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Spoiler: The Winter Soldier is actually

Bucky Barnes

Warning: This individual is named in the answers below. For now, let us call him "the subject".

Assuming that the subject is simply a normal, super-power-less, human soldier, why would Captain America's enemies, Hydra, waste time converting him into the "Winter Soldier", especially as he is/was severely injured and not a natural supporter of their regime (hence having to brainwash him)?

Would it not have been easier to simply recruit from within their own ranks (those of Hydra) and find somebody much more willing and aligned with their cause?

The subject does not possess Cap's super power(s) and is brainwashed, so, presumedly, he can't remember anything that might be useful against Shield/America/Captain America?

So why bother with him???

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2  
The film isn't even out in the USA yet! I saw it in the UK last week so I don't mind, but I have edited your question title to remove a significant plot spoiler. –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 1 at 15:28
    
You should probably edit the tags on this, as it's a somewhat different situation as to how he becomes the Winter Soldier in the comics. This pertains to the Winter Soldier of the Cinematic Universe. –  Monty129 Apr 1 at 17:15
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Apologies about the spoiler, I'm a bit of a newbie here. I'm also in the UK myself, I haven't seen the movie yet, but the background story intrigued me. –  Big Rich Apr 1 at 17:31
    
@BigRich: No worries, welcome to the site! :-) –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 1 at 19:49

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If I was to think of reasons we can probably chalk this up to a number of reasons:

  1. The subject was in the Howling Commando's, he probably has a lot of experience then compared to the average Hydra grunt.
  2. Why waste perfectly good man power on experimenting when you can just use it on POWs?
  3. Having a war hero be turned into a champion of Hydra would be a huge blow to U.S morale after his identity is outed.
  4. The subject would be the perfect opponent for Captain America as he would know how Steve fights and the best way to fight him.
  5. He also could have a detrimental effect on Rogers morale, as seen in the movie.
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The initial experiments come before there is any link to Captain America. –  Dan Kelly Apr 2 at 9:54
    
They all seem like valid points, thanks for your answers ;-) –  Big Rich Apr 2 at 13:39
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@Dan Kelly But there was a long link with Steve Rogers. –  Ihor Sypko Apr 16 at 13:39

@Valten1992 has kinda nailed this, but just to clarify:

why would Captain America's enemies, Hydra, waste time converting him into the "Winter Soldier", especially as he is/was severely injured

In Captain America: The First Avenger, when Cap rescues

Bucky

and the other POWs from the camp behind enemy lines, he’s already being experimented on by Arnim Zola, prior to

falling from the speeding train on which they capture Zola.

So, when they fully convert him into the Winter Soldier, he’s already been the subject of previous experiments by a scientist who’s now in the custody of the Allies. He may, in the absence of Zola, have been their only viable subject.

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Good catch, i forgot a lot of details from the first movie. –  Valten1992 Apr 1 at 21:46

@paul-d-waite Has it right.

The initial experimentation comes from before The Subject has any obvious links to Captain America - the rescue of his platoon is the first action that Cap undertakes after being used purely as a Propaganda tool.

There's another wrinkle in the development in that the further development of the soldier (arm, brainwashing, etc) have to take place after Zola has been captured on the train

Yet in flashback we see Zola appears to be present during these developments - Once Zola was already in SHIELD, under project paperclip

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Ah, I forgot about the flashbacks. You think they’re flashing back to The Subject’s time in the POW camp, before Cap’s rescue? –  Paul D. Waite Apr 2 at 13:13
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Some of them are - but there are a couple that seemed to relate to what happens to him later... and that would have implications as to exactly who does it to him. I'll need to pay it more attention next time I see it! –  Dan Kelly Apr 2 at 15:17
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Perhaps Zola wasn't under constant surveillance, he did after all create a massive "data-center" of his own "mind"... He would have needed some freedom to be able to do that. –  Mooz Apr 7 at 21:16
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@BorhanMooz Zola wasn't taking advantage of available freedom; he was operating under the direction of Hydra agents in SHEILD.Only in New Jersey's Pine Barrens do such conspiratorial mysteries remain hidden. –  Ihor Sypko Apr 16 at 13:47

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