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“You ever think how different life could be if you could just change one thing?”
Juliana Crain
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The Man in the High Castle is an Alternate History series based on the book of the same name by Philip K. Dick. It debuted in 2015 and aired four seasons via Amazon Prime.

The series begins many years after the victory of the Axis powers in the Second World War, and what was once the United States has been divided between the Japanese Empire and the Third Reich. A thin strip of neutral, lawless territory in the Rocky Mountains serves as a buffer between the two superpowers, who have been in an uneasy truce since the war's end. Juliana Crain, a woman living in the Japanese Pacific States with her fiancé Frank Fink, is given a film reel depicting an Alternate History where the Allied powers won the war. In the Greater Nazi Reich, a man named Joe Blake carries one of these mysterious film reels toward the Neutral Zone, under orders from Obergruppenführer John Smith. Meanwhile, high-ranking politicians from both empires fear for the aging Adolf Hitler's life, knowing that the death of the Fuhrer would trigger a war far more terrible than any seen before.

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It now has a recap page which seriously Needs Wiki Magic Love.


This series provides examples of:

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    A-D 
  • 555: Some phone numbers, such as the one written on Sampson's work truck, begin with KL5, using a period-appropriate telephone exchange name for "555."
  • Adaptation Expansion: In multiple ways. Some book characters are heavily modified, their family members are introduced, and there are many wholly new characters. The plot is also greatly expanded, with much more of it taking place in the Nazi-controlled portion of the former US.
  • Adult Fear: Finding out your child has an incurable degenerative disease that will eventually kill them? Check. Living in a nation that doesn't tolerate the disabled or terminally ill? Double check. Raising him to be a good and loyal member of the State? Triple Check.
  • Affably Evil: The patrolman Joe Blake meets is a nice, friendly, helpful man... who doesn't mind the fact handicapped and terminally ill people are being cremated, the ashes falling like snow.
  • Albinos are Freaks: Discussed by The Marshall, a Nazi bounty hunter operating in the Neutral Zone, while an albino boy shines his shoes. It would appear it's possible to be too white in the American Reich.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Tagomi, in the alternate timeline where the Allies won the war, is an alcoholic father who dies after falling off a bridge in a drunken stupor. The Tagomi that takes his place (the Pacific States Trade Minister) is shocked to hear this.
  • Allohistorical Allusion:
    • An assassination attempt orchestrated by Reinhard Heydrich is made against John Smith, in which several gunmen attack his car with machine guns and explosives. This is very similar to how Heydrich himself was historically killed in the famous Operation Anthropoid in Prague, right down to Smith getting out of the car to confront his attackers in a gunfight. In the show's timeline, however, Smith survives.
    • Hermann Göring is said to have been executed for treason some time before the events of the series after he attempted to gain power as acting chancellor during a period when Adolf Hitler was seriously ill. Göring, who had been Hitler's chosen successor for much of the war, did a similar "power grab" in real life when Hitler was confined to the Führerbunker in the last days of World War 2.
    • At the end of season 2, Hitler is assassinated and succeeded by another high-ranking Nazi, before this conspiracy is outed by Heinrich Himmler based on intelligence he received from John Smith. In a speech to the German people, he notably decries their lack of loyalty to their now-dead Fuehrer. Historically, Himmler attempted to throw Hitler under the bus when he tried to make a separate deal with the Allies through backwater diplomatic channels.
    • Early in season 3, the Japanese perform a nuclear test in the Utah territory as a warning to the Nazis, alluding to the Trinity nuclear test in New Mexico where the first functional atomic bomb was successfully detonated in 1945.
    • Admiral Inokuchi is assigned as the new overall leader of the Japanese Pacific States, but seldom leaves his flagship and fleet, likely for security since the headquarters bombing. This alludes to Marshal-Admiral Yamamoto, who actually was opposed to Japan going to war against America, which made him a target for assassination by zealot Japanese Army militants before the Pearl Harbor attack, so for a time he had to confine himself to his ships for his own protection from them.
    • Admiral Inokuchi instructs Chief Inspector Kido to end reprisal killings and use lighter methods, including working to win the American population in the JPS over to the side of the Japanese, which sounds like a "hearts and minds" effort. But it's apparent that any such methods are already too little, too late to be effective now, and so is as likely to be as successful as the "hearts and minds" policy was for the U.S. in the Vietnam War.
    • In the season 3 episode "Sabra", a (Japanese) Buddhist monk douses and ignites himself with gasoline in the middle of the street as Japanese troops are violently putting down a street protest, alluding to the 1963 self-immolation protest of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức against the regime in South Vietnam.
    • Chief Inspector Kido's disgust when he describes how he liberated a Japanese-American internment camp parallels the Allied liberation of German concentration camps at the end of the war.
    • The Nazi policy to eradicate and erase all United States history from before the conquest by the Reich, is named "Jahr Null" which means "Year Zero". The only time in real life that a political force named a policy "Year Zero" was in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot, and its purpose was the total elimination of all culture, traditions, and history that existed in that country before Pol Pot's communist revolution. It also references "Stunde Null" (Hour Zero), which ironically was the term for post-Nazi Germany breaking with that period completely.
    • In one of John Smith's flashbacks, shortly after the end of the war, he is visited by his direct superior, who tells him that the US Army is being absorbed into the Reich forces. He mentions that Hermann Goering shook hands with a surrendering General Patton at West Point to seal the deal. This is referencing Goering's own surrender to the Allied forces, which caused a scandal when US officers treated him too kindly by shaking his hand and drinking with him, implying that he was a Worthy Opponent instead of a war criminal.
    • The Emperor's speech about relinquishing their occupation of the Pacific States is extremely similar to the real-life Imperial Japanese surrender speech, down to the entire first paragraph and the intentionally-vague "situation has not necessarily developed to our advantage" bit. General Yamori's subsequent suicide is also reminiscent of the wave of real-life seppukus committed by embittered and despairing officers upon hearing the surrender and period of national humiliation Japan was about to enter.
    • The Greater Nazi Reich splitting in two at the end of the series, with one Führer ruling the West and one Führer ruling the East, brings to mind the division of The Roman Empire due to overreach. Also, much like the Romans themselves, the western part is the first to collapse.
    • The Yakuza remaining in operation in America with Inspector Kido and his son trapped into becoming members after the Empire's occupation withdrawal, alludes to how the Yakuza endured after Japan's surrender, and increased through black-marketeering and swelling their ranks with demobilized (and demoralized and destitute) ex-servicemen including former Kempeitei.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Subverted. In the Nazi-dominated world, All Psychology is Jungian, since Sigmund Freud's writings were dismissed for his Jewish heritage, while Carl Jung was officially embraced because he was an "Aryan" (Swiss German).
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: The Nazi leadership featured in the series all follow two-syllable "H" names: Hitler, Heydrich, Heusmann, and Himmler. Three of these were real people, but Heusmann was created for the show.
  • Alternate History:
    • The main focus of the series is life in the USA after the Axis powers won World War II, with the Germans occupying the East Coast, the Japanese controlling the West Coast, and a Wild West-like "neutral zone" in the Rocky Mountains. Other differing aspects of the timeline are mentioned throughout, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt being assassinated, the entire black population of Africa being enslaved by the Nazis, and WWII ending in 1947 instead of 1945.
    • An In-Universe example includes the plot of propaganda film The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, which details a world where it was instead the Allies, not the Axis powers who won the war. It isn't the only one in-universe. At least three alternate timelines are spoken of, and as both Adolf Hitler and Hawthorne Abendsen have libraries of hundreds of newsreels it is uncertain how many alternate worlds are being implied.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome:
    • In this reality, the Nazi Party is hypercompetent and has managed to not only win World War 2, but also occupy and colonize almost half the world while virtually stamping out local resistance. In less then two decades, they've built a powerful empire, filled Berlin with colossal monuments to themselves and made technological breakthroughs that are ahead of their time. This is in spite of the show acknowledging the Nazis' rocky relationship with science.
    • The Japanese Empire as a whole, meanwhile, was not only able to successfully conquer the former colonies in Southeast Asia as it originally intended, but even the Indian subcontinent and the entire West Coast of the United States, fulfilling its dream of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and then some.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • John Smith is an agent of the Nazi Reich, but a lot of his conflict centers on struggling to hold his family together, which puts him at odds with the Reich. We are frequently reminded that he would have been a much different person had the war gone differently. Season 2 reveals that he was an American soldier in the war. In Season 3 he watches a home movie from an alternate dimension showing him as a happy, unassuming, non-bigoted father. We're frequently called upon to sympathize with him in spite of the monstrous things he does to the resistance.
      • He eventually embraces full-on megalomania in Season 4 after gaining too much power... but only after calling Himmler out for being an even worse monster than him, followed by gassing him and putting a saner Furher in charge.
    • Chief Inspector Kido is a ruthless agent of the JPS, but he also has a strong sense of honor and occasional Pet the Dog moments. Ultimately he's just doing what he can to serve his nation.
  • Anyone Can Die: In a dystopian setting this dangerous, it's no wonder that death is just around the corner. By season 3, even main characters start to bite the dust, with both Joe Blake and Frank Fink dying for real. Season 4 opens with the death of Minister Tagomi.
  • Arc Words: "A way out." First spoken by Trudy to Juliana just before the former is killed. Juliana continues to repeat this and actually seek a way out at different times all through the series. At the end of season 2, Juliana breaks down declaring, "There's no way out," then the Man in the High Castle presents what he proclaims is a Hope Spot for her.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: The Nazis have rebuilt downtown Berlin according to Hitler's master plan, with swastika-festooned megastructures all over the place, most conspicuously the truly-enormous Volkshalle. No attempt is made to explain how such enormous structures can stand in a city built on a swamp.note  Another engineering problem with the Volkshalle is also left out, namely that a dome that size would have its own indoor precipitation because of the humidity brought in by 100,000 or more people standing inside.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • In this timeline, atomic weapons were apparently developed by Werner Heisenberg (hence "Heisenberg device"). In real life, Heisenberg believed that a nuclear bomb would be too impractical to build to be worthwhile, and was far too busy screwing anything in a skirt at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute to put in the research to learn otherwise.note  In reality, Kurt Diebner was far closer to producing a functional device.
    • The show portrays Adolf Hitler as being the individual who is primarily responsible for preventing the Nazis and Japanese from going to war with each other. In Real Life it appears that he took the view that after the Allies were defeated, a war between Germany and Japan was virtually inevitable. Somewhat justified in this case, as Hitler in the show is Older and Wiser and knows from the Grasshopper newsreels that such a conflict would ruin his empire even if they win.
    • One cannot use the Japanese Emperor's personal name to name anything. One may use era names, such as "Meiji Dairies," or "Showa University," but one cannot name an airport "Hirohito Airport."
    • The Nazi border guards encountered by Julianna and Wyatt wear Wehrmacht Heer uniforms, but their vehicle is painted with SS runes. The Heer was the regular army of Germany, while the SS was the private military of the Nazi Party. They did operate together on a regular basis, but had separate logistics and chain of command. Heer troops would not be driving an SS vehicle.
  • Assassin Outclassin':
    • John Smith survives an attack on his motorcade and personally puts down the assassins.
    • In season 3, Trade Minister Tagomi is repeatedly targeted by Nazi Lebensborn assassins for his previous participation in smuggling classified nuclear technology out of the Reich. On one such occasion, the assassin bursts right into his home, but Tagomi overpowers and kills him thanks to his Bojutsu skills.
  • Assassination Attempt:
    • In the finale of season 1, Reinhard Heydrich attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler by forcing the remorseful Rudolf Wegener, one of the few men whom Hitler still trusts, to kill him with one of the many weapons stashed around Hitler's castle. This plot is foiled by Hitler himself, who had advance knowledge thanks to the films.
    • In the finale of season 3, the new Führer Heinrich Himmler is in the middle of overseeing Jahr Null, a wave of riots across the Greater Nazi Reich to destroy all non-Nazi culture, when he is shot by resistance snipers who are then able to disappear into the crowd.
  • Asshole Victim: Not only the characters who are killed without mourning are not just Nazis or collaborators, but resistance members too. The notable examples includes resistance members George Dixon, Susan and offscreen Gary Connell and eventually Nazi spy Joe Blake, all of whom except Gary were killed personally by Julianna in self-defense.
  • As You Know: Dialogues are usually loaded with this kind of exposition, with characters retelling general details about the setting or retreading info about plans they obviously have gone about before or known for a long time.
  • Balkanize Me: Naturally, as Germany and Japan have divided the world between one-another.
    • America has been split between the Japanese-controlled Pacific States and the Nazi-controlled United States, with a lawless neutral zone existing along the Rocky Mountains. Canada is in a similar situation.
    • Baja California is part of the Pacific States, ceded to Japan by Mexico.
    • A neutral nation was created in Brazil called Amazonia, which covers most of the Amazon Rainforest.
    • The Greater Nazi Reich itself is divided after Smith carries out a coup against Himmler, creating two independent Nazi empires in both Europe and North America.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Hawthorne was counting on Juliana to specifically ignore his insistence that George Dixon's survival was key to preventing nuclear war, and that she would instead kill him to save Thomas's life, thereby ensuring John Smith would make it to Berlin to stop Heusmann. Given the fact that he's The Man in the High Castle and has seen hundreds of different futures, planning that far ahead wouldn't be too difficult for him.
    • Smith visits Heydrich in prison, ordering the alarm sounded and presenting him with his dress uniform, to tell him that his co-conspirators have succeeded and he is being released. Before letting him out, Smith asks who his co-conspirators are. Heydrich, knowing he will be able to kill Smith once he's out, is all too happy to tell Smith that Heusmann is behind the plot before Smith shoots him dead and shuts the false alarm off.
  • The Beard: Thelma and Wayne Harris appear to be using each other this way (assuming both aren't bisexual), since they're shown in same-sex relationships on the side.
  • Becoming the Mask: John Smith. While initially he joined the Reich to provide for his family, participating in Nazi atrocities for many years and burying his conscience, and throughout the series continues to climb the ranks to protect them from new threats, he loses even that excuse by the end. As of the last episode of the series there is literally nothing stopping him from abandoning the Reich. The new führer has made North America completely autonomous, and will not interfere with Smith in any way, even though he continues to provide logistical support. Smith's second-in-command even begs him to break away from the Reich and make America independent again. However, Smith continues to go through with the plans to kill most of the people in the Pacific states with a series of scorched-Earth attacks, and to renew the American Holocaust against those who remain. In their last moments together, Helen tells him that they need to stop pretending to be Nazis, and John says he doesn't know how.
  • The Big Board: When General Onada explains the impending Nazi attack to his soldiers, he demonstrates his defense plans on a huge planning board with little figures.
  • Big Brother Is Watching You:
    • Juliana's halfway house residence in New York City is bugged with surveillance equipment by the SS.
    • Hoover presents a plan to Smith to implement "total surveillance" on the American Reich's citizens, having everyone monitored 24 hours a day. This includes Smith and his family, who have been spied on by Hoover for any sign of wrongthink for months.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Axis Powers and surprisingly, the Resistance, mostly towards Julianna, who has become one of their targets following helping Joe Blake at the end of the first season and being blamed for Karen's death at the beginning of the second season.
  • Bilingual Bonus: As is to be expected, various German and Japanese lines are sprinkled throughout the series — albeit mostly just one-liners.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • The Origami man who Juliana meets in Canon City. Although initially hinted that he is also a member of the resistance, it is later revealed he is an undercover member of the Sicherheitsdienst (the SS intelligence agency) and tries to kill her once she hands him the film.
    • Martin Heusmann, despite being a Blue Blood, pretends to have little ambition beyond his work. It gets him named Acting Chancellor.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • America 'wins': The Axis Powers lose sovereignty of America, but the end result is a Divided States of America that is already gearing up for conflict.note  Dictatorships eventually fall, but history never ends.
    • Some of the Nazis have escaped to other worlds, continuing to spread chaos throughout the multiverse. However, the portal has now stabilized, turning this specific Earth into a nexus for thousands of travelers to spread their own hopes and beliefs to the formerly Nazi-dominated world and beyond.
    • Smith commits suicide as a broken man, and his wife sacrificed herself to assassinate him, though their daughters get to live (for better or worse, as one hates their guts and the other has fully embraced fascism). Kido pays his son's life debt by serving the Yakuza in San Francisco, rather than return to Japan. Childan gets married, but must spend the rest of his life in Japan as an impoverished second-class citizen. Abensen's wife dies, but it's implied he'll find another version of her in another universe.
  • Bi the Way: Nicole turns out to be bi, as she has sexual relationships with both Joe and Thelma.
  • Bounty Hunter: The Marshal is a vicious bounty hunter who works for the Nazis to hunt down death camp escapees and resistance fighters in the Neutral Zone. Since the land is unclaimed by either the Germans or Japanese, people like him effectively are the law there.
  • Bury Your Disabled: In the eugenics-supporting alternate world created by the Nazis, the infirm are one of the groups targeted for extermination by the authorities.
    • During Joe Blake's drive through the country from NYC to the Rocky Mountains, he passes a hospital that burns its disabled and terminally ill patients there at the end of every week.
    • John Smith, a high-ranking SS officer in America, is horrified to learn that his son has muscular dystrophy, because it means he will have to be euthanized.
    • Smith's older brother, whom he worshiped as a child, died of the same disease. His wife mentions how such people are not allowed to suffer, not knowing she was talking about her own son.
    • Thomas Smith eventually turns himself in to be "euthanized", which he's lionized for.
    • It's discussed after Juliana hears of this upon emigrating into the American Reich, and asks what would happen to a friend of hers who's disabled due to a respiratory ailment, learning about their policy.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Crown Princess returns in Season 4 since being Put On The Bus early in Season 1, taking the peacemaker role Minister Tagomi was playing.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Smith captures Abendsen, he says: "John, I wondered if we'd ever meet again." Smith has to order a bunch of clerks to dig through old files to figure out who the hell he is.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Nuclear weapons are officially called "Heisenberg Devices" in this timeline. "Atomic" is occasionally used as well, as is "H-bomb" (short for "Heisenberg" in this case).
  • Call-Back: In Season 3, Childan coaxes a white prostitute to dress as a geisha and tell him in Japanese that he is a man of great culture and taste. In Season 4, the Japanese crown princess herself compliments his taste and culture, causing Childan to well up with tears.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In Season 4, Himmler demands an explanation of John's transgressions throughout the series even after the former admits that he had always considered the latter to be a surrogate son. John Smith, after a period of stunned silence, suddenly regains his composure, then goes on a tirade of insults that shocks Himmler enough that he falls into a coughing fit.
    Smith: Mein Fuhrer, you're right..... I never loved you. I never saw you as a... a father. I saw you as a... a petty little tyrant. You're are a mediocre man. A failed chicken farmer. The very thought that you see yourself in me... it sickens me.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Season one ends with Tagomi waking up in what appears to be our world's 1962 with no explanation given.
    • Season two ends with Juliana reunited with either a very-much-alive Trudy or her alternate-history counterpart, and Lem approaches Tagomi with additional films from the Man.
    • Season three ends with High Castle now the Nazis' prisoner, Himmler shot in an assassination attempt and the threat of a potential power struggle looming over the Reich, and Juliana escaping to another reality but not just before getting shot by Smith.
  • Checkpoint Charlie: In season 2, Juliana Crain realizes that she's no longer safe in the JPS and defects to the Reich by crossing a border checkpoint at their San Francisco embassy. The Kempeitai troops standing guard attempt to stop her when they see what she's doing, but she manages to cross safely.
  • The Chosen One: Conversed; most of the older generation of Germans sees the children of the Lebensborn program as this.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Hawthorne reveals to Julianna that the first grasshopper films were actually fakes made from cobbled together real world footage. Although the details on what happened next are sketchy, creating the fake films gave him access to the real ones.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Both the Japanese Pacific States and the Greater Nazi Reich have local Americans working for them. The JPS will apparently accept locally born people with Japanese ancestry into mid-level government positions. The GNR, on the other hand, is powered primarily by local Americans who have either bought into the Reich's propaganda or simply started collaborating out of personal interest. John Smith is the most notable example, as a native-born American and former war hero who has risen to the highest levels of the Reich. J. Edgar Hoover has also joined the Reich in this timeline and is the head of their equivalent of the FBI.
  • Cool Car: For all its faults, if you're a fan of classic German cars this world is impressive: government officials are taken around in Mercedes S600 limos, while even taxicabs in the former US are as often as not made by Mercedes-Benz. Granted, as the series is set in 1962 these are all new cars at the time... but the degree to which the cars are everywhere is still impressive, especially since it seems clear that US automakers are still in business. And for fans of the small, budget-model European cars from the 1950s and 60s (Citroens, Fiats, Volkswagens, etc.), these are spotted all over San Francisco. These were apparently meant as substitutes for equivalent Japanese models, which are likely too rare for the series' production to obtain for filming.
  • Cool Guns: Multiple varieties show up. The resistance mainly uses Thompsons and Colt 1911's, with some old-school .38 wheelguns for good measure. The Marshal has a sawed-off Winchester 1887 lever action shotgun. GNR Nazis use Mauser Kar98K bolt-action rifles and MP-40 SMGs, likely hand-me-downs from the Wehrmacht, who are seen to be replacing their WWII-era inventory with HK G-3 automatic rifles and MP-5 SMGs. The Japanese use Nambu pistols, with Arisaka Type-38 and -99 bolt-action rifles equipping their rank-and-file soldiers. They have just adopted the Howa Type-64 automatic rifle, but it's so new that only elite units like the Imperial Guard have them yet. The new guns are all at least slightly anachronistic, but it's excusable in the alternate timeline, in which they could have been developed earlier. The assassin who shot the Japanese Crown Prince uses an even more unlikely Dragunov SVD rifle. In Season 2, Gary Connell favors a Browning HiPower, which fits perfectly because it was manufactured before WWII in both Belgium and Canada, and after they captured Herstal, the Nazis had FN continue production of the "Pistole 1935" for issue to the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe. Walther PPK pistols also pop up here and there. Guns (and their value and cachet) are a Discussed Trope since multiple characters are interested in acquiring and selling them: Childan deals in authentic antique weapons while Frank works at a foundry that churns out reproductions. A wide variety of Kalashnikovs, PPS-43 sub-machine guns and various Soviet pistols finally make their debut in Season 4, with the implication that China are now the main suppliers of Russian firearms in that timeline.
  • Cool Plane:
    • Even if it's got a swastika on the tail, it's hard not to have your heart skip a beat at the sight of a Concorde sitting on the tarmac in San Francisco... in the early 1960s, over a decade before they went into service IRL. The fact that it is made clear that Lufthansa is running multiple flights each day across the US and across the Atlantic (barely an episode goes by without hearing the sonic boom of one) is, when compared with the total global fleet of them ever, quite impressive. Taken Up to Eleven in the second season when we see the Berlin airport. There are Concordes lined up at the gates as if they were 737s today. The implied fleet size alone is staggering.
    • Later episodes of Season 3 introduce a VTOL-capable jet flown by the Luftwaffe. It looks a bit like an Arado Ar-234 bastardized with dropship from Aliens.
  • Cool Ship: Admiral Inokuchi's flagship is a Yamato-class superbattleshipnote  whose seaplane-handling spaces aft have been replaced with a helicopter flight deck, much the same as the Iowa-class fast battleships were converted in the real world. The fleet's introductory scene also prominently features a Taiho-class aircraft carrier with a postwar angled flight deck.
  • Cool Train: New York has an elevated monorail system. Berlin has an even more extensive network implied. In Season 4, John travels back and forth from the Nebenswelt installation in a personal bullet train that has externally mounted auto-turrets and forward-facing miniguns for defense!
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: Attempted against the Crown Prince of Japan. The assassin intends to be caught and serve as a Pretext for War.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Obergruppenfuhrer Smith, faced with the choice of killing his son or turning him over to the Nazi authorities, takes the third option and kills his physician and destroys the medical records in order to continue to hide his son's illness. When the physician's widow asks for an autopsy, Smith quickly has the body burned to hide the evidence of murder.
  • The Coup: Near the end of season 4, John Smith, realizing that he is about to be removed from his position as Reichsmarshall and likely eliminated for his faltering loyalty, stages a coup against Himmler and his Berlin inner circle in alliance with an ambitious German general, creating two Nazi empires in America and Europe.
  • Crapsaccharine World: In contrast to the Neutral Zone the Greater Nazi Reich (and, to a lesser extent, the Japanese Pacific States) are far more developed and livable, and in some cases even enjoyable, assuming you aren't one of the persecuted minorities. However, the show goes to great lengths to reveal what happens when someone stops being protected and starts to come into the eyes of the state. Juliana was perfectly happy with her life until her sister was murdered by the Kempeitai, Frank was doing just fine until Juliana disappeared and he lost almost his entire family, but the worst has to be what has started to happen to Obergruppenfuhrer Smith, not for the severity, but because he is the one man who has the most to gain from the society he's helped build. In episode 8, he learns that his son is suffering from a degenerative disability and will go into full paralysis within a year. Since the Nazis don't want to create cures for such disabilities, as they would lead to an impure human race, he is given only one option-eventual euthanasia. It's clear that no matter how much faith he has in the Reich, this turn of events is shaking that faith, because he loves his wife and children more than anything, and had previously deluded himself into believing that by joining the Nazis he was making a better world for them.
  • Crapsack World: The Axis Powers won WWII.
    • The Reich's borders encompass the entirety of Europe and Russia (as far as the Ural Mountains, at most), and nearly half of the USA and Canada. They have also colonized all of Africa (and are much nastier than even the Belgians in doing so), and those blacks who haven’t been massacred are kept only as slave labor. Several countries are said to be Nazi vassal states with only nominal independence at best.
    • The Japanese Empire covers all of the Pacific, the US and Canada west of Nevada and the Rocky Mountains, and pretty much everything between Siberia to the Indian Ocean. Australia is mentioned in Season 4.
    • Along with the Neutral Zone in North America, a similar buffer zone between the two Empires exists in Central Asia. The Reich's dominance of oil implies they have possession of the Middle East.
    • Sweden is confirmed to be an independent sovereign nation, but can be assumed to go out of their way to stay on Berlin's good side. Mexico remains independent as well, but probably has to walk a tightrope to stay out of either superpowers' sights. Some South American countries are still independent as well. Argentina is specifically mentioned, as Smith tries to send his son there to protect him, but is allied with and heavily influenced by Germany. It is implied that Germany and Japan probably have plans for them.
    • Because of the German and Japanese occupations, the infrastructure is maintained mainly with an eye to keeping their respective parts of the USA functioning. Consequently in the Neutral Zone, the relative lawlessness means that roads and buildings are at best indifferently maintained. Some buildings even still have World War II-era propaganda posters stuck on them only half-covered by Nazi or Japanese symbols. There is no government of any kind, and Nazi agents and bounty hunters (searching for Jews and Resistance fighters) and the Yakuza (who take full advantage of the lawlessness to make lots of money) are the closest you can get to law and order. Obviously, nobody wants to get close to them. People can get shot on the street or in the middle of a crowded bar room with minimal fear of repercussions (none whatsoever if they flash a Waffen-SS ID or claim to be working for them), bandits on the roads will rob you blind if you don’t either pay them off first or bring more guns than they do, and medical care of any kind is hard to come by. On the flip side, Jews are able to hide more easily, less-persecuted religions like Catholics can practice more-or-less openly, and gays face no legal discrimination or persecution so long as they don't get in the way of the groups listed above.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: While the Kempeitai make reprisal executions by firing squad, they execute traitors by repeatedly bayoneting them in the torso to draw out their agony. Truth in Television, although the Japanese usually used POWs and/or Chinese civilians for bayonet practice in real life. Reserving it for traitors is likely an indication of how the Japanese Empire has loosened up somewhat since the war.
  • Cultural Cringe: When a Japanese man asks Childan about various aspects of American culture, Childan repeatedly disparages American culture in favor of Japanese and German culture, such as saying he dislikes "negro music" and prefers Wagner. He also says that common American idioms are stupid in comparison to Japanese.
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart:
    • It is revealed that in this timeline Reichsmarshall Herman Goering and his family were executed on Hitler's orders because Goering tried to usurp power from his boss after he fell into a brief coma several years prior to 1962. This mirrors Goering's similar real life attempt at a coup when the Third Reich collapsed in 1945.
    • Inverted with Trade Minister Tagomi, who visits an alternate universe (from his perspective) where the Axis Powers lost World War II and his wife and son are both still alive and living in San Francisco. He spends considerable time there with them. His counterpart in our timeline is implied to have jumped off a bridge.
    • Frank Fink watches one of the Alternate Universe reels with Juliana, where he witnesses himself being executed by Joe Blake as part of a Nazi death squad. This is in a reality where the Space Cold War between the Nazis and Japanese "turned hot", and San Francisco was nuked and invaded by the Reich.
    • Juliana lives for several months in an alternate USA where her counterpart had died as a child along with her parents in a car crash.
  • Deadline News: After Adolf Hitler's death, an illegal news broadcast in the Greater Nazi Reich exposes the truth to the public before the newsman is shot to death on live television.
  • Death by Irony: In season 4, Himmler himself was killed with Zyklon B, a gas commonly associated with the gas chambers the Nazis set up to kill undesirables.
  • Decadent Court: After they won the war, the Nazis have established a dog-eat-dog hierarchy, with the uppermost echelons of the party and paramilitary constantly scheming against each other for supremacy. Hitler himself even falls victim to an ambitious underling who desires to become Führer so he can start a nuclear war against their former Japanese allies.
  • Decoy Protagonist: When the show started, Frank Frink, Joe Blake and Tagomi were stated to be protagonists, but by the Grand Finale, Frank and Joe were killed (with Joe undergoing a Face–Heel Turn into one of the show's antagonists that would lead to his death) in the third season, while Tagomi is Killed Offscreen at the beginning of the last season, leaving their voided roles to filled in by other characters who were there since the first season as minor supporting characters or even later added new characters such as Wyatt.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In the season 3 finale, Juliana says this verbatim about Himmler's plan to attack other worlds through the dimensional portal. "He's just gonna roll tanks through the portal alongside the troops? With no idea what they'll find on the other side? If they even get to the other side? Or have none of you thought that through?" As Juliana points out, surprise or no, a small Nazi incursion force has little chance against advanced worlds where Germany was already defeated. They later send spies through to get them intelligence instead.
    • Also in the finale, arrogant Nicole Dormer is sent back to Berlin for "reeducation" due to her being bisexual. Nicole had assumed her place as part of the Reich propaganda machine gave her carte blanche to act as she wanted, failing to consider how Himmler would take a dim view of this.
      Himmler: Did you really believe your perversions had no price?
    • In season 4, the BCR manages to make the occupation of the Pacific States so costly for the Japanese Empire that they unilaterally give up their American colonies, despite knowing full well that the JPS is the Lesser of Two Evils. Unsurprisingly, the Greater Nazi Reich immediately starts preparing another invasion and genocide which the BCR is powerless to stop.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Kotomichi, Tagomi, and alternate-Trudy stumbled onto how to pull this off and go into alternate timelines, but exactly how it works is a mystery. The Man in the High Castle is suspected to also be a "traveler", but is not. The finale of Season 3 shows Juliana become one, vanishing right before Smith's eyes. Word of God suggests that individuals can only travel to alternate timelines where their own counterpart is already dead, which Tagomi finds about his counterpart (although that man's family are all completely unaware that he is gone). These people are also implied to be the real source of the alternate timeline films popping up throughout the setting, having carried them over from these other realities.
  • Dirty Communists: It's mentioned that Stalin was executed in 1949. Based on maps, the Soviet Union was divided between Germany and Japan, with a large neutral zone taking up Siberia and Central Asia. Communistic influence however is still strong as ever, with the Japanese still facing massive communist guerrilla resistance in Manchuria and the remnants of China while a large portion of African-Americans in the JPS have organised themselves into a movement called the "Black Communist Rebellion".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Reprisals. Every Japanese soldier killed by the Resistance is retaliated for by executing ten random American civilians on the side of the street. This soon backfired, to the point that a Japanese Buddhist monk immolates himself on a San Francisco street to protest the Imperial Army/Kempeitai's brutality towards American civilians.
  • Divided States of America: Between the Nazis, Imperial Japan, and the lawless Neutral Zone.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • "The Marshal" carries around a deck of playing cards containing the faces and information of enemies of the state.
    • When the Crown Prince is shot, his wife remains by his side in a pink kimono splattered with her husband's blood, and refuses to take it off.
    • The way Tagomi and a German agent (Wegener) are conspiring to deliver nuclear secrets to the Japanese science minister resembles to some extent how the Soviets partially developed their own atomic bomb project, through espionage about the American nuclear project.
    • In one episode, the Resistance member Sarah is wearing a stereotypical outfit worn by women members of radical groups in the 1960's & 70's.
    • Obergruppenfuhrer Smith plots to save his son Thomas by sending him to Argentina to be hidden away. This is similar to the Ratlines in our version of history, which were a system of escape routes to South America for high-ranking Nazi officials to escape capture once the Allies occupied Berlin.
    • The drugs Dr. Adler prescribed to Lucy Collins are the same types that Dr. Theodor Morell routinely administered to Hitler. note 
    • The "officially" stated purpose of Jahr Null ("Year Zero"), to "Cast aside the old and the past, and bring forth the new and the future," with the unleashing of the Party youth (the students) out into the streets as the instruments and public demonstration of this new policy, is modeled more from Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1976, rather than Nazi Germany's Kristallnacht in 1938, which the series' Himmler boasts about and compares Jahr Null to.
    • After the inauguration of Jahr Null in the finale of Season 3, young people march through the streets with torches chanting "blood and soil", a disturbing reference to the Neo-Nazi "Unite the Right" rally held in Charlottesville in 2017 (this was a Nazi slogan originally, which of course their modern-day followers drew from).
    • Watching the planes shoot missiles into the Statue of Liberty, which falls straight over into the harbor, can feel reminiscent of news footage of the World Trade Center collapsing on 9/11.
    • The Japanese withdrawal from the Pacific States and the subsequent mass evacuation brings to mind of the chaotic last days of Saigon during the closing hours of the Vietnam War.
  • Dream Intro: The season 2 episode "Land O'Smiles" opens with Frank Fink performing a Judaic prayer with his deceased sister Laura and her children before gas suddenly starts to come down from the ceiling when he wakes up from this nightmare.
  • Dub Name Change: Some Japanese characters are renamed to more mundane-sounding names in Japanese version of the series as they have rather obscure or unnatural sounding name. For example, Trade Minister Tagomi becomes Tagami (田上), Mr. and Mrs. Kasoura becomes Kajiura (梶浦). This is carried over from the translation of the original novel.

    E-H 
  • Europeans Are Kinky: When Joe goes to a party with the other lebensborn, he finds that they are extremely liberal with drugs and sex, to his surprise: some even discuss sharing girlfriends. This is a reference to the counterculture practiced by hippies during The '60s in our timeline. By everything that's been shown of the conquered United States, it's ironically much more culturally conservative than the heart of the fascist empire. In fact, there seems to be a two-tiered legal system wherein, for instance, open displays of homosexuality are allowed for European nationals, but prosecuted for Americans. At least until Himmler has the bisexual Nicole carted off back to Germany for "re-education".
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Obergruppenführer John Smith is a ruthless Nazi official who casually orders horrific treatment of prisoners and stages fake executions of his subordinates to test their loyalty. He's also a devoted husband and father whose home life is pretty much the American Dream right out of a Norman Rockwell painting... with swastikas. A great deal of his character conflict involves balancing his career as a Nazi with his family life.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Due to some of the main characters being anti villains, this trope comes up occasionally:
    • Chief Inspector Kido lets Frank go unharmed after he realizes that he'd just executed Frank's sister and her children for no reason.
    • John Smith occasionally shows mercy to people he could otherwise annihilate.
    • The BCR have no love for their Japanese occupiers and are borderline black supremacists, but they do not allow vigilante killings and senseless anarchy once the Pacific States has been abandoned by the Japanese. They are aghast when they come across the attempted lynching of Inspector Kido by an angry white mob intent on exacting revenge on any and all remaining Japanese, but considering black Americans long history of being lynched themselves, it makes sense. They insist he have a trial rather than simply be hung.
  • Fallen States of America: America is split into three sections: the Japanese Pacific States, the Greater Nazi Reich, and a Neutral Zone in between that has become completely lawless. American culture in the occupied territories is being systematically dismantled and replaced by the culture of the occupying nations.
  • Fantastic Slur: Although "Jap" is heard here and there, Americans in the JPS usually use "Pon" (short for Nippon) to derisively refer to their Japanese overlords. And in the GNR, instead of the slurs that Americans (in "our reality") have used for Jews, Smith and others in the GNR call them "semites," which was the derogatory term for Jews used in Germany.
  • Fictional Counterpart:
    • JFK International Airport is now Lincoln Rockwell International Airport, named after the founder of the American Nazi Party George Lincoln Rockwell, who becomes Reichsmarshall of North America.
    • San Francisco International Airport is now Pan Pacific International Airport.
    • Obergruppenführer Smith's son Thomas attends Fritz Julius Kuhn High School, named after the leader of the German American Bund.
    • In the pilot episode, we see a map tracking Joe's journey to the neutral zone, and it shows that the city of St. Louis, Missouri has been renamed New Berlin. It makes sense that the GNR would not want one of its major cities to be named after a French monarch.
  • Fictional Country:
    • The Greater Nazi Reich, which is comprised of the former USA from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains. It is a puppet state of Nazi Germany.
    • The Japanese Pacific States, which is comprised of Hawaii and the former mainland USA from the West Coast to the Rockies, and part of the 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere' controlled by the Empire of Japan.
  • Fictional Holiday: A widely celebrated holiday in the Greater Nazi Reich is 'VA Day', which is short for 'Victory in America Day'.
  • Filth: In the last episode of season 3, Wyatt visits an old friend of his in New York City to ask for his help, who has since become a pornographer. Wyatt is seen skimming through a pinup magazine called Raunchy Rich, and notices a camera pointed at a BDSM room, while mockingly noting that his interracial content, smuggled in from the Pacific States, could get him in trouble with the Nazi authorities.
  • Finale Credits : The credits remain silent with no music or sound which is used as the Silent Credits.
  • Final Solution: This was applied to the Eastern United States after the Germans conquered it. Jews and black people were exterminated, except for those able to escape into the Neutral Zone or the Pacific States. The Japanese also kill Jews they find (apparently to stay friendly with the Nazis, so this is not strictly enforced) although not black people. After the American Reich decides to annex the formerly Japanese-ruled Pacific States, it's shown they plan to do this there as well. Not only to black people or Jews, but also Roma, those of mixed race and Native Americans. Thankfully, it's shown at the end that it won't happen when the new leader calls the invasion off.
  • Fingore: Kotomichi instructs Kido to remove the last knuckle of one pinky finger before he'll let him into the Yakuza. Kido does so with nothing more than a slight grunt. This is a real Yakuza practice called yubitsume, usually done when a subordinate member has to make penance for some wrong they did to their superior. Here the viewer doesn't see the actual finger removal though.
  • First-Episode Twist: In the pilot episode, Joe Blake is a young American adult who has been living under Nazi occupation for several years when he decides to join the underground resistance. By the end of the episode, it's already revealed to the audience that he's really a Nazi spy attempting to infiltrate them.
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: At the start of season 3, the Japanese increase their military presence in their part of the conquered U.S., leading us to some impressive shots of a Japanese carrier group arriving in San Francisco Bay.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Subverted. In season 3, Helen Smith starts visiting a psychotherapist to process her grief over the death of her son Thomas. She starts to develop feelings for the doctor after being distant with her husband John and even tries to kiss the man, but he puts a stop to it by instantly informing her husband and resigning. This is partly because he's well aware of the phenomenon of transference, and partly because John Smith is a very high-ranking Nazi official who had already threatened his life before, and whose bad side he really doesn’t want to be on.
  • Foreign Ruling Class: Both puppet states established in the former US are dominated by their foreign overlords. In both cases, simply proving you're one of the ruling class is enough to get cops to leave you alone for most transgressions.
    • In the Japanese Pacific States, non-Japanese are considered second-class citizens to the ruling Japanese. Non-Japanese must defer to Japanese in all matters. While there is a stigma against locally born Japanese, they are still treated as Japanese and can achieve some positions of authority.
    • The Germans are better and worse to the local population. They have driven out or exterminated virtually all "undesirable" races, but treat local white people as full members of the Reich, turning former American citizens into Les Collaborateurs. While most dominant members of the Reich are German-born, the Reich does promote local natives into positions of high authority, such as Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Discussed. Joe discusses the fact that he would be a different, and worse, person if he had not met Juliana. This is later demonstrated to horrifying effect in a newsreel depicting an Alternate Timeline in which SS officers, including Joe, cold-bloodedly execute survivors of San Francisco, including Frank.
    • There's also the much broader aspect of the Crapsack World Alternate History setting, which seems to have resulted from Franklin D. Roosevelt's assassination in this setting.
    • In the "regular" universe, Tagomi's wife and son died during the war, and in the "alternate" universe, Juliana is married to Tagomi's son.
    • The trope is literally the title of Episode 9 in Season 4.
  • Freezeframe Bonus:
    • In "Pilot", the markings on the police car that pulls Joe over say "Missouri Autobahn Patrol" instead of the more Americanized "Highway Patrol". Also, every police officer in the Reich has SS runes on the collar of his uniform.
    • Furthermore, all GNR vehicles have "Arbeit Macht Frei," the infamous phrase on the gates of Auschwitz, as the tagline on their license plates.
    • In "Sunrise", Joe Blake is briefly seen watching a children's cartoon called American Reich, about two detectives who work for the Reich Police. The narration is straight out of Dragnet.
    • In "A Way Out", Wegener's son is reading a "Ranger Reich" comic (Ranger Rick).
  • Fun with Subtitles: Played with, even more than usual. One episode of Season 2 starts out with Childan and a Caucasian woman who is made up to look like a geisha. Childan spends a minute or two teaching her to say a very particular sentence in Japanese, which she assumes to be dirty talk. When she says it "with real feeling," we finally get to see the subtitles kick in and translate the phrase to mean "You are truly a man of great culture and rare taste." They then proceed to make out.
  • Gambit Pileup: A common theme.
    • The Crown Prince's speech. The Crown Prince wants to give a speech cementing peace between the Japanese and German empires. The trade minister and a German agent are conspiring to deliver nuclear secrets to the Japanese science minister. A conspiracy of Nazis want to assassinate the prince and take the blame for it in order to spark a war. And hapless Frank Fink just wants to show up and kill the Prince in revenge for his family being murdered by the Kempeitai.
    • Canon City. Juliana wants to learn the truth about the resistance. No less than three different Nazi agents are trying to find her and either claim the film, kill her, kill each other, or some combination of those. Meanwhile the true resistance member is trying to get the film without blowing his cover.
    • The climax of Season 2. Heusmann's plans for nuclear war near completion. Tagomi brings back a film he hopes will avert the war, accidentally drawing Kido away from a room in the Japanese headquarters that Frank and the Resistance car-bomb. Kido would have been killed anyway, though, had it not been for Frank attempting to shoot him, causing him to jump out of the way of the blast. This bomb kills all the senior command except Kido, helping him to bypass the chain of command and show the film to Smith. Meanwhile, Juliana inadvertently saves Smith from being arrested by the SS while trying to save his son, allowing him to reach Berlin and reveal the film. Smith bluffs that the footage is of a Japanese hydrogen-bomb test in "their reality", which unnerves the leadership into resuming peace with Japan. Smith also shows Himmler evidence of Heusmann and Heydrich's treachery. Phew!
  • Gainax Ending: In both the book and series.
    • The book ends with Julianna realizing that the Axis did indeed lose the war, but it's left up the readers to decide what that means. (There was intended to be a sequel, which involved travel between parallel dimensions, but it never saw the light of day.)
    • The series has this due to being canceled halfway through its fourth season. The series ends with the Nazi's portal opening of its own accord and the people who Julianna saw in the wasteland in her visions spilling out and looking around in confusion. The only answer we get is Hawthorne's unhelpful explanation that the people are from "everywhere". There are some possible hints in the previous episodes (such as Hawthorne telling Smith that the Axis had killed so many people that the multiverse had become unbalanced. We're also told that Hitler came across his filmstrips through his spiritualist beliefs, suggesting that the afterlife might be involved.) However there's nothing conclusive.
  • Gas Chamber: Laura and her children are killed in a gas chamber inside the Kenpeitai headquarters that's made to look like a suburban waiting room with Zyklon-B. The claim that the agent is 'odorless' is something of a simplification - the nerves are simply rendered incapable of conveying the information to the brain. Kido even mentions to Frank that they have made "improvements" to the Zyklon-B the Nazis used. Ironically, Kido himself ends up locked up in the same chamber by the resistance after the Japanese evacuation and resigns himself to his death, but since the gas canisters are empty he survives.
  • Gay Cowboy: Jack is a gay cowboy in the Neutral territories, which are explicitly New Old West. He's ultimately more a grifter instead of a rancher by trade, but he does wear a cowboy hat.
  • God-Emperor: The Japanese people still consider their emperor a living god in this timeline. This is mentioned to be vital to capture him when the Nazis are planning the invasion of their former ally, because he holds such sway over them.
  • Gratuitous German: Comes with the territory, but of varying quality. Kenneth Tigar (Himmler) for example has an extreme accent, Carsten Norgaard (Wegener) speaks fluently and almost flawlessly, Timothy Murphy (Eichmann) makes a laughable attempt, and Wolf Muser (Hitler) is, well, a native speaker (just to name several).
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Slightly less than German, but still there. Joel de la Fuente's (Kido) American accent gets lampshaded in season 3.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Lots of examples.
    • Both the Third Reich and Imperial Japan are ruthless, tyrannical Empires, with some decent, good (or at least Affably Evil) people in both sides.
    • By the end of the season, Kido knows Frank Fink is innocent, but is pursuing him as a suspect anyway, since he knows that if the truth gets out about the crown prince being assassinated by a Nazi agent, there'll be a devastating war that the Japanese will almost certainly lose. He's even prepared to commit seppuku to preserve the lie.
    • In the season 1 finale, Wegener has the opportunity to kill Hitler... but doing so would put Reinhard Heydrich in power, and probably cause a nuclear war with Japan.
    • The Resistance are this as well. While their goal is to free America from Nazi and Japanese occupation, they won't hesitate to assassinate innocent family members of Nazi officials or purposely allow civilians to be killed by Japanese troops to fuel resentment and make more people join their cause.
    • Smith gets this in the second season. While it appears at first that he's subverting Reich laws just to save his son's life, we later learn that he was a high-ranking member of the United States military during the Second World War, which suggests his actions are a case of My Country, Right or Wrong and being a Punch-Clock Villain, and that he is not a True Believer in the Nazi cause.
  • Heritage Disconnect:
    • Joe grew up knowing that his father was a high-ranking Nazi official, and felt angry at his father for not having raised him. Once he realizes his father's true intentions, he embraces his heritage.
    • Sarah was a Japanese-American interned in Manzanar. When the Japanese occupied the Western United States and freed them, she and her family faced disdain because they were seen as having betrayed their country for coming to the US. This leads her to become part of The Resistance.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Thomas Smith surrendering himself to be "euthanized" is portrayed this way afterward by the Nazi regime in the US.
  • Heteronormative Crusader:
  • Historical Character's Fictional Relative: Nicole Dormer, a young German woman and fellow Lebensborn who befriends Joe Blake, is officially the "niece" of Joseph Goebbels, although it's implied that she's really his bastard daughter.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan (while unnamed, they're presumably Akihito and Michiko) feature prominently as characters at the start of the first season.
    • Several historical Nazis also make appearances, with Reinhard Heydrich halfway through season 1, Adolf Hitler in the season 1 finale, and Heinrich Himmler in season 2.
    • Head of the American Nazi Party George Lincoln Rockwell is the Reichsmarshall of North America at the beginning of the series and becomes a significant character in season 3.
    • J. Edgar Hoover has become a Nazi collaborator and now heads their equivalent of the FBI.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Heusmann turns out to not believe in God. He is also the head of the Nazi faction seeking to start a genocidal war against the Japanese.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Jahr Null street chaos that Himmler unleashed and gleefully encouraged made it possible for the sniper-assassins to target him, and then escape into the rioting crowds.
  • Hotline: Inspector Kido and Obergruppenfuehrer Smith are shown to have this between their offices during season 2. Whether they already had this for some time before, or newly set it up just after Kido first came to personally see Smith in season 2, is not revealed. By their rapport, it appears that they have known one another for some time and respect each other as soldiers, though they could hardly be called friendly.
  • Hunting "Accident": Obergruppenfuehrer John Smith discovers a plot by senior Nazis to assassinate Hitler and start a war with Japan. He's invited to a hunting party where he is to be quietly killed for knowing too much.
  • Hypocrite: Residents of the Greater Nazi Reich are contemptuous of the Japanese notions of superiority that are standard in the Japanese Pacific States while flouting their own.

    I-L 
  • I Am Spartacus: In season 3, a bounty hunter tracks down a small community of Jewish refugees posing as Catholics somewhere in the Neutral territories. After he holds one of them at gunpoint, Frank Fink, who is still alive, stands up and tells him to take him instead, since he's also a Jew. One by one, everyone else also stands up and tells him to take them too, before he's shot from a distance by a gun-toting inhabitant.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • When the Marshal is pursuing Joe and Juliana, Joe gets the drop on him and knocks him out. Rather than killing him or just tying him up, they immediately run, and the pursuit continues when the Marshal wakes up. It gets worse when, after he knocks out the Marshal, he neglects to pick up the man's gun, then immediately complains that he doesn't have a gun on him.
    • When Joe shoots the two Yakuza guards, neither he nor Frank think to take their guns and Frank forgets to take his ransom money back.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side:
    • Prior to the show's events, John Smith fought in the US Signal Corps against the Nazis. When the US lost, he joined the Reich and kept his US service medals hung in his office. Kido questions him about why he would continue to keep his medals displayed in service to the United States, and Smith replies, "To remind myself of the failures of command." note 
    • Joe Blake undergoes a Face–Heel Turn in Season 3 and has come to embrace this belief wholeheartedly. Being tortured for months and eventually forced to kill his father has convinced him that the Reich's utter ruthlessness means it is destined to last forever.
  • I Know You Know I Know: In season 3, Rockwell confronts him on how Smith murdered Adler to keep his son's bad health quiet and Helen then killed Adler's widow, citing evidence from Hoover. But Smith had already pressured Hoover (with evidence of his own sinful crimes) to claim there was no evidence at all. Himmler accuses Rockwell of plotting against Smith and has him arrested. In private, Himmler point blank tells Smith he knows full well Smith and Helen are guilty and set up Rockwell and actually respects that. He also points out that Smith might have to "tie up the loose end" of Helen. Even as he's promoted to Reichmarshall, Smith knows it's tricky as Himmler wants Smith to know he wasn't fooled by this setup for an instant.
  • Illegal Religion: Christianity has been banned in the Japanese Pacific States, and this is implied within the Reich as well, given that even a Neutral Zone book shop owner only sells Bibles under the table. The Marshal finds this out and confirms with his reaction that it's basically contraband, even though the Neutral Zone technically has no laws. Hitler actually did have plans to replace Christianity with a new religion centering on himself, according to some papers uncovered by the Allies. Judaism was banned in Nazi Germany already. In this setting, Imperial Japan has followed suit, with practicing it being punishable by death.
  • Informed Attractiveness: People are often called upon to describe Juliana's appearance, and they invariably mention that she's attractive.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Frank's brother-in-law Phil has to hold a Shinto funeral for his wife and kids, with Christianity being illegal and Judaism punishable by death. The Japanese Shinto priest officiating the funeral gets their names wrong, prompting an angry correction from Frank, who obviously considers the whole thing an insulting farce and shows signs of tragic bigotry. Still, the priest seems sincere, and Phil's Japanese coworkers and bosses in attendance seem genuinely sorry for their loss.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Everything in the American Reich is vastly different from reality — except that J. Edgar Hoover is still the highest-ranking law enforcement agent.
    • A Cold War still develops between two victorious nuclear powers, but in this case it is the German and Japanese empires rather than the USA and USSR.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Throughout the series, various characters are able to visit parallel universe through some form of meditation, causing the film reels showing these worlds to spread. In season 3, the Nazis build an interdimensional travel device through technological means in an abandoned mine, the Nebenswelt project, in order to conquer other worlds.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The opening credits are overlaid with an eerie take on the Rodgers and Hammerstein song "Edelweiss."
  • Irony: Peace depends on Hitler not dying. And then Himmler helps to prevent a worldwide holocaust.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Kido evades reprisals and finds his wayward son. But they are left behind in San Francisco and indebted to the Yakuza, who they must both serve in order to survive. Should the Americans go on an all-out crackdown on the Yakuza, Kido's future is dubious.
  • Karmic Death: Himmler is murdered with Zyklon B gas, the same used in Nazi death camps.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: After Heussman's failed usurpation of the Reich leadership, Josef is forced to personally execute his father to prove his loyalty to the Nazi Party. Afterwards, his godfather and new Fuhrer, Heinrich Himmler, pats him on the cheek and has him Reassigned to Antarctica.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Any issues with Joel de la Fuente’s spoken Japanese are excused in Season 3 when Admiral Inokuchi observes that Kido has picked up an American accent.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: During the Japanese withdrawal in Season 4, Inspector Kido is captured by vigilantes and locked in the same gas chamber room where he killed Frank Fink's sister and her children. He realizes the karma and resigns himself to it. Then subverted due to the gas cylinders being empty, and Kido gets an opening to kill the thugs and escape.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black:
    • All over the place, due to the setting. Adolf frakking Hitler of all people comes across as this in comparison to Reinhard Heydrich's faction, whose goals are by all accounts a total nuclear war with Japan.
    • The conclusion of Season 2 astonishingly makes Heinrich Himmler into this as well, as he and his SS halt the unleashing of nuclear war against Japan, and take down the mastermind behind Heydrich's faction.
    • As oppressive as they are, the Japanese are slightly more tolerant (although Judaism is forbidden) compared to the Reich. It appears that their antisemitic laws are simply in imitation of the Nazis (probably for good relations with them), while they have nothing in particular against Jews. The Japanese are quite racist against anyone who’s not Japanese, but unlike the Nazis don’t single out any specific group, and other races can live their lives under Imperial rule as long as they remember their place. The Kempeitai don't bother hunting down anyone not actively resisting Imperial rule, so proscribed groups like Jews and homosexuals are at least able to do what they want in private.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: In season 3, Inspector Kido is introduced to a new member of his staff to replace some of the people killed in the previous season's bombing of the Kempeitai's offices, a half-Japanese man born in the United States whose proficiency in Japanese is not up to standards. Kido begrudgingly gives him a chance to prove his loyalty to the Empire. This man later turns out to be a mole.
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    M-P 
  • Make an Example of Them: In season 2, when the Nazis prepare to invade the Japanese Empire, Obergruppenfuehrer John Smith's post is reinforced by SS troops from Germany to deal with the mounting resistance movement on the east coast. His new subordinate, Gruppenfuehrer Keller, advises him to raze a town of 80,000 people where resistance activity is highest. Smith says he'll take him up on his suggestion, then immediately countermands the order when Keller leaves the room.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage:
    • The "regular universe" counterpart of Trade Minister Tagomi, who is a Japanese immigrant in San Francisco, was deeply disapproving of his son's relationship with Juliana and thinks he is giving up his cultural heritage. His son manages to convince him that in America he can be both an American and Japanese.
    • White American Robert Childan's marriage to Yukiko, who's Japanese, is clearly disapproved of by her people too. They refuse to let him travel on the boat with her even after he gives the guard a hefty bribe. He has to bribe the Yakuza to get on another boat in hopes of meeting her there later. Even if they do reunite, they'll be second class citizens in Japan.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: Bearing children is considered the greatest female virtue in the Greater Nazi Reich. When Juliana defects to the GNR in Season 2, she is told by a doctor performing an inspection who's specialized in "racial science" (among other things, measuring her skull and skin tone) that she has an injury which may render her infertile and endanger her chances for a visa. Juliana later becomes close with a Stepford Smiler among the Nazi elite who has had problems becoming pregnant. She fears her social position may be endangered because her husband has started to move on.
  • Meaningful Name: A Jewish resistance member named Sampson.
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: Played with in the JPS due to whites being second-class citizens.
    • Frank and Sarah, though Frank is Sarah's social inferior in the JPS.
    • Childan is revealed to have a Race Fetish for geisha and loves to make prostitutes praise him in Japanese, though only white woman are available to play the role. He later begins a romance with a Japanese woman and they marry, though the Japanese government's prejudice toward their relationship means he can't travel with her when all Japanese citizens are evacuated from the Pacific States (Childan manages to get alternate transportation by bribing the Yakuza).
  • Misidentified Weapons: In Season 4, Captain Ijima identifies a suspect's drive-by pistol as a "Chinese Type 54" when the pistol in question is a Russian-made Stechkin APS automatic pistol with fake Chinese markings. The Type 54 pistol in-real-life is a copy of the Soviet TT-33 pistol, although it is unclear whether the gun is supposed to be a Weapons Understudies to the actual Type 54, or the Stechkin APS in that universe is actually designated as the Type 54.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: A member of the resistance is sent to spy on John Smith's family as they go about their day. Their female bodyguard assumes him to be a pedophile since he's been following her and John Smith's daughter around a department store all morning, and threatens him over this. He's obviously not, they're just trying to figure out their routine to find an opportunity to make contact with Helen Smith.
  • The Mole:
    • Someone from Smith's staff leaked out his official schedule to the resistance on orders from Heydrich. Smith kills the aide and makes it look like a suicide.
    • Kido's new half-Japanese second-in-command in the Kempeitai turns out to be a mole for the Resistance.
  • Monument of Humiliation and Defeat: In Season 3, as part of the Jahr Null (Year Zero) celebrations, the Nazis melt down the Liberty Bell and convert it into a swastika. They also blow up the Statue of Liberty, and Season 4 shows the new statue the Nazis put in its place, of a "heroic" Aryan man and woman.
  • Monumental Damage: In season 3, the Nazis initiate a plan to tear down former American monuments, such as Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, and replacing them with ones exalting National Socialist ideology.
  • Moral Myopia: John Smith is committed to Nazi ideology except when it's his own son that needs to be euthanized because of his chronic illness.
  • Mugging the Monster: Narrowly subverted. When Kido and Kotomichi visit Denver late in season 3, two bounty hunters almost pick a fight with the Chief Inspector of the Military Police and the Oyabun of the Yakuza. They decide to let the matter slide before they both unknowingly would have ended up face-down in a ditch.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: After learning of "Travellers", visitors originating from alternate universes, the Nazis embark on a project to build an Interdimensional Travel Device, dubbed the Nebenswelt, in order to conquer those other universes. However, their efforts may be in vain if the Man in the High Castle is to be believed.
  • The Neutral Zone: North America is divided between a Nazi German puppet state in the east and an Imperial Japanese puppet state in the west. The large swath of area in between centered on the Rocky Mountains is a demilitarized zone unclaimed by either of the Axis states. As such there is no overt totalitarian oppression or racial policies, but at the cost of pretty much being a lawless hellhole instead, with decades-old infrastructure decaying and Wild West-style justice.
  • New Old West: The Neutral Zone has a distinct Wild West feel to it despite existing within an alternate 1960s world dominated by the victorious Axis Powers, being a near-lawless frontier setting roamed by bounty hunters, gangs of outlaws (trading in horses for motorcycles), grifters, and small-town settlers. Several of the main characters who visit it spend much of their time in season 3 hanging out in a saloon to boot.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: During Season 4's third episode, Wyatt's cell and the BCR stage a coup against several Japanese officials that attend Childan's auction. They get to kill General Masuda, who very much deserved getting killed, but also take out two ministers that Childan reveals are supporters of the Crown Princess' motion to move the Japanese army out of the JPS, so the Resistance ends up doing more harm than good, along with losing some of their members in the coup.
  • Nightmare Sequence:
    • In season 2, Frank Fink dreams about visiting his sister and her children and joining them in a Judaic prayer before gas starts pouring down from the ceiling, killing them all.
    • In season 3, John Smith has a dream about spending the day fishing with his dead son Thomas, before Thomas vanishes and the lake turns out to be filled with dead, bloated corpses.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The "Japanese Crown Prince" is not referred to by name. Presuming nothing was changed about the Japanese Imperial succession, that would be Akihito (the Emperor Emeritus of Japan)... but that's never stated explicitly. His wife (presumably the Empress Emerita) is also never named; though given cultural differences between timelines (e.g. affecting marriage rules for the Imperial Household) it could be someone else. That said, the actress does resemble a younger version of the Empress even if she is never formally named.
  • Not So Different: Juliana accuses George Dixon of being just like the Nazis when he's about to use the fact of Thomas Smith being ill against John Smith, as this would not only result in John's career destruction but also Thomas's death by involuntary "euthanasia". George admits it, and says they have to be even worse than the Nazis if the Resistance wants a chance at victory.
  • Nuke 'em:
    • In "Sunrise", it is revealed that the Nazi's leveled Washington DC with an A-bomb during their invasion of the United States. "Fallout" further shows that John Smith and his wife where there to witness the explosion from a nearby town before the end of the war. The Nazis still have nuclear weapons at their disposal, which contribute to their ongoing cold war with the Japanese Empire.
    • One of the newsreels, from another alternate timeline (there are clearly a large number of them), shows this happening to San Francisco. It isn't clear whether this is a possible future for this world (as the characters think it might be) or an alternate past where the Cold War between the Germans and Japanese went hot.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging:
    • Juliana's mother tells her that she was afraid that her other daughter Trudy is dead because she had the same foreboding feeling that she had when her first husband died during the war, but is sure that Trudy's alright because the feeling went away the next morning. Juliana knows all too well that her sister is most likely dead by this point because of their involvement in the resistance.
    • After Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith is told that his only son has a degenerative muscle disease and that he should euthanize him, he's conflicted between his love for his son and what he feels is his "duty" to give him a painless death. While he's looking at family pictures of his now deceased brother (who had the same affliction), Smith's wife Helen says that she thinks it's a good thing to kill the infirm, ignorant of her child's condition.
    • In Season 4, John Smith travels to a universe where the Allies had won and his son is alive and well. He meets the alternate version of an old friend Daniel whose prime-timeline version had been left to die thanks to a Murder by Inaction on John's part. An understandably confused Alt-Danny's tries to console him when "John" suddenly starts apologising and tells him "...we're brothers right? You've got nothing to be sorry for!" Smith can barely function afterwards in Danny's presence when he fully recalls the monumental betrayal he had performed on his best friend in the prime-timeline.
  • Only One Me Allowed Right Now: One of the metaphysical laws of dimension-traveling between alternate universes is that a person cannot co-exist with another version of themselves in the same reality. Therefore, one can only travel to a universe where their counterpart is dead.
  • Pet the Dog: Chief Inspector Kido arranges for a "hostess" he has become friendly with to be set free, and gives her a bundle of cash to start a new life.
  • Plot Parallel: When Alt-Thomas leaves with the Marine recruiters over the objections of his parents, it parallels the scene when Thomas-Prime was taken away by the government medical personnel to be euthanized.
  • Police Brutality:
    • Frank is arrested and detained by the Kempeitai (Japanese Military Police) for his Jewish ancestry. Whilst in custody, he is stripped naked, brutally beaten and threatened with execution by firing squad or extradition to Nazi-controlled America.
    • It shouldn't be a surprise that the SS in the German-occupied portion of the United States also resort to torture tactics to force information out of their suspects. Obergruppenfuehrer John Smith actually orders one of his men to beat a captured member of the resistance to death even though he's unconscious and can't answer any questions, so his comrades will think he didn't give them anything after his body is found.
  • Police State: The JPS and GNR hold their respective nations on a tight leash, as the occupation is still fairly new and the Resistance is still active. Paramilitary police are often roving the streets and demanding to see people's papers.
    • In Season 4, Kido mentions the presence of the Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu or Tokko having a San Francisco branch.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Some of the more evident sci-fi elements from the original novel (The Nazis have drained much of the Mediterranean Sea and turned it into arable farmland. There's also mention of them launching space exploration and establishing colonies on Mars and Venus.) are completely omitted or cut off in the series. However, the drainage plan is later mentioned in season 2, indicating that it simply hasn't been implemented yet.
    • It is also left ambiguous as to how long flights take to travel. The novel mentions that Concorde flights are in commercial use, making flights from San Francisco to Berlin last about 2 hours. Given that these flights have not been successfully implemented in our timeline even over five decades later, it would be impractical to mention them in the series.
  • Prevent the War: Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire were the victors of World War II, but have been in an uneasy truce with each other ever since. The Nazis in particular want to take the Master Race idea to the next logical step and wipe out their last potential enemy to achieve total world domination. Since the aging Adolf Hitler is one of the few opposed to this, his death may spell more disaster for the world. Throughout the series, members of both the German and Japanese governments conspire with each other to prevent a devastating nuclear war.
  • The Purge: It is implied that after their occupation of the USA, the Nazis and Japanese purged all Christian or Jewish religious literature. This results in books such as the Bible being a rarity, with Juliana even remarking that she hasn't seen one since she was a small child. Not to mention that the Nazis purged black people and Jews in their domain, though the Japanese are more lenient (at least toward the former). Helen later learns another is being planned in the Pacific States after the American Reich decides to annex them when the Japanese withdraw, finding documents with plans for camps, gas chambers, and lists of the "undesirable" people that will be sent there. This includes not only black people or Jews but also anyone of mixed race, Roma and Native Americans. Presumably they were purged already in the American Reich.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: The last we see of Nicole, Himmler is sending her to a reeducation camp in Germany over her "perversions" (she's bisexual).

    Q-T 
  • Raster Vision: Appears on the TV sets (which aren't quite period-correct, see Schizo Tech, below).
  • Released to Elsewhere: In the Greater Nazi Reich, children are taught that black people who used to live in the former United States returned to Africa to work for the Reich. They were all sent to death camps, and the "work" in Africa enjoyed by the natives is simple slavery.
  • La Résistance:
    • The GNR and JPS are having a hard time dealing with anti-occupation fighters. The Neutral Zone also has anti-occupation resistance hideouts.
    • The Crown Prince mentioned that resistance forces in the Asia-Pacific occupied territories of the Japanese Empire are weakening Tokyo's grip on the Empire.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Resistance members on both sides of the occupied America are shown being quite willing to use brutal measures in their fight against the German or Japanese occupiers.
    • George Dixon was about to expose Thomas Smith's illness as a weapon against his father, John Smith, knowing it would result in Thomas's death by involuntary "euthanasia".
    • During the Japanese pullout from America, white vigilante groups and lynch mobs start forming and targeting any Japanese along with perceived collaborators they find. The African-American Black Communist Rebellion are determined to have none of this and try to curtail it, insisting that they receive trials.
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: In-universe example, where the alternate Earth's John Smith left the military after World War II ended and became a traveling insurance salesman.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Smith mentions a document on the interaction of parallel Earths written by someone who wasn't on the Nazi Poconos team, with the implication being that they took it from Hawthorne, but that they have no idea who wrote it; who did?
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The Season 3 finale features a montage of Nazi supporters taking to the streets of New York City with burning torches and fascist banners, destroying cars and assaulting random bystanders while chanting "Blood and soil!" This was pretty clearly inspired by the real life "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in 2017 (although the kind of thing the real Nazis also did).
  • Rousing Speech: General Onoda makes a surprisingly good one to his officers as it appears nuclear war with the Nazis is at hand, complete with his officer's sword.
    Onoda:It is now clear that the Nazi dream is a world in which we no longer exist. To them, like the Jews, and the Slavs, and the Gypsies, we are something foreign. Thus, the war machine of the Reich is poised to attack us. The men in this room may not live to see sunrise, but our grandchildren will survive! And, we must never forget, the Emperor is immortal! TENNO HEIKA... BANZAI!
  • Schizo Tech: While the majority of the population seems to be held back to an approximately early-1950s standard of living, the two ruling governments have made some technological advancements ahead of their time.
    • The level of weapons technology. While the American resistance still uses Tommy guns and Colt pistols, the Nazis have moved up to weapons which shouldn't have been developed for several years, with Wehrmacht troops armed with advanced MP5's, and Japanese troops with Howa Type 64's, despite neither of them being developed until 1964 in our world. The sniper rifle used to (possibly) kill the Crown Prince is a Soviet rifle that is about correct for the era, but shouldn't even exist in this universe.
    • Aside from weapons, Germany has made a number of additional technological advances ahead of their time, such as Concorde-like planes that can go from New York to San Francisco in two hours. They also occasionally use video conferencing. TV screens are CRTs, which are correct for the 1960s, but many use the 16:9 aspect ratio, which only took hold decades later. Japan, on the other hand, doesn't have any non-military technology ahead of their time, and members occasionally gripe about being behind the curve compared to Germany.
  • Secret Keeper: Hitler and the Nazis' upper echelons know of alternate timelines. Hitler is revealed to have a vast archive of films from alternate timelines.
  • Secret Police:
    • The SS's intelligence branch, the SD (Siecherheitsdienst) pops up in multiple episodes, especially in the Neutral Zone, where their agents murder and terrorize people with impunity.
    • Season 3 reveals that J. Edgar Hoover has remade the FBI into the ARBI, which adds yet another layer of secret-police oppression to the Reich's American territories.
    • The Nazi Gestapo (the Trope Namer) is naturally mentioned to still be around. Season 4 also introduces a female Gestapo agent, Martha Stroud-it's then referred to as the "Staatspolizei" (the second two words of its official title, Geheime Staatspolizei-Secret State Police), and she's assisted by male agents too.
  • Seers: Juliana becomes this through season 3, as she finds herself able to experience flashes of memories from her own alternate reality counterparts when she encounters things closely linked to those alternate Julianas. Looking for the first time at a photo of Tagomi's deceased son Noriyuke causes her to experience the memories of the other Juliana married to the still-living alternate Nori. And then viewing a High Castle film showing another counterpart of her being brought as a prisoner into a mine shaft and then shot dead by Joe Blake, pushes Juliana to crucial decisions concerning Joe, and also enables her to locate that mine where the Reich's dimensional travel experiment is located, and find allies who become vital to rebuilding the Resistance.
  • Seppuku: This is still a method of execution in Imperial Japan and its territories. An Imperial Guard officer is seen committing public seppuku after the crown prince's attempted assassination, and Kido is expected to do so if he can't find the would-be assassin.
  • Silent Credits :Used at the end of the series finale
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • In the book, Juliana is a judo instructor, while the series makes her a student of aikido. In the 1960s, judo was relatively well known as "the gentle way" in contrast to the more militant karate style. However, aikido is definitively linked to the Japanese pacifist movement and better fits the tenor of the depiction of the Japanese as quasi-benevolent invaders.
    • Minister Tagomi and Inspector Kido addressing General Onada with the honorific "kakka ", which roughly translates as "your honor" or "your excellency", would be realistic to the culture in Imperial Japan.
    • 1962 Berlin in the story's timeline has been rebuilt in the style of the monumental, triumphalist architectural designs of Hitler and Albert Speer. How they got the soil to support the weight of the enormous structures (Berlin is built on a swamp) is not explained.
    • The Jewish prayers are all accurate. A bar mitzvah recites the Barechu before beginning to read from the Torah. When Frank Fink is about to be executed, he repeatedly recites the Shema ("Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is one."), the most holy prayer in the Jewish faith and often used by religious Jews as their last words.
  • Sigil Spam:
    • If you think the copious amount of Swastikas you see at the Nazi Embassy in SF or on the East Coast is bad, just wait until you see Berlin. Regarding the historical Nazis' fondness of their symbol, this counts as Truth in Television though.
    • The Resistance in the JPS begins spamming their own sigil against the occupation, designed by Fink.
  • Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility: While the novel suffered from Dated History and the scenario as a whole (the Axis beating the Soviets, much less Germany and Japan both invading America by 1947) is ridiculously implausible, the series pushes things to a solid Alien Space Bats with the inclusion of "Travelers."
  • Smash Cut: Immediately after George Lincoln Rockwell is Out-Gambitted by Smith in front of Himmler and a public announcement made of his "retirement" as Reichsmarshall of North America, the scene jumps to Havana, Cuba, and Rockwell now living there in exile after what could be anywhere from a week to a month later.
  • Space Cold War:
    • Between Germany and the Japanese Empire in this alternate universe, as they are the two victorious superpowers of World War II. They are officially still allies but are wary of the other's intentions. It is predicted by high-ranking members of both governments that when the terminally ill Adolf Hitler dies, it will escalate into full-blown warfare.Throughout the first season, a faction within the German government led by Reinhard Heydrich tries to usurp power from Hitler and launch a nuclear war against Japan, but this plot is eliminated at the last second. This is even more central to the plot in season 2. Heussman, revealed to be behind the plot in the previous season, frames Japan for Hitler's death, bringing the two nations to the brink of (a pretty much one-sided in Germany's favor) nuclear war. Thanks to a bluff made possible by Tagomi's visit to our timeline and Juliana preventing John Smith from being arrested by the SS, it is averted at the last minute.
    • In Season 3, Himmler opts to play the trope to its fullest; instead of planning an invasion or a nuclear assault, he simply imposes a trade embargo and starves them of oil imports, causing riots in the Japanese Pacific States and implied to spread beyond. Except Tagomi convinces Smith to re-open the trade routes in an effort to slowly end the Space Cold War.
  • Standard '50s Father: Despite being the 1960s, John Smith fits this trope almost perfectly. In his first scene at home, he joins his family for an elaborate breakfast, firmly but lovingly chides his son for studying at the table, and gives a heartfelt speech about values and appropriate goals. This is especially jarring to the audience, since he's wearing his Nazi officer's uniform throughout the scene. Much of Smith's conflict will eventually revolve around his love for his family.
  • The Starscream: Reinhard Heydrich is plotting to assassinate Hitler so he can succeed him as Fuhrer and annihilate Japan with nuclear weapons. He specifically dismisses loyalty as an "overrated virtue" when called out on his lack of honor. However, Hitler was already aware of Heydrich's intentions and arranges for him to be assassinated first. In season 2, it transpires that Heydrich was merely an agent of the real Starscream, a Minister in Hitler's cabinet who actually managed to succeed him after a more successful assassination attempt through poisoning.
  • State Sec: Two of the most infamous Real Life examples of the last century feature heavily in the plot; Nazi Germany's SS and Imperial Japan's Kenpeitai.
  • Stepford Smiler: Many of the housewives among the Nazi elite in the Greater Nazi Reich are implied to be purposely projecting a positive image to the outside world but are in fact scared both of each other and of being seen as subversive in any way. John Smith's wife can barely contain her anguish at knowing that her son would be killed by the state if his disability was revealed, and Juliana meets another woman among the group who is scared that she'll be brushed aside by her husband if she can't bear him children.
  • Stock Episode Titles: "Revelations," "End of the World."
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: When the Nazis apprehend Hawthorne Abendsen, he threatens to shoot himself since he knows that they need him alive for their plans. However, John Smith is already holding his wife hostage, so he's ultimately forced to back down.
  • Suicide Attack: Frank and Sara attempt to bomb the Kempeitai headquarters, but are seen, and it becomes this for as it detonates with them still inside. It turns out that Frank survives however.
  • Super Breeding Program: The real Nazi Lebensborn breeding program is involved in the plot. Even in this reality, where the Nazi Reich has achieved its apotheosis, the program was scrapped and pushed under the rug. Joe Blake discovers that he is a product of the program and meets a number of others.
  • Talkative Loon: After his capture, the Man in the High Castle produces an endless stream of random gibberish while in his cell, causing the Nazis to wonder if he's actually speaking in code.
  • Terraform: In season 2 Reichsminister Heusmann shows Joe Blake plans for the creation of new land and energy by draining the Mediterranean, something carried over from the book (although there it was already implemented). This was based on the real "Atlantropa" plan by German scientists who favoured a "southern policy" of European settlement in Africa over the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe preferred by the Nazis. The younger generation of Nazi youth oppose this plan, as environmentalism is gaining traction in the Reich.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The Season 3 trailer showed scenes of Julianna unfolding a flag with the peace symbol in the colors of the Nazi flag. This never happens in the entire season.
  • Travelling at the Speed of Plot: The events in the series are mostly set in San Francisco (occupied by the Japanese), New York City (occupied by the Germans), Canon City (the neutral Rocky Mountains), and also Berlin starting from the end of season 1. Characters will often travel from one place to the other within the same episode, though it's not always clear how much time has elapsed in between. Season 2 suggests that the events of the previous season only took 2 weeks. Some of this is explained by high speed air travel, but at some points they'll just take a car drive across several states instead.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: In the Axis-dominated world, execution is already a disturbingly-common punishment for dissidents, so traitors to the Nazi or Japanese causes are given an outright Cruel and Unusual Death. For instance, after a mole within the Kempeitai is exposed by Chief Inspector Kido, the traitor is bayonetted to death by a dozen soldiers charging on him in turns.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: When Julianna is sedated by members of The Resistance, she experiences a flashback montage which includes attending her father's funeral and attempting suicide by standing in front of a bus.
  • Two Decades Behind: The fashions, music, and much of the technology seen in the alternate 1962 are much closer to those found in the late 40s and early 50s in our timeline. This is obviously due to the ruling Axis powers suppressing artistic and cultural innovations deemed "degenerate".

    U-Z 
  • Video Phone: Particularly in season 3, high-ranking characters frequently communicate with each other through black and white video phones. This is one of a few areas where Nazi Germany has surpassed the technology of the real world of this era.
  • The War Room: The Nazi leadership has a command bunker in Berlin to oversee their global strategic forces and nuclear arsenal in a room very reminiscent of the War Room from Dr. Strangelove.
  • Weapons Understudies: Soviet/Russian hardware is often used as the alternate-history Japanese standard issue. Regular Imperial Army and Kempeitai personnel drive UAZ jeeps, often with DShK heavy machine guns mounted. The Imperial Navy in Season 3 flies Kamov Ka-25 helicopters. The German panzers in Season 3 are Soviet T-54 main battle tanks. The Leopard I MBT would make more sense, but surplus T-54s are much easier to find than surplus Leos, so it’s excusable. In Season 4, we see British Centurions used by SS-Panzer units during the invasion of Denver.
  • We Have Reserves: When the Nazi German leadership is planning an imminent nuclear attack on the Japanese Empire, their analysts predict heavy loss of life in the American territories especially during the first stages of the war, in the order of tens of millions. Himmler dismisses these losses as acceptable since the Americans are a "late addition" to the expanded Nazi empire.
  • Wham Episode: The season 1 finale, "A Way Out", ends with Tagomi waking up in a world where the Allies won the war, the US still exists, and John F. Kennedy is president.
  • Wham Line:
    • The "Pilot" episode reveals Joe Blake as a deep-cover SS operative reporting directly to Obergruppenführer Smith.
    • In Season 2, Heydrich's identification of the mastermind of the conspiracy against Hitler.
    Heydrich: "Heil Heusmann!"
    • In Season 3, Resistance member (Reverand) Hagan mutters under torture:
      Frank Fink... is alive.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Juliana and Frank view a different film in Kindness which shows a mass execution, and among the executed is... Frank, by Joe.
    • In "Duck and Cover", Tagomi finds Juliana Crane is his daughter-in-law in an alternate timeline.
    • Juliana sees Trudy alive and well at the end of Season Two.
    • Season 3's "Baku" opens with a home movie of John and Thomas, until a store display of TV sets show Martin Luther King on TV. It's another of High Castle's films being watched by Smith.
    • In Season 4 "Hexagram 64", a grand Japanese funeral procession is seen interjected with Kido's flashbacks to him witnessing an assassination. The shot of the funeral then pans to the portrait of Tagomi, revealing who had in fact been assassinated.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Subverted in "Kasumi". Nicole takes Thelma to an underground lesbian bar in New York City where the clientele are all Lipstick Lesbians, fitting with the retro 1950s aesthetic of the series.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Multiple examples especially in season 2.
    • After Juliana spends all the Resistance's money to save Joe, a confirmed Nazi spy, Lem is standing right next to her when she reveals her betrayal. Many people would have just put a bullet in her and shoved her into the water.
    • Resistance soldier Gary decides to kill Juliana after she meets the Man In The High Castle, because she has seen his face and despite the Man telling him not to. Depending on exactly when the Man left them, he could just as easily have stabbed an unconscious Juliana to death in the boot, but he waits far too long, to the point that Juliana wakes up, escapes, and causes a Japanese guard post to get into a firefight with Gary, Lem and Karen that gets Karen killed.
    • Susan decides to kill Juliana for her defection to the Nazis. This time, an underling surprises Juliana with a choking wire, instead of just shooting her or stabbing her in the back from behind. Juliana escapes and kills both the underling and Susan.
    • Reinhard Heydrich wants John Smith on his side because he controls the American Reich. Heydrich gives Smith until he receives a phone call regarding the success of their assassination attempt on Hitler. Instead of making good on his promise, even after John refuses to join the coup, he waits long enough for John's aide to shoot a mook guard, letting John get the drop on Heydrich.
    • The second assassin sent by Himmler to kill Trade Minister Tagomi would've succeeded if he'd used a gun. Instead he inexplicably brought only a knife, and then tries to kill with his bare hands after getting disarmed. Armed with only a staff, the elderly Tagomi still managed to disarm the guy, fight him off, and then kill him. And Himmler even chose the guy because he was a crack shot.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In Season 3, the Japanese police beat up women in San Francisco protesting the fuel shortage. The officer specifically instructs them to only beat them as a "lighter hand" has been ordered-usually, they would be shot.
  • World Building: There are a lot of references made about the overall state of the hellish world that the Axis Powers created in their victory, for instance Nazi Germany taking over the European colonies in Africa and replacing them with even more brutal regimes resembling the Congo Free State.
  • Written by the Winners: This trope is in full effect here.
    • Several characters of the Greater Nazi Reich sometimes mention the "American genocide", referring to the mass murder of the Indians in their history. By accentuating these negative events, the victors portray the Americans they conquered as a savage people with a tendency to brutally kill off whoever gets in their way, making the victors look more sympathetic (or, alternatively, as proof that the Americans already had Nazi-like tendencies before the Axis invaded).
    • The Nazis also refer to their genocide against the Jews as their war against Semite terrorists. This chillingly shows that the winners of a war can portray the losers as terrible as they want them to be, distracting the people from their own wrongdoings (even in our world, they claimed an international Jewish conspiracy was afoot to wipe out all "Aryans", which some neo-Nazis still believe exists, justifying killing all Jews first as "self-defense").
    • The opening of Season 2 shows some Nazi students praising the fact that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned 600 and 300 slaves, respectively. It is fitting since in our timeline, these facts are glossed over or underappreciated. One student responds to this fact with a sarcastic "God Bless America", implying that these facts are also emphasized to paint the former US as a nation of hypocrites.
  • Yakuza: Given the Japanese control over the Western US, it's not surprising to learn the Yakuza are in control on the illegal side of things. Even the feared Japanese military police don't usually cross them, since they have connections in high places.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Downplayed. The shot of the Times Square in the first episode has some zeppelins visible in the sky and the establishing shots of New York contain them now and then. But as a whole the show prefers to use Concordes with their distinctive sonic booms to set the "this is an alternate universe" feeling.

 
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The American flag is lowered from Fort Montgomery and replaced with the Nazi banner after the American surrender to the Axis Powers in 1946.

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