Secure the towering height,
Where princes stand:
Love of the fatherland,
Love of the free man,
Founds the ruler's throne
Like crags at sea.
When Germany isn't shown as one massive Oktoberfest, or as the land of the Third Reich, chances are it will be the Theme Park Version of Imperial Germany (and Prussia in particular) during the late 19th century and World War I.
These Germans are likely to be dour, industrious types with a love of war, honour and tradition and a hatred of fun and games. Given that this version of Germany has definite Proud Warrior Race undertones, characters from the Kaiserreich will most likely be arrogant aristocrats spouting Gratuitous German (Or something that sounds like it. Or something that some people think sounds like it) and wearing Badass Longcoats. Dueling scars and monocles optional. What isn't optional, on the other hand, is the Pickelhaube, the classic World War I-era German army helmet topped by a nasty-looking steel spike.
Keeping in line with the late-19th century/World War I era atmosphere, great big black eagles and Iron Crosses will most likely be everywhere (though state symbols such as those of Bavaria and Saxony, strangely enough, will be absent), while the Kaiserreich's military will usually consist of vaguely WWI-ish technology, especially ugly box-shaped tanks (which all have individual names), U-Boats, Gas Mask Mooks, and, of course, zeppelins. Bonus points if there is some amount of confusion as to whether this is the Kaiserreich or the Those Wacky Nazis (especially if No Swastikas is in effect).
Sometimes this is taken to Alternate History territory, where Imperial Germany wins World War I and survives beyond its 1918 disestablishment. For instance, Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg, a Hearts of Iron mod set in an alternate 1936 where the Central powers defeated Allied powers decades ago.
- Kind of inverted in Hetalia: Axis Powers, as the character of Prussia is loud, rude, and undisciplined. But he sometimes kicks ass in fights and according to Word of God he is completely devoted to his mentor and one of his bosses, Friedrich II. He has a militaristic tricorn hat. Word of God also once stated that Prussia's true nature is that of a "punctual and diligent soldier," but this is masked by his bad manners. The comic also points out that the Prussian state is descended from The Teutonic Knights.
- The Galactic Empire in Legend of the Galactic Heroes is basically Prussia IN SPACE!
- Weissen in Gunka No Baltzar is very similar to Prussia, but the king takes on a more subordinate role compared to the military leadership.
- In The Saga of Tanya the Evil, the Empire is presented as alternate history version of pre-World War I Germany, depicted as efficient, meriteocratic and fairly egalitarian, but surrounded by countries intimidated and paranoid due to the Empire's military might.
- Playing up the "confusing which era they are in" part to the hilt, the manga instead seemingly turns the conflict into an allegory of WWII rather than WWI, up to redesigning the Empire's military to look like the Wehrmacht and turning the Empire into a Nazi Germany allegory. But they're still the good guys, oddly enough.
- Izetta: The Last Witch: The Germanian Empire, while based on Nazi Germany technologically, is actually led by a Kaiser named Otto. Their goals throughout the series are to conquer the rest of Europe and place it under control, including the protagonists' home of Eylstadt.
- DC Comics has Virman Vundabar, an agent of Darkseid who fits the stereotype to a T. Why an alien "god" from another galaxy models himself after a bygone Earth culture is anybody's guess. (Note the character was created by Jack Kirby, who had a penchant for creating anachronistic characters.)
- In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Überwald acts as an Expy for many things German in our world. Pratchett's Überwald covers ideas of Bavaria and Switzerland seen through a Discworld mirror. (Austria-Hungary, with its martial and imperial pretenssions, appears as Borogravia and Zlobenia). The fanfic continuations of A.A. Pessimal devise a region of Überwald called Prussica. This a region that other Überwaldeans look on and consider is taking the stereotype too far. Prussicans are the ones who give the rest a bad name: humourless, warlike, monocle-wearing, addicted to uniforms, have a peculiar way of marching, and favour helmets looking like inverted coal-scuttles that may or may not have spikes on. Far Überwaldeans get very nervous at the sight of those helmets, especially if words like "lebensraum" are spoken by people wearing them.
- Inspector Kemp in Young Frankenstein: Spiffy uniform with jackboots, monocle (over an eyepatch), thick full mustache/mutton chops, and accent so thick even his countrymen have trouble understanding him. And actually a subversion, as he lives in Transylvania and wears an Austro-Hungarian style uniform.
- The German aviators team in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (which story is set in 1910), composed of the heavyset and stern Colonel Manfred von Holstein (Gert Fröbe) and his Yes-Man Captain Rumpelstoss (played by Karl Michael Vogler). Every Kaiserreich cliché shows up during their screentime, from Pickelhauben to rivalry with the French and Germanic Efficiency, the latter being greatly spoofed with the characters constantly referring themselves to "The Manual of Instructions" (their only qualified pilot died in a flying exercise and they had to replace him despite their incompetence in that field). Holstein also beat-boxes his own military brass and drum fanfare when marching.
Colonel Manfred von Holstein: There is NOTHING a German officer cannot do.
- The Andermani Empire in Honor Harrington pretty much Space Prussia. It is even named after Alemmania, an ancient German monarchy.
- The planet on which the plot of Poul Anderson's "Among Thieves" is set is very clearly Prussia IN SPACE - inhabited by Germanic warriors led by a Junker-like aristocracy. The story's protagonist, a wily Chess Master who is clearly modeled on Bismark, manages to outwit and destroy the story's true villains - a culture of ruthless sadistic cannibals who delight in genocide - and gets the reader's full-hearted applause.
- As the storm clouds gathered over Europe and the Far East in the 1930's, Pulp Magazine hero Secret Service Operator #5 fought attempts by various foreign armies to conquer the United States, including the Purple Empire, an Eastern European army right out of World War I atrocity propaganda, but with little resemblance to the fascist dictatorships rising to power at the time.
- Victoria: Bill Kraft wears a Prussian uniform, complete with pickelhaube and answers to the Kaiser. Odd, since most of the book takes place twenty years into the future.
- Famous sports cartoonist Bill Gallo of the New York Daily News memorably renamed infamous Yankee owner George Steinbrenner as Prussian General von Steingrabber, complete with a thick accent and a pointy helmet. It became so popular that Steinbrenner posed as his Prussian alter ego for a photo shoot.
- The Neu Swabian League, a supranational alliance of Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland that's one of the Full Thrust superpowers, is Prussia IN SPACE complete with an emblem that's the Imperial Eagle given a sci-fi makeover. In an aversion of Prussia's usual portrayal, they are as close to "good guys" as you're getting in a Grey-and-Grey Morality setting.
- In the tabletop RPG Castle Falkenstein, Prussia is the Evil Empire. Bismarck is basically The Dragon to the setting's Big Bad, The Adversary, Lord of the Unseelie.
- In the Alternate History of GURPS Infinite Worlds: Britannica-6, Prussia is a dangerous rising power which tends to fit this stereotype.
Germany divides into three zones: Hanover, a British client state that follows their lead in style as well as politics; the independent princedoms, which are mostly too small to do more than amble along in rustic backwardness (although there are a few “forward-thinking” nobles with grand plans to match those of any Blood); and Prussia, which is organized, centralized, and determined. Bismarck is more or less retired, but his grand vision is genuinely popular with the majority of the population. Technophiliac and militaristic, Prussia sees itself as the primary power among the German states, and it's hard for anyone to disagree, much as the neighbors might wish things otherwise.
- Building on the above and on Castle Falkenstein's use of Prussia, GURPS Steampunk 1 talks about Steampunk treatments of Central Europe generally, and has this to say:
The dark side of this tradition, perhaps even more common in steampunk, is the use of Prussians, or a fictional nation based on Prussia, as the villains. This has some historical justification and merges with a modern stereotype. It allows settings to have militaristic villains with German accents and an obsession with efficiency. In other words, it can evoke the Nazi era in Germany, decades before the Nazis existed, and without the edge of historical horror that real Nazis imply.
- In the Alternate History of GURPS Infinite Worlds: Britannica-6, Prussia is a dangerous rising power which tends to fit this stereotype.
- The Chaos Dwarfs use mostly Mesopotamian imagery, with elaborate helmets, ziggurat temples, Persian style beards and bull-like monsters. But on second look, they are a rigidly disciplined race with advanced industry and love of firepower, especially heavy artillery. And many of their helmets have spikes on top. You can even find an old model of an artillery sergeant wearing a monocle.
- The Reikland, political capital of the Empire, is strongly based on Prussia, keeping with the Germanic theme of the Empire.
- Warhammer 40,000: When the Imperium of Man isn't cribbing from Ancient Rome or Soviet Russia under Stalin, they're probably aiming for this trope, especially the "confusion between which World War they're in" part. The Death Korps of Krieg are a particular stand-out.
- Flying Circus takes place in the remnants of a Kaiserreich-style land, twenty years after its equivalent of World War I brought about the end of the world.
- City of Heroes Big Bad and resident The Chessmaster Nemesis is from Prussia. He uses only the most state of the art steampunk technology and even dresses his Evil Minions in Prussian military gear. Since he's a very high level villain, it can be quite humbling to have your team wiped by a bunch of guys looking like they belong to a marching band.
- Team Fortress 2 gives the German (and rumored to be ex-Nazi, though he's actually not) Medic an unlockable hat called the Prussian Pickelhaube.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent takes place in a castle in 19th Century Prussia. And it's evil.
- In Europa Universalis III and IV you can found Prussian beginning in the 1500s. To do this you have to convert to Protestantism, except, ironically if you play as the Teutonic Order in III, where you can keep the Catholic faith.
- Cuphead has Werner Werman, a mouse with a pickelhaube, a fairly exaggerated German accent, war medals and bullet shells decorating his mouse hole, and a tank made from a soup can. Like many of the other bosses in the game, he is also a mishmash of puns and shout outs. In his case, he's a Shout-Out to both old war cartoons and (obviously) Tom and Jerry. Which is a lot more brilliant than it might seem at first: "Jerry" was a common nickname for German soldiers in World War I.
- Unsurprisingly, the popular mod for Hearts of Iron: Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg has Germany be this. After winning the Great War (called the Weltkrieg in this timeline), Germany becomes the undisputed world power, carving out territory in Africa & Asia by stealing Britain & France's colonies. Now weakened by the mid-1930's thanks to the stock market crash of Black Monday, Germany & their new faction The Reichspakt face threats on all sides, such as the French-led Third Internationale, the vengeful Entente, the decaying Ottoman Empire, any of four different outcomes of the Second American Civil War, the colonial ambitions of the Japanese Empire and the White Army-controlled Russian Republic.
- The Garlyle Forces of the original Grandia; though they are not a national army so much as a glorified security team. Next to the obligatory technology, the majority of their footsoldiers sport pickelhaubes.
- Nortis of Grandia Xtreme is a militaristic state, looked down upon by other nations for their pre-game warmongering tendencies. Their army is noted to be the most advanced in the world, with tanks, artillery and triplanes reminiscent of early-to-mid 20th century Germany's at their disposal. All named characters from this country have German - or at least very Germanic-sounding - names (though settlement names and designs begin to border more on generic European stylisation).
- The Jaegermonsters of Girl Genius invoke a little bit of this, most notably in their deep respect for ridiculous headgear. Captain Vole definitely has vays of makink you tok: his opening line "I hef not yet finished givink my report" is spoken as he tears a man's arm off. Also notable is their use ov reedikulous quasi-german hak-sents, even though the entire cast is supposed to be speaking German. This emphasizes the fact that they really ARE invoking tropes in-universe; they were created by a mad scientist in the stereotyped Prussian mold. In a short story, the first Heterodyne is briefly brought to the present, speaking the same way.
- As it starts out in the eighteenth century, it's unsurprising that Prussia makes an appearance in the Alternate History Look to the West. There was no Miracle of the House of Brandenburg in this timeline and Frederick the Great was killed at the Battle of Kunersdorf, meaning Prussia's ascendancy is halted. Prussia is then completely destroyed over a series of later wars, eventually being divided between Denmark and Saxony and its last king exiled to America.