Insane number of nazi references in movies

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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
If you happen to notice, vast number of films over the years had countless number of nazi references irrespective of genre. Comedy, horror, dramas etc. all of them have it. Is it because filmmakers by and large are influenced in someway by holocaust as part of learning about human condition ? or is it an easy reference to make so more number of audience can understand what a scene is about ?
I noticed this while watching a few good men and a random nazi reference is thrown in there.



If you want to divide the 20th century with some sort of historical before and after line, it's hard to think of a more clear one than the nazis specifically and WW II in general. If a plot writer wants something that makes someone evil in an instant, just by their identity, being a nazi will do that without much in the way of plot exposition. Nazis make the ideal boogyman, so proto-nazis, nazis during the reich and nazis hiding out, engaging in conspiracies, after 1945, are sort of like bank robber gangs in old westerns and you can make them evil without many objections or PC considerations.



It's kind of just lazy writing to be honest, but that's just my two pennies, party on.



minds his own damn business
It's also universal short-hand for certain specific evils, such as ethnic cleansing and military fascism, the latter being directly relevant to the core moral conflict in Few Good Men and Col. Jessup's tendencies, so, at least in that case, the reference isn't exactly random or arbitrary.
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Movie scripts need to be economical, time wise, so what's easier than making a character evil right out of the gate by having them be a nazi. What's curious about that is that 70-some years after the demise of the reich, well past the life span of any nazi that's not in assisted living, well past the era where Germany is contemplating some sort of conquest, we can still use those characters as a template for evil, at least evil of a European type. There's a whole world out there, however, where there have been murderous despots that could be grist for some other sort of movie evil, but nazis do seem to resonate the best, at least in the universe of Euro-American movies. I don't understand why Stalin hasn't ever caught on the same way.



Movie scripts need to be economical, time wise, so what's easier than making a character evil right out of the gate by having them be a nazi. What's curious about that is that 70-some years after the demise of the reich, well past the life span of any nazi that's not in assisted living, well past the era where Germany is contemplating some sort of conquest, we can still use those characters as a template for evil, at least evil of a European type. There's a whole world out there, however, where there have been murderous despots that could be grist for some other sort of movie evil, but nazis do seem to resonate the best, at least in the universe of Euro-American movies. I don't understand why Stalin hasn't ever caught on the same way.
It's because the Fourth Estate and academia are congenial to communism, whereas they somehow have decided that Nazism was more evil. The strange part is that few of them understand the differences and similarities, or are they aware of the tenets of each, including their outcomes to society.



Welcome to the human race...
Without getting into any explicitly political arguments, I think it's more to do with the fact that Hitler came first and immediately became such a distinct figurehead for the very concept of human evil that nobody could really displace him as such in the popular consciousness and instead invite comparisons against him. I suppose another key difference is that Stalin never started a world war or a similarly aggressive military campaign so there is less of a perception of him as an individual enemy that had to be fought like Hitler.
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I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.



Without getting into any explicitly political arguments, I think it's more to do with the fact that Hitler came first and immediately became such a distinct figurehead for the very concept of human evil that nobody could really displace him as such in the popular consciousness and instead invite comparisons against him. I suppose another key difference is that Stalin never started a world war or a similarly aggressive military campaign so there is less of a perception of him as an individual enemy that had to be fought like Hitler.
Well I'd put this forward:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Poland

Certainly nothing personal and I very much agree with your earlier points.



A system of cells interlinked
Without getting into any explicitly political arguments, I think it's more to do with the fact that Hitler came first and immediately became such a distinct figurehead for the very concept of human evil that nobody could really displace him as such in the popular consciousness and instead invite comparisons against him. I suppose another key difference is that Stalin never started a world war or a similarly aggressive military campaign so there is less of a perception of him as an individual enemy that had to be fought like Hitler.
I was going to mention something along these same lines. As a youth growing up in the 70s, The evils of communism weren't personified onto a figurehead anywhere near as much as the evils of the Nazis were via Hitler. It was all about the monolithic USSR, which was presented as a shadowy monolith of doom, one that was suspended above our very desks, under which we were asked to hide periodically. Honestly, the Ayatollah Khomeini was the other figurehead that was talked about at length back then, more so than Stalin.

That said, I agree with much of what Gulfport Doc says, as I also consider the atrocities committed by the communists to be just as horrific.
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Welcome to the human race...
Well I'd put this forward:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Poland

Certainly nothing personal and I very much agree with your earlier points.
Point taken, I did not know about this.



Registered User
If you happen to notice, vast number of films over the years had countless number of nazi references irrespective of genre. Comedy, horror, dramas etc. all of them have it. Is it because filmmakers by and large are influenced in someway by holocaust as part of learning about human condition ? or is it an easy reference to make so more number of audience can understand what a scene is about ?
I noticed this while watching a few good men and a random nazi reference is thrown in there.

Since WWII, it's been a cheap go-to as a reference point for evil. If you want to make sure the baddie is clearly seen as the baddie, the Nazi-fy him. Don't let it concern you that Nazi's had similar go-to devices, because you know that the hero you're writing is good and the villain you're writing is bad.



Despite the splash that the Devil made in The Exorcist in the 70's, people don't really believe in metaphysical evil anymore. If Oprah and consumerism fill the God-shaped hole in our lives, Nazis have filled the Devil-shaped hole. We need a reference point for evil, lest we become totally debilitated by the relativism implicit in the materialist worldview, and the Nazis are it, an icon, a reference point, a place to definitely draw the line.



Of course, it doesn't take long for images to wear into cliches. After WWII, Nazism was felt as a real threat. It only took a few decades, however, for Daleks on Dr. WHO to represent Nazism as goofy robotic trashcans and for Hogan's Heroes to depict them as baffoons. Nazis are EZ Mac evil.



Today, however, in our increasingly polarized society, Nazis are becoming quite scary again, because our bards want to raise the alarm about wolves among the sheep in the real world. When the world is scary and conflicted, we need a tangible Devil to fight, and so we've seen an uptick in Nazi references in media. Nazis are everywhere, or so we are told by moralizing pundits, and films are echoing this message.



Consider the original Star Wars trilogy. There were visual references to fascism and Nazism, but it was light. There was just enough there to establish that the Empire was indeed B-A-D bad. In the new Star Wars, however, we have been explicitly told by its new makers that the Empire is a White Supremacist organization (which makes absolutely no sense in a universe with endless species) and that the Force is Female (because that matters, I guess - because you have to smash the Patriarchy which is White Supremacist and therefore... ...A Witch!) and the visual references in the set design and clothing and dialogue lay it all on very thick now. When General Hux (Sic? I don't really even care) gives his rally speech in one of the new films, he might as well have been shouting in German.



minds his own damn business
Nazis are everywhere, or so we are told by moralizing pundits, and films are echoing this message.
Yes, pundits. As well as more objective facts and stats showing levels of organization and spread of racially-pure fascist ideology unseen since the Nazis. Somehow, I doubt it's all click-inspired hype from the JSM, as many of these groups would claim.


It is funny, though, how the recent alt-right/Proud Boog/Qanod folks have a more complicated appreciation of Axis fascism mixed with a healthy dollop of Putin-philia, so maybe it's no longer necessary to blame only one historical national evil over another. And, humorously, they're also inclined toward Christian Monarchism, so we can add a more canonical historical evil to the mix to boot.



minds his own damn business
Reminder to keep this centered around cinema. Thanks.
, but one last clarification: my links provide facts, making it far less editorial than what I was responding to.



Registered User
Yes, pundits. As well as more objective facts and stats showing levels of organization and spread of racially-pure fascist ideology unseen since the Nazis. Somehow, I doubt it's all click-inspired hype from the JSM, as many of these groups would claim.
Perceptions shape reality and vice versa. If all you talk about are Nazis, then they become a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of an uptick in such messaging and symbolism. In addition, if your criteria for identifying the Devil become more inclusive (e.g., voted Trump = Nazi), then you can multiply the Devil by gerrymandering the definition.

What matters is, just as early modern Europe had "witches on the brain" (as my old history prof explained), our current era is fixated with this particular Devil. We are in an apocalyptic sort of age. Politics is now polarized to the point where you can lose friends or get beat up for holding the "wrong" opinion on a question. We see each other, more and more, as "threats to society" rather then neighbors. Thus, fantasy images in film of conspiracies of literal Nazis give voice to the tensions we feel in our day-to-day lives, so much so, that you cannot resist entering into a filmic discussion and insisting that the Devil is really real.

Hail Hydra!



minds his own damn business
In addition, if your criteria for identifying the Devil become more inclusive (e.g., voted Trump = Nazi)
I'm simply going to isolate this one thing because I clearly did not refer to Trump voters as Nazis in my post, and none of my links do either. This is a good example, based on the posting history, for why I sometimes feel compelled to pre-empt Corax's dishonesty. So in this case, I feel a right of self-defense to call out this ad hominem lie.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
It's because the Fourth Estate and academia are congenial to communism, whereas they somehow have decided that Nazism was more evil. The strange part is that few of them understand the differences and similarities, or are they aware of the tenets of each, including their outcomes to society.
it think a far more simpler explanation is...vast majority of behind the screens film artists like directors, screenwriters(especially) and producers are jewish in hollywood and as marlon brando put it..."hollywood is run by jews" and to them hitler is way more evil than stalin....so they used hitler anywhere and everywhere they could and also hitler forced US to join the war because he was too strong for allied forces. So even non-jewish people in america know about hitler.



...Consider the original Star Wars trilogy. There were visual references to fascism and Nazism, but it was light. There was just enough there to establish that the Empire was indeed B-A-D bad...
Forget Star Wars if you want Nazis you have to watch Star Trek


Star Trek original series 'Patterns of Force'


Star Trek: Voyager 'The Killing Game'


Star Trek: Enterprise 'Storm Front'
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Registered User
I'm simply going to isolate this one thing because I clearly did not refer to Trump voters as Nazis in my post, and none of my links do either. This is a good example, based on the posting history, for why I sometimes feel compelled to pre-empt Corax's dishonesty. So in this case, I feel a right of self-defense to call out this ad hominem lie.
I wasn't talking about you personally, J. I am, rather, trying to talk about how today's perceptions are fueling filmic symbolic references and framing. I am not really interested in making this personal or interrogating the non-aesthetic question of what is "really" real about today's politics. I think we can safely bracket this question and still note that we live in a highly polarized age, filled with mutual distrust.