The German National Socialist Party, led by Adolf Hitler, ruled Germany between 1933 and 1945 and represented an extreme brand of right-wing fascism with heavy racial overtones. The Nazis are well-known for their anti-Semitic message, with which they turned the majority of the German populace against the Jewish people, before the systematic mass-murder of around six million European Jews in an event known across the world as the Holocaust. In addition, the Nazis targeted other groups they believed to be inferior. These groups were identified as the "Untermenschen", or "under-humans" (though more accurately translated as sub-humans). In addition to the genocide of the Jews, approximately five million so-called sub-humans were massacred as well, resulting in the deaths of over eleven million innocent people at the hands of the Nazis. The Nazis were notorious for the usage of 'Zyklon B' (translated to English as 'Cyclone B') to kill large numbers of prisoners at once.
On September 1, 1939, the Nazis ensured the start of a global conflict that became World War II by entering the neutral nation of Poland, which had been restored as part of the 1918 Treaty of Versailles. It was on September 3rd, 1939, that both Britain and France announced they were at war with Nazi Germany. France would later fall in 1940, and the 'Battle of Britain' would begin, with the Nazi Luftwaffe fighting against the Royal Air Force in Britain.
The fighting on the European front of World War II came to an end in May of 1945 following the suicide of Hitler and the surrender of the German military. Following Germany's defeat, the Nazi Party was deposed and many of its members, from rank-and-file soldiers to high-ranking officers and officials, were put on trial for war crimes.
Nazis in Video Games
Because of their prominent role in World War II and their historically reviled status, Nazis have been frequently depicted in video games. Most such appearances relate directly to World War II, but they are sometimes used as villains outside of the context of the war.
World War II
Games set during World War II almost universally depict Nazis as the antagonizing force. Such games include World War II shooters such as the Medal of Honor series and early Call of Duty titles. The depictions of the Nazis as the antagonists often notably lack the presence or mention of Hitler, though he does appear in some games.
Due to historical sensitivities and the common perception of the Nazis being the unequivocal villains of World War II, very few if any games exist that depict the war from the German perspective.
Outside of the context of World War II, Nazis are often depicted in villainous roles. These depictions are often fictional, and the usage of Nazis and/or Nazi symbolism in such titles is often left with them filling the role of the antagonists in a generic sense, with little to no context of historical events.