids are all afraid of the "Scary German Guy" and suspect that he's a Nazi. It turns out that he's a kindly Jewish Holocaust survivor. So... all Germans are Nazis except the Jewish ones.
- Death Race 2000 has "The Swastika Sweetheart" Matilda The Hun from Milwaukee, an American city known for its large German population. She's an open Neo-Nazi, but it may just be for show.
- The Spanish Apartment (L'Auberge Espagnole): Wendy's brother (an Englishman) tries to amuse a German student by comparing the German reputation for order with Hitler and starts goose stepping around the room, much to the annoyance of the German student.
- In the Louis de Funčs film Le Grand Restaurant, he plays a restaurant chef. He greets a German guest by speaking (well, barking would be more appropriate) some German, but unfortunately shadows on his face make him resemble Hitler. The German gets frightened, but doesn't inform Mr. Septime that he looks like Der Fuehrer.
- King Arthur (2004) seemed to be going for this rather blatantly with the Saxon invaders of Britain, who are proto-Germans at best. King Cerdic stops one of his soldiers from raping a local woman because he argues the mixed offspring would pollute the purity of the Saxon warrior's blood, before killing both the soldier and the woman to set an example. Historically, the Saxons and Celtic-Roman Britons actually interbred quite a bit, and Cerdic himself may have been the product of such a union.
- Schindler's List: Subverted. Oskar Schindler was in fact a member of the National Socialist German Workers Party — but he, like so many other Germans, was in it for the political and economic advantages. By the end of the film, to call him a Nazi note is to both be blind and a pedant of the first order.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: Pointedly averted and subverted by Abraham Erskine:
So many people forget that the first country the Nazis invaded was their own.
- 49th Parallel: Subverted. While in Canada, the saboteurs' leader Hirth tries to get some German Canadian Hutterites onto their side with Nazi rhetoric. Being a pacifist sect and glad to be Canadians, they naturally reject him. Among the saboteurs, Vogul has little enthusiasm for the Nazi cause, and he tries to join the Hutterites instead. Hirth shoots him for it.
- Watch on the Rhine: This is completely averted, as the hero and main character Kurt Muller is a staunch anti-Nazi who had to flee Germany with his American wife when the Nazis came to power. He now works with a German resistance group against them. The villain in fact is Romanian, not German, working on the Nazis' behalf.
- The Reader: Averted as most of the characters are Germans born after World War II, and that generation's efforts to confront and come to terms with that past are a major theme of the novel and film.
- Judgment at Nuremberg: Aside from the Jews, naturally, the film implies that most German people who weren't Nazis themselves at least went along with them. The defendants and others try to claim differently, most of them unconvincingly; however, a couple notable exceptions are presented in Rudolph Peterson (a man from a Communist family who is likely mentally disabled and was forcibly sterilized—he says for their political beliefs) and Irene Hoffmann-Wallner (whose Jewish friend was accused of "racial defilement" as a result of supposedly having sex with her—she'd then been imprisoned for perjury after testifying that he'd done no such thing) as victims of defendants. Irene's husband is also portrayed as sympathetic towards her desire to testify, although worried that it will bring about repercussions against them. Also a German judge and lawyer who testifies against Janning and the Nazi legal system; the judge even having resigned before being forced to sentence people in the name of the Third Reich.
- Allied: Averted. The German ambassador whom Max and Marianne assassinate is later said to be a dissident Hitler wanted dead. Marianne herself counts, if she's a German too.
- Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession: After a time-travel incident forces a Soviet apartment manager to impersonate Tsar Ivan the Terrible, he's forced to go through a diplomatic meeting with a Swedish delegation who speak German... and the only thing he can say to them is "Hitler kaput".
- Where Hands Touch: Thoroughly averted. Leyna's mother Kerstin, unsurprisingly, totally opposes Nazi ideology given that her child is persecuted for having a Black father, and she for the relationship. Even members of the Hitler Youth like Lutz turn out to be a bit inconsistent about it (membership was mandatory, so not everyone there were true believers). Leyna's uncle has contacts with German communists, and helps to get false papers for her. To fit in, Leyna disclaims her African heritage and embraces the Nazi ideology, but naturally it doesn't work out for her, because she's not an "Aryan".
- Jojo Rabbit plays with this all over the place. Jojo himself is a member of the Hitler Youth and has been warped by the Nazi Party's propaganda, but lacks the will to actually commit the atrocities expected of him. As Elsa puts it, Jojo is really just "a 10-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club." Captain Klenzendorf is a ranking member of the Third Reich army, but it's clear he's become disillusioned by the leadership's racial politics and is more interested in preparing the town for the inevitable invasion by the Allies than persecuting minorities. He even covers for Elsa for the Gestapo when he could have easily arrested her for being a Jew. And as it turns out, both of Jojo's parents are active members of the German resistance.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service: Played for Laughs when Eggsy does the Roman salute (with his index finger above his lip, impersonating a certain German fascist), often called the Nazi salute, when asked by Harry to "do [Eggsy's] very best impersonation of a German aristocrat's formal greeting".
- After he and Bill kill a German hitchhiker in Freeway Killer, Kyle (who is still uncomfortable about murder) tries to alleviate his unease by saying that the victim's father was "probably a Nazi."
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Dr. Frank-N-Furter pointedly refers to the thickly-German accented Dr. Scott as Dr. von Scott, and Brad leaps to his defense. At this point, the audience members will typically give Nazi salutes.
- The Roi-Tanners in Bored of the Rings are tall and blond, speak a German version of Poirot Speak, and wear horned helmets, lederhosen, and toothbrush mustaches. They are said by Stomper to make a habit of waging territorial war on neighboring lands and to have "summer camps for their neighbors handsomely fitted out with the most modern oven and shower facilities."
- Ter Borcht from Maximum Ride is this. He's a mad doctor, with a suspiciously German accent, who works for a woman who believes that the world's population must be reduced by one half. The antagonists are all but stated to actually be Nazis. In fact, the aforementioned woman is old enough to have lived through World War II.
- A plot point in the James Bond novel Moonraker: A German technician's last actions before he commits suicide are to salute and yell "Heil!" It turns out that Hugo Drax and his men are in fact German soldiers who have been hiding in England since World War II.
- Toyed with in The Kite Runner. The half-German Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up is blatantly crazy about Hitler; his German mother isn't happy about it.
- Julie Hecht's short story "Perfect Vision" is about a woman who is convinced her German optician is a Nazi. She's wrong, as she briefly realizes toward the end.
- Robert Conroy's 1901 might very well be called All Germans Are Nazis: The Book. Because every German in it is and acts as such. Despite the book being an Alternate History book depicting a war between the United States and the Kaiserreich in 1901. It even ends with a Captain Ersatz of Hitler seizing power in Germany after the Kaiser flees to Denmark, congratulating himself that he can blame the German defeat on the Jews.
- The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures feature a character called Fitz Kreiner, who, being half-German on his Extreme Doormat father's side, had an especially shitty childhood even by the standards of the era he grew up in. In what may be an example which tries to disprove the rule, he's forced to impersonate a Nazi at one point and it's an especially bad day for him in a lifetime of mostly bad days. There's also one book, The Year of Intelligent Tigers, which takes place on a future Earth colony whose dominant culture is a mixture of German and Middle Eastern. It's a nice place... if you ignore the oppressed tigers. Also, the surprisingly frightening One-Shot Character, because a mass-murdering German/Iranian bloke is certainly not potentially offensive at all.
- Downplayed in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series.
- Many non-German characters refer to Germans as Nazis or "Nazi bastards". Despite some Germans clearly having issues with the official policy of the Reich, they never try to explain that they're not Nazis. The Race, who don't care one way or another, just call all Germans "Deutsche".
- Strangely, many Soviet characters do this as well, even though the most likely term they'd use would be "fascists".
- A pre-1945 example in The Knights of the Cross — the villains are The Teutonic Knights, who act very, very Prussian and evil.
- The Spanish writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte loves this trope. In most of his novels, if a German character appears, there will be some reference to Nazism or the Holocaust, and if the character is old enough, he will also be a former Nazi collaborator or sympathizer. He even once wrote an article where he discussed the difference between the crimes of Nazism and communism, where he affirmed that "Nazism was an exclusively German phenomenon".
- Bob Lee Swagger: Averted, while many of Hunter's WWII German characters are happy participants in the holocaust, Sniper's Honor features various soldiers just trying to survive the war while retaining some honor, and a general who turns out to have been part of the July 20th plot.
- Babylon Berlin neatly averts this, seeing how it starts out in 1929 Weimar Germany (four years before the Nazis' seized control), so the German Communists and conservative nationalists (in this case, the proto-fascistic Monarchists of the 'Black Reichswehr') are featured much more prominently. In fact, it makes it almost shocking when the Nazi movement does suddenly rear its head at the end of the second season when they murder Chief of Political Police Dr. Benda, who is Jewish, while disguised as said Communists. Back then, the Nazis were a small fringe group no one imagined could take power. Only after the Depression hit did they grow popular (even then, they took power as part of a coalition at first, then grabbed it all when the pretext of the Reichstag Fire occurred).
- From the episode "A Man, a Plan, and a Gal: Julia":
Niles: Oh, it's just temperamental. My Gaggenau is German-engineered. It probably needs more power than my building's old wiring can give it.
Martin: Leave it to the Germans. Even their appliances crave power.
- In another episode, Niles's maid is revealed to know German, since she worked for a German family who came to Guatemala "just after the war", which strongly implies they were Nazis.
- From the episode "A Man, a Plan, and a Gal: Julia":
- In the infamous Fawlty Towers episode "The Germans", some Germans are visiting Basil Fawlty's hotel. He tells everyone "Don't mention the war". However Basil (who, for a change, is actually concussed rather than simply rude) manages to make reference to the war in almost every sentence he subsequently speaks to them. It's subverted here: the Germans are never cast as Nazis (and find the constant references upsetting to the point Basil's actions reduce one of them to tears), but are just trying to enjoy their holidays in peace.
- This is discussed in Band of Brothers. The soldiers are frustrated that, as they close in on Germany, every German claims they're not a Nazi. This feeling comes to a head in episode 9 when they find a concentration camp just outside a German town and the residents say they didn't know about it. As Webb puts it, "Are you going to tell me that you never smelled the fucking stench?!" In the final episode Easy Company occupies Berchtesgaden, where they say they can finally call everyone in the town a Nazi. note However, towards the tend, most of them realize the Germans were just regular people fighting for their country, just like they were. Shifty Powers even mentions that they might have been friends with some of them if it weren't for the war.
- Largely averted in Hogan's Heroes, despite its setting (a POW camp in Nazi Germany in the middle of World War II). Only one of the recurring German characters belongs to the Nazi party and the anti-Nazi resistance movement among German civilians is frequently featured. Hauptfeldwebel Schultz mentions that he was a card-carrying member of the Social Democratic Party until the day his party was banned by the Nazis, and has nothing but contempt for Nazi ideology.
- On Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina calls Die Fledermaus a "Nazi opera".
- The episode "The Bishop Revival" featured a stereotypical German guy that (you would never guess!) was a Nazi. Granted, the end of the episode implied that he wasn't a present German.
- The trope is averted elsewhere in the series, as Walter's father (né Bischoff) was a German scientist who despised Hitler and defected to the Allies during World War II.
- Brazilian group Casseta & Planeta once did a sketch on the history of Germany, showcasing great personalities such as "Ludwig van Beethoven Hitler" and "Michael Schumacher Hitler".
- On Get Smart, KAOS high-up Siegfried went very heavy on the movie-Nazi shtick, especially when running a WWII-era prison camp for captured CONTROL agents (named "Camp Gitchee-Goomee-Noonee-Wawa"). Inexplicably, he's revealed to have grown up in Florida. Siegfried's left-hand stooge Shtarker (sic) claims to have been the track champion of the Third Reich (although he seems terribly young for that), and the second man out of El Alamein (right behind Siegfried.)
- In the Law & Order episode "Evil Breeds", Briscoe and Green suspect an elderly German of murdering the victim of the week, who had survived a concentration camp, because she identified him as a guard and he was now threatened with deportation. As they investigate his apartment, the man's son accuses them of assuming this trope — "Not every German was a Nazi!" ("Yeah, they were Just Following Orders," Briscoe replies.) Bit of Reality Subtext here: Briscoe, like Jerry Orbach, is German Jewish on his father's side (Polish Catholic on his mother's), and is of a generation where this kind of bitterness would be realistic.
- On Mystery Science Theater 3000, both Joel and Mike seemed to make Nazi jokes every single time a German actor appeared.
- Dwight Schrute from The Office is clearly from a German background (possibly by way of Amish or some other German group from rural Pennsylvania). As a result, there's the occasional joke about a grandfather in Argentina he can't visit without protests from the Shoah Foundation.
- In Made in Canada, with the possible exception of Alan Roy, most people at Pyramid/Prodigy make snarky asides about the Germans and their innate aggression despite the fact that sales TO Germany are pretty much the only thing keeping the creditors at bay. At one point, a German character wanted to know what Richard meant when he said "And you guys would know" when the man said something about Europeans being easily dominated.
- For the subject of "extracts From DVDs that would never sell" on Mock the Week.
Hugh Dennis: (in German accent) Welcome to The Best of German "Who Do You Think You Are?" So, your grandfather was a... okay, we'll leave it there.
- Saturday Night Live:
- Joked about at the time of German reunification:
A. Whitney Brown: But it [newly independent Lithuania] is in basically the same position as the rest of eastern Europe, the good news being that the Soviet Union is falling apart, the bad news being that Germany's getting back together. Now I'm not saying the Germans are bad neighbors, historically speaking, but let's just say they get a little restless every couple of generations. Believe me, a lot of countries are nervous. France, for example, offered to surrender.
- This trope was implied in a later 1990s SNL sketch, called "Deutsches Jeopardy". Although the term "Nazi" is never directly used, in this sketch, a parody of Jeopardy!, the German-accented host reads off the answers to which the contestants must ask the appropriate questions. For each wrong question a contestant asks, a beautiful young woman is given an electric shock, to which the host responds with obvious glee, with remarks like "Exquisite!"
- Joked about at the time of German reunification:
- In the 2002 Christmas Episode of They Think It's All Over, the teams had to give the clues for the final round, "The Name Game", in mime. One of guest captain Steve Davis' names was German tennis star Boris Becker; Jonathan Ross' clue involved miming playing tennis, then putting his finger on his upper lip and giving a Nazi salute. Meanwhile, one of opposing captain Gary Lineker's names was German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher; Rory McGrath likewise mimed driving a car and then put his finger on his lip and did a Nazi salute.
- Discussed in Enemy at the Door, set in German-occupied territory during World War II. The locals tend to assume so, leading to German characters sometimes having to explain (with varying degrees of annoyance) that it's not the case. The SS officer Reinicke is, as would be expected, but the episode "Call of the Dead" establishes explicitly that the other major recurring German characters (Oberst Richter, the garrison commander; Major Freidel, the governor; and Oberleutnant Kluge, the head of the Feldpolizei) aren't.
- In Stranger Things episode "The Mind Flayer", Steve seems to assume this when Dustin compares the Mind Flayer to the "Nazis".
Nancy: What does it want?Dustin:: To conquer us, basically. It believes it's the master race.Steve: Like the, uhm, Germans?Dustin: Uh, the Nazis?Steve: Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Nazis.
- In Top Gear (UK), the presenters (especially Clarkson and May) usually tend to portray German car companies this way. Examples include a "quintessentially German car" with "ein fanbelt that will last a thousand years" and a Mercedes whose sat nav would only point toward Poland.
- Howard Stern shot a week of his E! show at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. On the September 30, 1999 episode, Howard was talking to German supermodel Heidi Klum and American supermodel Rebecca Romijn when Gilbert Gottfried walked over to the set. Heidi moved toward the left end of the couch, and Gilbert said that she did that because he's Jewish. Rebecca jumped to Heidi's defense, saying, "Heidi is one of the nicest Germans you could ever hope to meet." Gilbert said, "That's not saying much."
- The Matchmaker Game Extreme Dating had a person's exes watching and commenting on a date. On one episode, the woman said that she was Israeli and the guy said he was German. One of the guy's exes said, "A German? That'll go over really well with an Israeli."
- Wiseguy. When Vinnie first comes across Mel Profitt's international arms dealing syndicate, the FBI doesn't know what they're dealing with at first and they have difficulty taking the investigation as seriously as they would the Mafia. Frank Pike indicates a vaguely Teutonic individual that Vinnie encountered and (tongue-in-cheek) suggests they might be a Nazi organisation, the US President having publicly expressed his concern about Neo-Nazi groups. He's annoyed when his superiors take this comment on face value.
- World on Fire: Though people often use "German" and "Nazi" interchangeably, the series itself also has many German characters who aren't Nazis. For instance most prominently is the Rossler family (technically Mr. Rossler is a Party member, but only to protect them with the influence it brings) who oppose the Nazis' (at least in part because their daughter has epilepsy and is at risk for involuntary "euthanasia", but they're revealed to have made a number of dissident comments later). Sieber, a German officer in the occupation of Paris, is also sympathetic. He shows veiled dislike at the Nazi policy on jazz music, and helps Webster when Albert is detained (it's also indicated Sieber knows they're gay, but doesn't share the Nazi's vicious anti-LGBT views).
- Penny Dreadful: City of Angels: Most of the German-American or German characters are Nazis/Nazi supporters. Peter's the only (initial) exception; though heading the LA chapter of the pro-Nazi German-American Bund he seems to be a pacifist and at least somewhat opposes anti-Semitism. However, by the end of the first season he seems to have embraced Nazism under Elsa's corrupting influence.
- A French Village: Averted. In fact, the Communists initially go out of their way to distinguish Nazis from ordinary, working class German soldiers whom they insist must not be lumped together. Even when the Communists begin resistance, they insist upon targeting only officers because of this view, and one shouts out "Long live the German Communist Party!" when he's shot, acknowledging this symbolically. Most German characters don't express Nazi views, even Müller, who's in the SD (the SS's intelligence service) so presumably a Nazi. Even their antisemitic operations are also engaged in by French people.
- An episode of Mom had Adam describe Augustus Gloop as "the fat Nazi kid from Willy Wonka." Bonnie's response is an incredulous, "He was a Nazi!?"
- The German band Rammstein has been criticized as being fascist sympathizers for their dark and sometimes militaristic imagery. The cover for the album "Herzeleid" depicted the band members shirtless. Critics accused the band of selling themselves as "poster boys for the master race" and an alternate cover is used in North America. Apparently, being German and bare-chested automatically makes you a supremacist. The irony of course is, they're on the left side of the spectrum. Their song "Links-2-3-4" specifically was written to counter Nazi accusations.
- There were also accusations over the video for "Stripped" using clips from Olympia, the notoriously Nazi Leni Riefenstahl's documentary on the 1936 Olympics.
- A review of their album "Mutter" is the Trope Namer of the subtrope Music to Invade Poland to.
- And because there's no 'All
RussiansEast Germans Are Commies' trope, when they haven't been accused of being Nazis they've been accused of being communists, since they hail from the east side of the Berlin Wall. There's a bit of truth to that. A few members of the band have shown themselves as having a lot of Ostalgia.
- The techno song "Eins, Zwei, Polizei"note by Mo-Do (who was actually an Italian) was frequently associated by some Internet users with Hitler partying and other Nazi-related pics (just try to search this song on YouTube to see what you'll get!), even if the song has nothing to do with fascism or politics except it was recorded in German.
- A lot of Scandinavian and German metal bands that have Viking influences are also accused of this. The Nazis can be blamed for this, due to their fetishization of Germanic/Norse imagery.
- The classic German group Kraftwerk have been accused of being either Nazis or communists at one point or another.
- Commie Nazis?
- The cover of The Man-Machine album didn't help this one. They're wearing red shirts with black ties, standing rigidly on a staircase looking to the right and surrounded by Constructivist fonts and graphics.
- The industrial metal band Hanzel Und Gretyl actually plays this trope up for shock value, especially on their album Uber Alles. It's a Subverted Trope, though - most of their songs are just puns ("Third Reich From the Sun"), nonsense phrases, or otherwise innocuous things put to military-esque barking and The Great Dictator samples to invoke this. (They also aren't German, in case that's not enough to convince you.)
- Sascha in KMFDM parodies fascist image at times, but the body of political commentary in his lyrics show that he certainly isn't one.
- Subverted in the tool song Die Eir Von Satan when a loud German voice gives orders similar to a Hitler speech, however it’s just a recipe for Turkish hash cookies.
- Sparks' 1972 song "Girl from Germany" is about bringing a German girl home to parents who have this mentality, despite them having little issue with the protagonist driving a German-made car.
- Played with in Bally's Mata Hari pinball; though no Nazis are depicted in the game, some versions of the backglass art include a dagger with an inscription used by the Waffen SS troops from World War II.
- In The Unbelievable Truth, German comedian Henning Wehn is resigned to the fact that this will come up at least Once per Episode, and occasionally times how long it takes.
- Averted in BattleTech with the majority Germanic Lyran Commonwealth. While House Kurita does have shades of Imperial Japan and the Capellan Confederation traded on Red Scare initially, for the Lyrans, a different Germany was taken as the model.
- A localization-induced example in the Ace Attorney series: the perfection-obsessed, corrupt von Karma family are German in the English translation. In the original Japanese script they were American. Which is an entirely different stereotype, but whatever.
- Averted in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, after having been played straight in previous incarnations. While the rest of the games are primarily about killing Nazis, the 2001 game finally shows you another side. You do kill tons of Nazis in the game, but most of your allies are German resistance fighters. In The New Order, one of the resistance fighters is a German ex-Nazi mook who joined the good guys after the Nazis killed his son for being born with a club foot. He still has Nazi tattoos all over him, but he plans to get them removed after the Nazis are brought down. Played for Drama too, since when BJ sees the guy, he jumps on him in seething rage and everyone has to drag him away before he smashes the guy's head in, which, considering the things BJ went through, is at least a relatable misunderstanding.
- Freaky Flyers has Traci Torpedoes, as well as her supporters back in her home country.
- In The Saboteur, one of the missions Sean does is rescue a spy for the people fighting against the Nazis. It later turns out said spy is a full blooded German who is using his skills to help take down the Nazis. Sean invokes this trope by asking why he is fighting against his people, which the man replies that they are not his people, finding their actions despicable, and is tired of everyone stereotyping every German as so.
- Referenced and mocked in Far Cry 3 with Sam, one of the higher ranked members of Hoyt's Privateers. Actually a double agent, they readily accepted his cover story believing that, as a German, he was therefore as evil and ruthless as the Nazis. He even mentions he was promoted purely because of his accent. Perhaps most amusingly, he's not even actually German - while he he was raised there, his parents were Americans and he himself was born in Texas.
- In Night in the Woods, Gregg occasionally wears a pickelhaube helmet, which he eventually reveals belonged to his great-great-grandfather, a German soldier. Mae assumes he was one of the "fascists", leading Gregg to irritably point out that he was a World War I soldier, even declaring that Germany back then was "not the bad guy".
- A fantasy equivalent occurs in The Elder Scrolls series with the Thalmor, A Nazi by Any Other Name racist and religious extremist sect which rose to the top of the Altmeri (High Elven) government following the Oblivion Crisis and reestablished the Aldmeri Dominion of old. This is only true in that the Thalmor have a tendency to make dissident Altmer disappear, and refugee Altmer are usually quick to point out that they hate the Thalmor as much as you do. In Skyrim, the famous line "the first country the Thalmor took over was their own" (or a variation) appears both in dialogue and in in-game books detailing the events of the Thalmor takeover.
- Oddly played straight in the video game adaptation of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. Nimdok is one of the five survivors and literally the only German left in existence, who happened to be a Nazi scientist in the war.
- We Happy Few: Nazis don't exist and yet the Germans still do Nazi-like things like kidnapping entire villages of children.
- Averted in COD 2 Spanish Civil War Mod. Commissar Kleber, a political officer fighting for the Republic, who assists you during one of the Republican missions. He even lampshades this when your character reacts hostile after learning about his ethnicity.
- Averted in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Nate meets Karl Schafer, an elderly German treasure hunter living in a Tibetan village. Schafer was hired by a Nazi expedition to Shambhala, but he's not a Nazi himself. In fact, he killed the Nazis he was supposed to be guiding to prevent them from accessing the power of Shambhala's Cintamani Stone. If anything, the real European villain of Uncharted 2 is Big Bad Zoran Lazarevic, who's from Serbia, and actually considers Hitler a "great man".
- Sniper Elite plays around with it occasionally. Targeting an enemy through the binoculars reveals their name and a little fact about them: Some are quite humanizing ("Father of two children", "Originally enlisted as a clerk typist" and "Believes he deserves to die"), some are quirky ("Believes he is psychic" and "Secretly admires the British") and sometimes, you get Mr. "Likes to machine gun people". You can also pick up letters off the soldiers, and many of them are just scared and want to go home to their families.
- A Zig-Zagging Trope in the Polandball universe. Germany is the main source of Nazi-related jokes, yet he doesn't like being reminded of his past. Constant Reminders◊ is an great example of the other countryballs applying this trope to him.
- The German comic German Superhero #1: Der Anfang explores how a German Captain Geographic would likely provoke this trope even for fellow German citizens. Here the superheroes German and Germania (while both separately being on the hunt for actual neo-Nazis) meet for the first time, and a Let's You and Him Fight situation immediately ensues. Then, on the next page:
German and Germania simultaneously: You think I am a Nazi?
Germania: Well, with this Germany-costume?
- Subverted in Spinnerette with Greta Gravity. She is a villain, and she is German, note but she is not a Nazi, which becomes evident when she and Dr. Universe have to interact with the Nazi Grandpa Kugelblitz and The Dragon/Elite Mook Maus, who plan to clone Hitler in order to establish the Fourth Reich. Dr. Universe even points out this trope's fallacy in the end:
Even if the Hitler clone would choose to become a dictator, the German people wouldn't tolerate it for a minute. They know their history.
- Deliberately averted in Scandinavia and the World: Nazi Germany and modern day Germany are two separate characters, and while Nazi Germany takes absolute glee in being evil, Modern Germany is The Woobie who's hesitant to even show Patriotic Fervor and vows never to forget the atrocities committed in his name.
- CollegeHumor lampoons this in the Gunter Granz sketches. The eponymous character is a German marketing expert who joined the staff at College Humor, but turns out be a vehemently antisemitic Neo-Nazi, and is usually at odds with the Israeli-born Amir. At the end of both sketches he seems to subvert the trope, as he expresses regret for what happened in the past, but then he double subverts it as it turns out that he was being Nazist after all.
- The woman in this Not Always Right believes this. To the point of accusing an Ashkenazi Jew of being a Nazi.
- Family Guy:
- In one episode, an international food festival has the booth for German Bratwurst right next to the booth for Polish Sausage. The German grabs a bratwurst and uses it to club the Pole over the head and take over his booth, then replaces the sign with one that says "German Sausage". Then he starts eyeing the Czech Wieners booth suspiciously.
- When Stewie and Brian tour Munich:
Tour Guide: Besides its beautiful historic architecture, Munich was the home of many great writers, such as Thomas Mann. You will find more on Germany's contribution to the arts in the pamphlets we have provided.Brian: Yeah, uh, about the pamphlets, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 and 1945. There's just a big gap.Tour Guide: (after some arguing about with Brian he shouts:) EVERYONE WAS ON VACATION! On your left is Munich's first city hall, erected in 15—
- And of course a later episode had the old man who befriended Chris turn out to be a Nazi. It counts as an example because Herbert the Pervert accused "Franz Gutentag" of being a Nazi, seemingly just to get Chris to stay away from him— and of course, he turns out to be right.
- Heinrich von Marzipan from Codename: Kids Next Door is an obvious Nazi allegory, counterpart to Numbuh 5's Indiana Jones (he is a parody of Jones' rival Rene Belloq, a Frenchman in cahoots with the Nazis). Then things got weird. There's also the principal and vice principal of the school.
- The Simpsons:
- The show assumes this at times too, and even makes it appear as if Germans are evil by nature. In a Halloween episode, "Treehouse of Horror XVII", Homer is turned into a giant insatiable blob and starts eating people. He eats some (clearly 40-something, American) Germans at a German festival (Oktoberfest):
German 1: What did we Germans ever do to deserve this?
German 2: [glares at German 1]
German 1: Oh, right.
- In another episode, Homer and Marge go to an Oktoberfest celebration together, and Homer remarks after drinking some good beer, "Ah, the Germans...you just can't stay mad at 'em."
- Yet another episode cleverly plays with this trope via Abe Simpson's usual hilariously outdated word view.
Abe: What did you do during the war?
Walter Hottenhoffer: World War II? I wasn't born yet.
Abe: (still suspicious) Funny how many Germans say that these days...
- Inverted in the Cape Feare episode when Sideshow Bob is questioned by the parole board about the tattoo on his chest.
Lawyer: But what about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn't it say, "Die Bart, Die?"
Sideshow Bob: No, that's German for "The Bart, The." [The spectators laugh, understanding]
Officer: No one who speaks German could be an evil man.
- In "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" German industrials buy Mr. Burns' nuclear power plant. At first the workers are suspicious, but they change their mind. Lenny even says: "Sure, they made mistakes in the past, but that is why pencils have erasers." Finally the Germans deem the power plant to be unsafe and sell it back to Mr. Burns, who demands a large sum. They reluctantly give in to his offer, but warn him with a sinister stare that "We Germans aren't all smile and sunshine", as threatening music starts playing.
- In "Bart's Inner Child" there is a joke that the Germans started a "Do As We Say Festival", after 1946.
- In "Lady Bouvier's Lover" Mr. Burns' single relative is an old aggressive German officer wearing a pickelhaube.
- In "Itchy and Scratchy Land" the guards have a German accent.
- In "You Only Move Twice" the Bond villain Hank Scorpio is said to like German beer.
- Lisa the "Clobber Girl" defeats a German zeppelin in the second segment of "Treehouse of Horror X".
- Parodied in "Treehouse of Horror XI", where Billy the Kid introduces his zombie posse, finishing with "the most evil German of all time"... Kaiser Wilhelm. This is something of a Genius Bonus - after all, Hitler was Austrian.
- A memorable gag from the episode "Simpson Tide" had Grampa recount a time where he and several fellow marines assaulted John F. Kennedy after "discovering his terrible secret":
JFK: Ich bin ein Berliner.
Grampa: (gasps) He's a Nazi! Get him!
- The show assumes this at times too, and even makes it appear as if Germans are evil by nature. In a Halloween episode, "Treehouse of Horror XVII", Homer is turned into a giant insatiable blob and starts eating people. He eats some (clearly 40-something, American) Germans at a German festival (Oktoberfest):
- Klaus from American Dad! invokes this trope somewhat, claiming to be incredibly sadistic due to being German.
- Subverted in "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" when he gets horrified looks after mentioning that his grandfather was a conductor at Auschwitz.
Klaus: No, no, no! He ran the kiddy train at the zoo! (sighs) You know, it's a big town. There's other stuff there.
- Also, when visiting a site of the D-Day landings, Klaus and Roger comment on the brave young men fighting for their country. Except Klaus is talking about Germans, and Roger about Americans.
- At one point Klaus claims that the Germans have several common phrases, and most involve genocide.
- When Francine is labeling things in the house to help Steve study spelling, she labels Klaus with "Anti-Semite".
Hey! ...That's how you spell that?
- In one episode Klaus asked what people think of when they hear Germany.
Hayley: (tentatively) The... Holocau...?
Klaus: Exactly! Hazelnut pancakes.
- Also, in "Holy Shit, Jeff's Back!", after Klaus disguised himself as Snot's hamster, Snot mentioned his return from Jewish camp, to which Klaus is surprised that he is coming back from Jewish camp.
- For reference, Klaus was an East German skier whose mind was swapped with a goldfish in order to prevent "the Reds" from winning the 1986 Winter Olympics.
- Subverted in "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" when he gets horrified looks after mentioning that his grandfather was a conductor at Auschwitz.
- Futurama invokes this in the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," where Trekkies completely associate Germany with the "Nazi planet episode".
- Dolfs parents in Alfred J. Kwak are rather obviously German expies, and incredibly racist. Also, thier son pretty much becomes freaking Hitler later on.◊
- In the Justice League Time Travel episode "The Savage Time", Wonder Woman (who has been sent back to 1942 with most of the remaining league) helps an American secret agent rescue an undercover spy and crypto agent from a Nazi prison. The spy turns out to be a native German working against the Nazi regime.
Wonder Woman: You're German?Spy: Believe me, we're not all like that.
- Subverted in the episode "Skytanic". The German executive officer, complete with an eyepatch and a scar on his cheek is automatically assumed to be a Nazi and the bomber when an actual bomb is discovered. This all turns out to be wrong. Also, he lost his eye while rescuing a Jewish girl from a gang of skinheads, and is the only one on board who knows how to disarm the bomb.
- Played straight with Dr. Krieger, the mad scientist in charge of ISIS research who often performs horrific, Dr. Mengele-style experiments on people without their consent. His father was a Nazi scientist who fled to Brazil and Krieger himself is implied to be a clone of Adolf Hitler, though he actually refutes the clone idea and calls Malory out for believing it by pointing out he looks nothing like Hitler.
- Kaeloo: In Episode 69, Kaeloo asks Mr. Cat to speak German. He leaves and comes back dressed as a Nazi before he starts talking.
- Subverted in F is for Family with Mr. Holtenwasser, a friendly old German man who the kids think is a Nazi. He's actually a Jewish Holocaust survivor who served time in Auschwitz (evidenced by the number tattooed on his arm). As the series progresses, the kids become less afraid of him once they learn more about his dark past. Kevin notices a Star of David necklace but being the ditzy teenager he is, he assumes it's a pentagram and assumes he a Satanist. In the second season he does show sympathy after Holtenwasser mentions hiding from Nazis in basements so it's evident he understands him more than before. (Possibly because there was a small arc where he tries harder to study history so he doesn't flunk out of school.) Maureen also brought him as a "show and tell" for her Girl Scout troop meeting where he ended up making the girls cry telling his Holocaust experiences.
- In 1941, Theodore N. Kaufman published a screed called Germany Must Perish! The book is about exactly what it sounds like. His rationale was that the entire German people, not just the Nazis in power at the time, were so inherently militaristic, that if they were allowed to continue as a nation after World War II, they would just find another fascist dictatorship to replace the Nazis, because the German people as a whole were incapable of not behaving like Nazis, necessitating a Final Solution to the problem. Of course, he turned out to be wrong. Worse yet, it actually added fuel to the fire. Dr. Joseph Goebbels held it up as what would happen to Germany if they lost. It was a propaganda coup that stiffened German resistance even harder.
- From The Onion, "Nazi SS Cemetery Desecrated By Pro-Semitic Graffiti," complete with a mention of a "Nazi Anti-Defamation League."