A villain joins the Nazis during World War II, impresses Adolf Hitler enough to get his own squadron/unit, then uses these resources for his own gain. This villain often sees Hitler as just another obstacle to overcome later. This trope also works if you substitute Hitler/Nazis with any other historical dictators (Joseph Stalin, Kim Jong-Il, Pol Pot, etc.) or Evil Colonialists (such as Winston Churchill, etc), but those examples are less prevalent without Historical Villain Upgrade.
Compare/contrast with Dragon with an Agenda; here you don't need to be The Dragon, and with this trope you get an instantly recognizable yardstick of evil for the villain to compare himself to and to rob of funds. Contrast with We Didn't Start the Führer for the times when the roles are inverted and Hitler is the dragon of an even more terrible villain.
Examples Involving Hitler:
- In the backstory of Fate/Apocrypha, Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia allied with the Nazis in order to take the Holy Grail from Fuyuki, Japan during the Third Holy Grail War that occurred during the time of World War II. Apparently, the idea of a supposedly-omnipotent wish-granting device was quite tempting. While they failed to make the Holy Grail properly manifest, they did succeed in successfully stealing the Greater Grail mechanism that was key to the ritual and would allow them to start another Holy Grail War at a later date to try again. En-route back to Germany, however, Darnic betrayed and killed the entire unit in order to take the Greater Grail back to his homeland of Romania, where he went underground for the next 60-70 years to set up his next war. Indeed, everything suggests, like the major villains of the Indiana Jones films, Darnic didn't care at all about Nazi ideology and just used them as one of many Unwitting Pawns for his own gain.
- In the mainstream Marvel Universe Mister Sinister, the X-Men villain, was a doctor in Auschwitz performing unethical human experiments and looking out for mutants. He used his real name, Nathan Essex, but was nicknamed Nosferatu and he scared even the Nazis. Magneto remembers him and recalled that he used to give candy to kids in exchange for blood samples. That's a real detail based on Josef Mengele, who would hand out sweets to the children he was about to kill and dissect.
- Batman: Ra's Al Ghul allied with the Nazis to further his goal of wiping out 90% of the human race to stave off overpopulation, including taking part in the Holocaust. According to a later retcon, one of his own daughters and her family were among the victims she survived, they did not, and she was rather upset with him for it.
- Herr Kleiser in The Ultimates. He was Captain America's chief nemesis during World War II, but was actually an alien known as a Chitauri (a.k.a. a Skrull) that ate the real Kleiser and impersonated him, backing Hitler by giving the Nazis advanced weaponry. Really, this was just a scheme to soften the Earth up for a full-scale invasion.
- In Atomic Robo, Robo's arch-nemesis (or at least one of his arch-nemeses) Baron Von Helsingard uses this trope to seek ultimate power, and gains quite a following in the process. And later in the series, two leading members of Hitler's Weird Science division are revealed to be secretly working for the cloned brain of Helsingard all along.
- The Red Skull was personally trained by Adolf Hitler and, having Gone Horribly Right in that regard, made no secret to the Führer that he had ambitions of his own, but was willing to bide his time. Though interestingly, he actually respected and liked Hitler enough to never actually move against him. This was not the case in the movies, of course.
- Rasputin in Hellboy got Hitler to back his Project Ragna-Rok with the claim that it would change the course of the war. He turned most of the Nazi scientists assigned to him into disciples who were fully aware that his real plan was to bring about the apocalypse. Technically he didn't even lie, as an apocalypse would definitely change the war.
- Wonder Woman:
- While Hitler was at the time a current figure rather than a historical one every one of Wondy's early villains were allied with/working with him or other Axis powers, the stand out example being Paula von Gunther who it turned out was being forced to work for them as the Nazis were holding her daughter hostage.
- The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Tomas Byde/The Duke of Deception is here presented as a barely contained Nazi collaborator of immense power. Priscilla Rich/Cheetah is on the other hand a much more eager Nazi ally, with far more blood lust, power hunger and disregard for the sanctity of life than Byde.
- Indiana Jones films like this trope.
- First was Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Donovan: The Nazis want to write themselves into the Grail legend, take on the world. Well, they're welcome to it. But I want the Grail itself, the cup that gives everlasting life. Hitler can have the world, but he can't take it with him. I'm going to be drinking my own health after he's gone the way of the dodo.
- Elsa, meanwhile, claims to have sided with the Nazis simply to get the Grail. Although as Indy bluntly chews her out on, she's already been corrupted into a Nazi.
- First was Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) sets up HYDRA like this. It's not until his Nazi allies notice that Berlin is on his list of targets that they realize he isn't exactly on their side. It later turns out that HYDRA is actually an ancient cult much older and more powerful than the Nazis that manages to vastly outlive them.
- Played with in X-Men: First Class. Sebastian Shaw, alias Klaus Schmidt, jumped on the Nazi bandwagon mainly because it would further his research of mutation; however, he holds one of Nazism's tenets (Master Race and all that stuff) in very high esteem, and later adapts the ideology for mutant use.
- Doctor Who New Adventures: In Timewyrm: Exodus, the War Lords do this. This results in an alternate timeline where the Nazis win the war.
- Dean Koontz's Frankenstein novels have this as part of Victor Helios' (aka Victor Frankenstein's) backstory. Same example fits under type two, as Victor was also friends with Stalin (and attempted a life-extension operation that resulted in Stalin's insanity).
- In A Pearl for My Mistress, Eugen von Frenzel is a rather mundane example. He is hardly an ardent National Socialist; however, he panders to Nazi ideas in his research and writing in hope to advance his own academic career.
- In the President's Vampire series, the first book reveals that Konrad worked for Hitler, using concentration camp victims to create Unmanschensoldaten for the German armies. And ever since the war, he's continued to trade his services to other groups for the same reason, not caring who pays him, so long as he gets the support to continue his work.
- In the Star Trek: Enterprise two-part episode "Storm Front", a race from the 29th century find themselves back in time on 20th-century Earth, during World War II. They side with the Nazis, offering to build advanced weapons in exchange for the resources they need to build a time machine. When the Nazis complain that the Aliens aren't helping them enough, the alien leader (quoted above) lampshades the trope by bluntly stating that the Nazis conquer countries; they conquer planets.
- In the BloodRayne series, this applies to the main villains: the first game was Jurgen Wulf, a Nazi scientist gathering the body parts of the original Devil to empower the Nazis with supernatural aid, while the second game's Big Bad was the vampire Evil Overlord Kagan, whom thinks of Hitler as an idiot, but works with him to learn how to build an army. Kagan's Elite Mooks even have Putting on the Reich uniforms in the present day.
- Assassin's Creed: Hitler was a Templar. Need any more proof that they're the bad guys? Also, taking Refuge in Audacity, this trope applies to the series' versions of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill, who all colluded with Hitler to arrange the war.
- In the Justice League three-part episode "The Savage Time", Vandal Savage in the present builds a time machine and sends a laptop back to himself during World War II, containing future history and schematics for technology. Vandal then joins the Nazis and rapidly rises through the ranks until he usurps Hitler himself, becoming the new Führer. Vandal Savage didn't really care about Nazi ideals; he just wanted to use them to conquer the world for himself.
- SS Sturmbrigade RONA had been made up from rebellious Soviet people from the Lokot area after the German invasion of 1941 and led by the Russo-Pole Bronislav Kaminski. Their cruelty, looting and total lack of military competency during the Warsaw Uprising was used by Himmler as a pretext to have the Führer execute Kaminski and disband the unit.
- XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps had been formed by the German high command from anti-Soviet Cossacks to fight partisans under the command of General Helmuth von Pannwitz. They were later forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union by the Western Allies and faced execution as traitors. (This is used as Alec Trevelyan's Freudian Excuse in GoldenEye).
- A number of conservative factions in Germany supported Hitler because they thought they could control him. This bit them hard.
- During the Munich Crisis in 1938, Poland sided with Nazi Germany to claim the disputed Teschen territory from the Czechs, only to be invaded by the Germans only a year later. The Slovaks and Croats sided with the Nazis to gain independence for their countries. The Finns, Hungarians, and Romanians sided with the Germans to retake lost territories from their neighbors (Russia, Romania, and Russia again, respectively). The list can go on and on.
- This extended to the rogue elements within the Soviet Union such as the Chechens and Ingush peoples that resented being under communist yoke and welcomed the Nazis when they invaded Russia. When the Nazis were routed, Operation Lentil happened.
Examples Involving Other Dictators:
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has Mac teaming with the Soviet Union, albeit with a far less grandiose goal: money.
- Command & Conquer:
- In the alternate history timeline of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Kane and his Brotherhood of Nod are using Stalin's Soviet Union to get to power.
- In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, Yuri aided the Soviets in their rise to power, but has his own plans. He was using the war as a smokescreen so he can set up his Psychic Dominators to mind control the world when the Allies and Soviets aren't looking.
- Valkyria Chronicles 4 has a rare fantasy version of this. Heinrich Belgar is a Mad Scientist who works for the East Europan Imperial Alliance, which is basically Soviet Russia with the warmongering tendencies of Nazi Germany. Belgar openly admits he only joined the Empire because they gave him unlimited funding and are allowing him free reign to do whatever experiments he wishes without any ethical restraints. He doesn't care about their larger goals and is dismissive of their Emperor. One almost gets the feeling that he would have gladly joined The Federation if they were willing to be less restrictive ethically. In turn, Forseti does this to Belgar himself, with him joining up with the Empire, and thus Belgar, just for the opportunity to rescue Federation Valkyrias powering the Snow Cruisers. He intends to take the Valkyrias and his sister Leena to a neutral country after this is done.