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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 has aired three seasons on Amazon Prime, with a fourth currently in development as the last season.

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 Frink, 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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This page is for tropes associated primarily with the live action adaption (set in 1962) - tropes of the novel or common to both should go on the novel page. Beware spoilers!

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.
  • 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.
  • All for Nothing: In season 3, the Nazis complete a massive machine designed to send troops through to other worlds and conquer them. In the final scene of the season, the Man in the High Castle gloats to Smith that "whatever plans you have won't work" due to one very important thing: People can only cross over to another reality where their counterpart in that world is dead. Meaning unless the Reich plans to send only 12 year olds into battle, there's no way they can mount a massive invasion of other realities.
  • 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 also 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 was actually against 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.
    • 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.
  • 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" (German Swiss).
  • 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.
  • Angry White Man:
    • Childan faces discrimination from the Japanese colonists, despite his best efforts to assimilate to Japanese culture, which leads him to sell fake relics to his Japanese clients.
    • Frank is moved to exact revenge on the regime when his sister and her family are killed by the Kempetai.
    • Ed is somewhat neutral, since he values the lives of his friends or grandfather over fighting the Japanese. He doesn’t appreciate having to hide his homosexuality, but doesn’t take it personally either.
  • 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.
    • Chief Inspector Chido 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.
  • 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:
  • 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 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 Fuehrer 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, seceded to Japan by Mexico.
    • A neutral nation was created in Brazil called Amazonia, which covers most of the Amazon Rainforest.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • The Chosen One: Conversed; most of the older generation of Germans sees the children of the Lebensborn program as this.
  • 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, though it's unclear whether it's supposed to be an actual SVD or standing in for a fictional weapon. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 much of Europe, and nearly half of the USA and Canada. They have also colonized 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, like Australia, are said to be nazi vassal states with only nominal independence at best.
    • The Japanese Empire covers most of the Pacific save Australia, all of the US and Canada west of Nevada, and pretty much everything between Siberia and Pakistan, with the possible exception of Thailand, which was historically allied with Japan.
    • 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 superpower's 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.
  • 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.
  • Decadent Court: After they won the war, the Nazis have established a dog-eats-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 Fuehrer so he can start a nuclear war against their former Japanese allies.
  • 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.
    • 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?
  • 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Reprisals. Every Japanese soldier killed by Resistance is responded 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.
  • 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 her 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.
  • 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 could get him in trouble with the Nazi authorities.
  • 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.
  • 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 Frink 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 (Heydrich) for example has an extreme accent, Carsten Norgaard (Wegener) speaks fluently and almost flawlessly, and Wolf Muser (Hitler) is, well, a native speaker (just to name three).
  • 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 Frink 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.
  • 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.
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    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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Illegal Religion: Virtually all western religion has been banned by both the Greater Nazi Republic and the Japanese Pacific States. As with real life, the Nazis are largely secular and have replaced religion with worship of the state. Japanese citizens are seen practicing Shinto and Buddhist customs, but Christianity and various other religious texts are outlawed. Obviously, Judaism is aggressively stamped out in the GNR, and even JPS citizens must hide their ancestry or face complications. Even in the Neutral Zone, where there are no laws, religious texts must be hidden and Jews must conceal their identities.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Fuehrer, 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.
  • 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 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 anti-semitic 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.

    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 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.
  • 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.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: In the finale of season 3, Hawthorne Abendsen explains to John Smith that the Nazis' plans to invade other dimensions and all the effort they put into building an Interdimensional Travel Device will be for naught, since people can only travel to dimensions where their counterparts are dead. Moreover, given that the anomaly generates enormous levels of magnetic activity, the chances of them being able to send tanks, guns, and blades (typically made of iron and steel) and have them come out the other side in usable condition are unlikely.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 present Emperor of Japan)... but that's never stated explicitly. His wife (presumably the present Empress) 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 present 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.
  • 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.
  • Out of the Closet, Into the Fire: Homosexuality is completely outlawed in the Greater Nazi Reich and punishable by death. The relatively more humane Japanese occupiers in the Pacific States don't condone it officially, but don't care if it's carried out in private. Ed brings this up while traveling through the Neutral Zone and he runs into an openly gay man, since he's used to being more careful about such things.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 troops are often roving the streets and demanding to see people's papers.
  • 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 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.

    Q-T 
  • Raster Vision: Appears on the TV sets (which aren't quite period-correct, see Schizo Tech, below).
  • 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 is about to expose Thomas Smith's illness as a weapon against John Smith, his father when Joanna kills him, even knowing it would result in Thomas's death by involuntary "euthanasia" for instance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 1960's, 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 Frink 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 Frink.
  • 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.
  • 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 Kenpeitai 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Frink... is alive.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Juliana and Frank view a different film in Kindness which shows a mass execution, and among the executed is... Frank.
    • 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.
  • 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 Julianna after she meets the Man In The High Castle, because she has seen his face. Despite the Man telling him not to. Depending on exactly when the Man left them, he could just as easily have stabbed an unconscious Julianna to death in the boot, but he waits far too long, to the point that Julianna wakes up, escapes, and causes a Japanese guard post to get into a firefight with Gary, Lem & Karen that gets Karen killed.
    • Later on another resistance leader, Susan, decides to kill Julianna for her defection to the Nazi's. This time, an underling surprises Julianna with a choking wire, instead of just shooting her or stabbing her in the back from behind. Julianna escapes and kills both the underling & 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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