Captain America [sic] is an obvious work of fiction. The Nazis never had day-glow, power-of-the-gods weaponry, nor did the US have super-human soldiers. However, there is a frightening whitewashing of history that occurs in this Hollywood super-hero flick. The United States involvement in WWII is one of the only times the US has been even nominally correct in its belated efforts to curb Nazi Imperialism. However, the history of WWII is much more complicated than America = good, Nazis = bad.
The film opens with Nazi officer Schmidt discovering an ancient artifact in Norway that is possessed of the power of the gods. Schmidt intends to use this to create incredible weaponry with which he might take over the world (classic). The film’s protagonist is a small-statured young man, Steve Rogers, who is desperate to join the army to fight the war in Europe. He attempts to sign up many times, but is declined due to his numerous health problems. Dr. Erskine, who defected from Germany because he did not want his discoveries used by the Nazi regime, eventually discovers him. Rogers is sent to train for a special unit and is eventually selected for a life-changing procedure because of his exceptional determination, kindness, courage, and brains. Rogers is made into a super-human by Erskine’s serum and a machine of Howard Stark’s invention (predecessor to fictional war-criminal and arms dealer Tony Stark). He is used by the U$ as a piece of propaganda, traveling the country promoting the sale of war bonds. It is not until he arrives in Europe to perform for the troops that he enters the fray. Rogers frees several captured soldiers from the grips of the evil and crazy Nazi officer Johann Schmidt. It is revealed that Schmidt was treated with an incomplete version of the same serum used on Rogers as he rips off a mask revealing a “red skull” beneath. Rogers saves Amerika from certain destruction by crashing a plane armed with weapons into the Arctic and sacrificing himself.
One of the most important players in the war were the Red Army of the Soviet Union. It is often argued that the Soviets, who lost many millions of people (estimated between 23.4 million and 26.6 million) to the Nazi invaders, were the real reason for the defeat of the Third Reich. However, the Soviets are conspicuously absent in this film about a hero of WWII. There is not a single mention of the eastern front, or those who fought there. The war is mis-characterized as an Amerikan adventure in Europe. There is no real understanding of the social forces that brought so much of the world into a bloody war. The film is a perfect example of how Amerikans routinely glorify themselves and distort history. Continue reading