February 8, 2015

Character Study: The Ultimate Evil - Nationalist Socialist Workers Party

The one inescapable analysis to the origins of Captain America and Wonder Woman is that they were both created at the same time for war propaganda. For every great good shining through in every righteous hero and heroine, there must also be the contrast of the worst evil humanity has ever witnessed. The Nationalist Socialist Workers Party, aka Nazis, earned their repudiation because of their extreme prejudice, as well as global domination.
Today, Nazis are chronicled on the history channel and portrayed as the ultimate villains in fiction films and literature. But as time changed and society still needed heroes, Captain America and Wonder Woman adapted to fight evil in all it's forms. Here, I'd like to take a look at what they were fighting before the concept of super-villains became the norm.
Captain America as seen on the cover of his own book is punching Adolf Hitler the leader of the Nazi regime. But I think it stood for more than just that. It was a high concept of literal symbolism. Since the everyday American citizen on the home front couldn't fight directly, it was up to the comic creators to come up with a cathartic way to live through Captain Americas heroism. American propaganda was turning to hope to keep the war going, even going on to push for more war bond purchasing.

In an odd twist on the story, Steve Rogers is actually the truest personification of what the Nazi's were trying to achieve. He is a blond- haired blue-eyed, physical human perfection. Despite Steve Rogers actually becoming what Hitler wanted in his Aryan master race, idealistically, they could not be further apart. The Nazis dominated every thought of every citizen of Germany and took steps to remove the German's personal liberty and free speech is only admissible under government approval (which means it's only good things about the government.) Captain America on the other hand strives to become the sentinel of liberty. He saw what bullies can do with power and intimidation. He stood up for those being oppressed by big government.

With Wonder Woman getting more and more deeply into exploring a Greek myths, it would be easy to forget that the first fights that Wonder Woman had was with joining her compatriots to vanquishing the Nazi threat. To her, they were what was stopping the harmonious existence between man's world and her utopian paradise. The Nazi's were devoid of any love for humanity in any other forms but their own. They were cruel to the environment and in their wake of war, they destroyed buildings, holy icons, as well as people who didn't fit their perfect mold. Wonder Woman saw what good can arise from the ashes of man and (depending on which origin story you follow) sacrificed her heritage to join with the outside man's world.
To Wonder Woman's female warrior Amazons, the Nazis were a juggernaut that threatened the eventual downfall of their utopia. They were the legion of boogeymen at the gates. They threatened the balance of peace. They also took misogyny to the extremes. Nazis had a place in their world order for women - and it wasn't going to involve the inferior sex.
Together, Captain America and Wonder Woman stood side-by-side to defeat the one true evil in the world - but once the war had subsided and the Nazis surrendered, did that mean they were vanquished forever? Or would there always exist in this world to rise again standing against the faces of personal liberty and true freedom?