The parallels seem pretty obvious, especially when you see Neil Patrick Harris' costume near the end of the film:

enter image description here

Has there ever been any official word? And is there more that I've missed?

I'd just like to point out that I'm specifically asking about the movie and not the book. Also, I found this on the film's wiki page:

The film included visual allusions to propaganda films such as Why We Fight, Triumph of the Will and wartime newsreels. The symbols, and certain clothing styles, of the Federation are modeled on those of the Nazis (e.g., windbreaker, suits, cap, etc.; moreover, the military intelligence officers' uniforms bear a striking similarity to those of the Allgemeine-SS). The satire was embedded in action sequences with special effects.

But costume modeling aside, is there any word on the official Starship Troopers movie timeline on the outcome of World War 2?


5 Answers 5


Well. I only saw the first movie, so I don't know what might have transpired in later straight-to-video sequels.

At the beginning of the first movie, in the class, there is a lecture taking place:

Rasczak: I wonder what the city fathers of Hiroshima would say about that.
Carmen: They probably wouldn't say anything.
Hiroshima was destroyed.
Rasczak: Correct.
Naked force has resolved more issues... throughout history than any other factor.

Presumably this is referring to Hiroshima being destroyed by an atomic weapon dropped by the United States. It is hard to imagine the US dropping this bomb on Japan while allowing the Germans to achieve victory.

That's just my two cents.

  • 4
    But if this is an alternate future, maybe the US dropped the bomb on Hiroshima just as the Germans invaded America and/or dropped their own suprise nuke attack! Or maybe Japan was part of the allies! Or maybe -- in true The Man in the High Castle fashion -- after defeating the US, the Germans turned against the Japanese.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 18:26
  • 16
    That actually implies a pretty serious historical divergence. In our timeline Hiroshima was not destroyed. It was devastated pretty badly by the atomic bomb, but there were plenty of survivors who continued to live there, and today the city still exists and even thrives. Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 20:12
  • 4
    It's pretty easy to imagine an alternative history where the US did not involve itself in Europe, but still fought the Japanese. It's not like Hitler was going to cross the Atlantic.
    – QuestionC
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 20:14
  • 3
    Hitler was indeed planning to cross the Atlantic. He already had strong, if passive, allies in South America and there were numerous weapons in development with the goal of reaching and attacking the United States.
    – BBlake
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 20:56
  • 2
    Your last statement ignores the fact that the Nazis were also attempting to develop a nuclear weapon. The quote says nothing about who destroyed Hiroshima, only that is was destroyed. I assume that even if the Nazis had won, their allies would not remain allies forever.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 1:14

The short answer is no, it's not a future of an alternate history. The film is a deliberate satirization of the novel's fascist themes, and a lot of that satire takes the form of Nazi-associated material.

In the director's commentary on the film, he is asked directly if his Nazi symbolism was deliberate, specifically referring to the swastika-shaped government building. His reply was "of course it is deliberate."

IMDB elaborates further:

While the original novel has been accused of promoting militarism, fascism and military rule, the film satirizes these concepts by featuring news reports that are intensely fascist, xenophobic and propagandistic. Verhoeven stated in 1997 that the first scene of the film (a conscription advert for the mobile infantry) was adapted shot-for-shot from a scene from Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" (an outdoor rally for the Reichsarbeitsdienst). Other references to Nazism in the movie include the Gestapo-like uniforms of commanding officers, Albert Speer-style architecture and the propagandistic dialogue. (Violence is the supreme authority!)

Obviously the novel's themes are up for debate. My opinion is that the novel itself was critical of the militaristic state while (genuinely) glorifying the working members of the military. But the movie's departure from the novel was not an accident, nor was it the result of poor film-making (also up for debate, I suppose), but rather a deliberate commentary on its own source material.

So you could love the film for its explosions and co-ed shower scenes. Or you could hate it because it wasn't a "correct" retelling of the original story. Or you might again love it because it so accurately plucks out the more subtle elements of Heinlein's novel.

  • 8
    "the novel's facist[sic] themes" - do people in this discussion even understand what fascism is? It is a form of authoritarian government completely controlled by a single ideological group, which in turn is controlled by an individual and exercises total control over all persons. It is a martial government. The book portrays nothing of the sort. Elected officials are forced to resign; The government does not force service and has no more right over individuals than you see in any modern democracy. There is no single individual controlling both civil and military authorities.
    – AgapwIesu
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 12:22
  • 9
    The government and most characters in the book hate war and see it as a necessary evil, but consider it an honor to take part in it, to defend their loved ones from an aggressor's destructive attacks, a distinction you really need to understand. And there are indeed ample scenes that show dissent, very vocal dissent - a most NON-fascist feature, since the government takes no action whatsoever against such dissent. One of the most vocal is the hero's father, who is also a highly successful businessman with large government contracts - a most unlikely scene for fascism you will not find.
    – AgapwIesu
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 14:34
  • 5
    you miss major points. At the time in the book when he is highly successful, he is vocal against the government and military service - that would not happen in a fascist government. And when he "repents" it is not against independent business, it is against the self-centeredness(sp?) and blindness of those who, like himself, think the military is unnecessary and evil. He sees that he has so far ignored his obligation to defend his loved ones from those who are intent on their destruction, a lesson that comes home to roost when his wife is killed in an attack by the bugs.
    – AgapwIesu
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 15:00
  • 3
    I reject any claims that the novel represents a fascist society. I wrote at length about it on Slashdot and will simply post a link here: entertainment.slashdot.org/…
    – steveha
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 6:26
  • 2
    Part of the problem here is that many of the film's fans (of the surface kind, Heinlein fans, military fans, etc.) have such a strong fascistic seam in themselves that they cannot recognize the parody - it would strike too close to their ego. Instead they "other" the criticism; either say that it misses the mark of Heinlein's material, or they unwittingly defend the core tenets of nationalism behind fascist ideology. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 13:39

Neumeier explains it in 'The story of Film: An oddyssey' Part 14: (38minutes 39 seconds in)

The idea came from Veerhoven speculating about making a film about youths in pre-WWII Germany signing up for military service and not realizing they are the bad guys...


Nope, nothing to do with the Nazi party. The film is a satire. It's taking the piss out of fascism. To do that it's using the common look and feel of the Hugo boss SS outfits so that everybody gets it. "Get it" In the quoted scene "Richek?" refers to the Origins of the Federation as the "Founding Fathers" an american reference.

So yes the Federation is supposed to look like Nazis, but they're not actually Nazis though.


Robert Heinlein, who wrote Starship Troopers and a number of other classic sci-fi, was in his life, both a support of Communism and a supporter of Capitalism. Starship Troopers, the novel, contains elements of both economic systems in a more realistic way than most have portrayed either on their own. He understood the value in Democracy (not what you might think of but rather authentic Democracy) and that this Democracy requires military power to protect it, both from within and without, and this element likely appears as Fascism to some, and it could be. You could have Fascist Democracy, but first you would need to have a Democracy and move beyond Capitalism. I recommend his other novels most especially Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

  • 1
    very few people would actually understand this correct answer :)
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 1:04

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