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Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!

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A resident Mad Scientist, Dark Lord, or Evil Sorcerer is seeking to Take Over the World, but first, he has to practice small scale. How about his hometown? Or maybe the nearest city? Some of the time, most of the plot happens in his small-scale practice (possibly in Cardiff or a similar location), making him an insignificant, yet amusing, force. Sometimes he succeeds and becomes a very serious threat to the world.

Can result in a Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot situation for the good guys.

The Trope Namer is the song "Es zittern die morschen Knochen" ("The Decayed Bones Tremble") by Hans Baumann (1914—1988). Strangely enough, he wrote it in 1932 when he was still a member of the Catholic youth organization Neudeutschland (New Germany). The following year, he became a member of the Nazi party and the song was sung by the Hitler Youth and other party organizations, and in 1935 it became the official song of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front), the Nazi trade union surrogate. The line in question came in two versions, about one-third of songbooks preferring Denn heute gehört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt ("For today Germany belongs to us and tomorrow the entire world") and two-thirds the slightly less controversial Denn heute da hört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt ("For today Germany listens to us and tomorrow the entire world"). The trope has, unsurprisingly, often been misattributed to Adolf Hitler.


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  • An ad by Stan Freberg for Sunsweet Pitted Prunes. "Today the pits, tomorrow the wrinkles!"

     Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: From the end of Valuable Art: Mukrezar, after having taken down the powerful cult of Crowned Death:
    Mukrezar thrust a fist in the air. “Today, your cult. Soon, the Avatar!”

     Films — Animation 
  • Jetsons: The Movie: Mr. Spacely says, "Today Spacely Sprockets, tomorrow the universe!"
  • Superman: Red Son: Premier Superman helps the communist forces conquer South Korea in just three hours. He then gives a New Era Speech saying he's come not to conquer the Korean people but to give them a better life, adding that what he offers to the Korean people, he offers to the entire world. In fairness Superman resists conquering the world by force because he wants to prove the superiority of the Communist system and figures the Western democracies will collapse on their own. Even when President Lex Luthor revitalizes the capitalist system, he only attacks after Lex launches the first strike.
  • Turning Red: Ming says this of her daughter.
    Ming: Today, honor student, tomorrow, UN Secretary-General!
  • VeggieTales: In the movie "The Rumor Weed", the titular weed says, "Today Bumblyburg, tomorrow the world," but she's attributing it to Alfred, whom she's rumoring about.
  • Yellow Submarine: A variation on this is spoken by the Chief Blue Meanie: "Let us not forget that heaven is blue... TOMORROW THE WORLD!!!"

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Aquaman (2018): King Orm intends to unite the kingdoms of Atlantis by alliance or force to create an army to conquer the surface world. Before unleashing his forces on the Brine Kingdom, he shouts, "Today we unite our kingdoms. Tomorrow we scorch the surface!"
  • Batman & Robin: Mr. Freeze says, "First... Gotham... then... the world!".
  • Batman: The Movie: The United Underworld has a wall mural in their headquarters depicting an octopus squeezing the globe. Underneath are the words "Today, Gotham - Tomorrow, The World".
  • The Borrowers: Ocious Potter sets his sights awfully high for a lawyer.
  • Frogs: The tagline for the 1972 movie is "Today the Pond... Tomorrow the World!"
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie: The bad guy announces his plan to "annihilate Angel Grove, and then, the universe!"
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again: After Dreyfus destroys the U.N. building:
    Charles Dreyfus: Today, the U.N. building. Tomorrow, who knows?
  • The Producers: Franz Leibkind, at the opening of "Springtime For Hitler": "Today Broadway, tomorrow..." (makes a globe-shaped gesture with his hands).
  • The Rocketeer: The alleged Trope Namer appears at the end of a Nazi propaganda film demonstrating their plans for the rocket pack. Oddly enough, it depicts an invasion of America, not Europe, although it may be hinting that Germany would have already taken over Europe. It helps that the phrase, in German, reads, "Heute Europa, Morgen die Welt".
  • Tomorrow Never Dies: The villain says, "The front pages today, tomorrow the world!"

  • Bunnicula: The tagline was "Today, vegetables... tomorrow, the world!"
  • Copper-Colored Cupids: The Governor and Mandragora's plan in the short story The Resurrection of the Wellsians boils down to "today, the Earth, tomorrow, the world!".
  • Goosebumps: In the book "Calling All Creeps", this is the titular Creeps' motto: "Today, the school. Tomorrow, the world!"
  • Illuminatus!: One of The Illuminati's creeds in the trilogy is "Heute die Welt, Morgens das Sonnensystem" (today the world, tomorrow the solar system).
  • Night Watch Discworld: This is likely what Terry Pratchett had in mind in a scene towards the end of the book, when newly-appointed Patrician Lord Snapcase points out that Sergeant John Keel of the aforementioned Night Watchnote  has managed to all but take over the entire city in a single day, and "Who knows what he might do tomorrow." This serves notice that he's not going to be as big an improvement over the outgoing Winder as his backers had hoped.
  • Secret Valley: A character once exclaimed "Today Secret Valley, tomorrow the world!"
  • Sourcery: When the wizards get Drunk with Power, one of them shouts, "Today the city, tomorrow the world!" Cardingthen calculates that this means "on Friday the universe!" and Speltzer reflects that this will leave the weekend free.
  • Tomorrow Town: When a member of a "community-of-the-future" is revealed to have been plotting to use a Master Computer to take over the country, the protagonist quips, "The day after tomorrow, the world?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Broaden Your Mind: In the British Sketch Comedy show, it was done by Graham Garden. A scientist with a noted German accent is on TV describing a disease.
    Scientist: Turgonitis is just another of the new and exciting diseases developed here at the British institute of Applied Science and Technology and Not Germ Warfare. Today, turgonitis...tomorrow, the world!
  • Doctor Who:
  • Freddy's Nightmares: Said by Freddy when he decides to cause a nuclear war in the episode "The End of the World".
    Freddy: Today Springwood, tomorrow the world!
  • The Goodies:
    • Played for Laughs when Graham Garden goes Drunk with Power in "Radio Goodies".
      Graham: Today... the post office... tomorrow... the worrrld.
    • At the end of "Way Outward Bound", having control of an army of Child Soldiers gives Tim Brooke-Taylor delusions of grandeur.
      Tim: (wrapping himself in the Union Jack) Tim O.B.E., King Of The World! I shall start training them tomorrow. I'll take over the world, the universe, Mars, maybe even the Radio Times!
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Spare That Rod!", Miss Brooks' criticizes Mr. Conklin's choice of adages decorating the walls of his office by asking what happened to the one that read "Today Madison, tomorrow the world!". Mr. Conklin states that the janitor ripped it cleaning.
  • Power Rangers Turbo: Done in the penultimate episode.
    Divatox: Today, the Megazords. Tomorrow...
    Rygog: Tomorrow, the Power Rangers chamber!
    And Divatox is so delighted her minions found the base that she forgives being interrupted.
  • The Prisoner (1967). Number Two's famous New Era Speech in "The Chimes of Big Ben".
    Number Two: What in fact has been created is an international community — a perfect blueprint for world order. When the sides facing each other suddenly realize that they're looking into a mirror, they will see that this is the pattern for the future.
    Number Six: The whole world as the Village?
    Number Two: That is my dream. What's yours?
    Number Six: I'd like to be the first man on the moon. (Number Two laughs)
  • Secret Valley: A character once exclaimed, "Today Secret Valley, tomorrow, the world!"

  • Leonard Cohen: Implied in the chorus of First We Take Manhattan.
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.
  • Dire Straits: Appears in the song Ride Across the River.
    And they sing as they march with their flags unfurled / Today in the mountains, tomorrow the world.
  • The Ramones: The song Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • In Peanuts, Linus once spent a morning building a crowd of snowmen so that he could declare from an upstairs window, "Today, the neighborhood, tomorrow the world!"


     Professional Wrestling 


  • The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui: In this a roman à clef about Hitler's rise to power, but set in Gangsterland Chicago, Ui (Hitler) gives a New Era Speech at the end that alludes to the Hitler quote. It's all about how he's now "protecting" Chicago and Cicero (Germany and Austria) and now he plans to "protect" other cities across the country as well Take Over the World). One translation/adaptation of the speech actually concludes something like "Philadelphia (one of the cities on his list) today, the world tomorrow!"

     Video Games 

     Web Comics 
  • Subverted in Girl Genius where a would-be usurper of the Master of Paris has a helpful sign in his lab reading:
    Today Paris
    Tomorrow Paris
    Don't get greedy

     Web Video 
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • The Critic says something to this effect while listing the reasons for invading Molassia in Kickassia.
    • On his "Top 11 Villain Songs" review, as he compares the goose-stepping hyenas in "Be Prepared" to a Nuremberg rally, a film clip of Adolf Hitler appears with the subtitle "Today: Pride Rock; tomorrow: the world!"

     Western Animation 
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears: In the very first episode, Duke Igthorn says, "Today Dunwyn, tomorrow the world!", just before realizing that the Gummi Berry Juice gives super strength to a human for just one minute.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Dr. Robotnik, at one point.
    Dr. Robotnik: Today, Mobius. Tomorrow... THE UNIVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRSE!!!!!!!!!
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In the episode "Heat Wave", Dr. Blight sets up a small-scale greenhouse effect over Hope Island, where the Planeteers live in between their missions. Near the end, as she's escaping with her computer assistant MAL in a speedboat (long story), she gloats that despite everything that the Planeteers did, her plan still worked, and that she's going to ruin the world in the same way as Hope Island.
    Dr. Blight (to MAL): Just think of the disasters when I melt the polar icecaps! Today, Hope Island, tomorrow, the world!
  • Cartoon Cartoon Fridays: Mojo Jojo of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) fame said it when he was the host.
    Mojo Jojo: Today, Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, tomorrow, the world!
  • Celebrity Deathmatch: Benito Mussolini makes this declaration during his fight.
    Mussolini: Today, I conquer the Deathmatch ring! Tomorrow, the announcer's booth! The day after that, the world!
  • Darkwing Duck: Negaduck says, "Today St. Canard, tomorrow the world! I Always Wanted to Say That."
  • "Education for Death": In this Walt Disney's WWII-era propaganda short, the Nazi teacher is heard yelling, "Heute gehört uns Deutschland — morgen, die ganze Welt!", which the narrator loosely translates as, "Today we own Germany, tomorrow the whole world!"
  • The Huckleberry Hound Show: In the "Spud Dud" short, the sapient potato's first utterance is, "Today the potato field, tomorrow the world!"
  • League of Super Evil: Voltar has said, "Today the neighborhood, tomorrow the world!", at least in the episode "Full Throttle".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Queen Chrysalis uses a variation in season 2 finale.
    Chrysalis: First, we take Canterlot. And then, all of Equestria!
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero: Lampshaded in the episode "I'm Super". After Rippen spouts this phrase, Larry comments that he should give himself at least a week to conquer the entire world.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Dr. Doofenshmirtz originally intended to take over the world, but received advice from an ex-girlfriend (Linda) stating that he should settle on the more reasonable Tri-State Area. Appropriately, he occasionally states, "Today the Tri-State Area, tomorrow the world!"
    • In "Bullseye!", after the Evil-ized Lawrence wins the Love Muffin Pageant of Evil, he proclaims: "Today Danville, tomorrow the world!"
  • Pinky and the Brain: In "It's Only a Paper World", Brain plans to create a second Earth using paper-mache, and he acquires the paper by subscribing to every periodical in the world and having a mountain of newspapers delivered to the lab.
    Brain: Today a recycling problem, tomorrow the world!
  • Ready Jet Go!: Parodied in "Try And Try Again". The kids want Jet 2 to be their Mars rover. So they make a 'Mars Yard' in their backyard and put some wheels onto Jet 2 in order to see if he can balance on the rocky surface of Mars. It succeeds, and Jet proclaims "Today, our Mars Yard. Tomorrow, Mars!". However, Celery pulls up with the minivan so they can go to Mars today.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "C.H.U.M.S.," Plankton says "Today the secret formula, tomorrow the world!"
  • Superman: The Animated Series: The Daily Planet crew is watching Livewire on TV, bragging about how she controls all the media like TV, phones, Internet, radio...
    Perry White: Typical. Today the airwaves...
    Lois Lane: ...Tomorrow the world.