Nazisploitation

I was going to originally move on the Wolfenstein 3D but I really need cover an additional subject first so that the gaming change in direction makes sense. This subject is something called Nazisploitation.

Nazisploitation is a portmanteau of the words “Nazi” and “exploitation”. The word usually defines a subgenre of film that shows Nazis treating their captives (usually female) in a degrading sexual way in either concentration camps or Nazi brothels. This exploitation subgenre is part of a larger exploitation genre that includes Sexploitation, Blaxploitation and Mexploitation among others. While these all have an inherent slant, there is another side to Nazisploitation that I want to cover here. I will get to the sexual side later when I get to the Church RtCW level.

When we look at the Nazi regime we think of something both very bad and larger than life. These have been combined in popular myth to a point where these tall stories have begun to appear plausible and even truthful. To make this easier, here are some examples:

Nazis are bad Arrow1 There is absolutely nothing good about anyone in the German army
Nazis wanted a pure, fit race Arrow1 Nazis want to create a race of super humans
Nazis were good at science Arrow1 Nazis had scientific knowledge beyond what we have today, 70 years after the war
Nazis experimented on their captives in the concentration camps Arrow1 Nazis were using advanced biologic science to build super humans and zombie soldiers
Nazis had world-class rocketry Arrow1 Nazis had traveled to the moon and built flying saucers
Nazis wanted nuclear technology Arrow1 Nazis had nuclear technology or at least were very close to it
Some Nazi leaders had odd views on pseudo-science and horoscopes Arrow1 Nazis were driven by occult powers and had sold their souls to the Devil
Some Nazis escaped after the war Arrow1 Nazis are in hiding and plotting the fourth Reich

Most of those are laughable but it likely that none of them are new to you. Just to suggest that they were capable of such things makes them far smarter than they were! It is this idea of treating them unfairly in history, in turning them into something far worse than they ever were, as the second side of Nazisploitation. At this point, it may seem to you that this is making me seem like a Nazi sympathizer but that is because we are simply never allowed to say anything good about the Nazis and even saying they weren’t so bad in any aspect seems like we are giving them too much.

The beginnings of Nazisploitation

The idea of spreading false and generally bad information about your enemy has existed as long as enemies have existed. For example, the British spread rumors that Germans were baby killers during the First World War.

Captain America is an early example of what could be done. Captain America was intentionally created by injecting a serum into an otherwise frail Steven Rogers. As a Nazi bad guy killed the serum’s creator, Captain America was the lone superhuman to battle the Axis powers. Captain America was created as a war time fiction to boost the morale of the troops but ironically, that is exactly what Blazkowicz was fighting against.

 

Even in film land, before the Second World War was over, in 1943 (our favorite year!), the film Revenge of the Zombies showed that a Nazi scientist (Max Heinrich von Alltermann played by John Carradine) was busy creating zombies for the Third Reich.

Soon after the war ended, there were lots of things to pick through: the extent of the holocaust; the aircraft and rocket planes developed and, the V2 liquid fueled rocket technology. Both the East and the West wanted to take what technology they could but the question of what else might there had been couldn’t be avoided. The rocket scientist, Willy Ley added to speculation with his essay Pseudoscience in Naziland in 1947. Now the Nazis were heavily into Ariosophy, Vril Power, pendulum research, the hollow Earth and the World Ice doctrine.

After this, the extent that the Nazis were capable of snowballed with the Naziploitation films of the 1960 to 1970 and as new generations arrived, the culture fed on what was already out there to create newer Nazi atrocities, secret societies and occult science.

Interestingly, Silas Warner, used none of these tropes when he created Castle Wolfenstein. We can only speculate what he knew of them or what he thought of them. We know that he used a more traditional source for inspiration (The Guns of Navarone) and the games that he created tended to focus on realistic/scientific themes so it likely that none of this would have appealed to him. That wasn’t the case for the ID Software team.

More information

Check out the book Nazisploitation edited by Daniel H. Magilow, Elizabeth Bridges and Kristin T. Vander Lugt. It covers aspects of this and the sexual Nazisploitation as well.

 Coming Next

Next we really move onto IDs Wolfenstein 3D – promise!

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