How to Create a German Super

Part 2: Germany from 1960 to the present

by Michael Brinkhues (std6230@et.FH-Osnabrueck.DE)

1. Politics

In the late 1950's everything was nice and quite in Germany. Some big Nazis got hanged and the rest got their Persil-Schein[1] (an "I was no Nazi / I am no longer a Nazi but a good demokrat now" document). The old judges and professors where still active, the old generals still in the Bundeswehr and everybody ignored what happened between 1933 and 1945. Then came an election that resulted in the two major German parties (The SPD and the CDU (ex. Zentrum)) forming a great coalation, leaving Germany with no in-parliament opposition to speak of. At the same time the first pictures of Vietnam and the deeds committed there made the German news[2] and agitation of east-Germany influenzed sozialistic and communistic groups where at an all time high[3].

Out of this sprung the extra-parliamentarien opposition (APO - Außerparlamentarische Opposition). At first mostly carried by politicans it soon swapped into the studens, where many remembered the last time Germany had a great coalition[4] and started to protest against it, as well as against the fact that most Nazi-professors where still active ("Unter den Talaren der Muff von tausend Jahren" - "Under the professors tabart still the same as in the 1000 year reich") The state over-reacted with violence against demonstrations, the studens answered and it escalated. The rather right-wing German newspaper "Bild" (definitly yellow press, most read newspaper in Germany, some claim that most editors / reporters formerly worked for the Nazi's "Voelkischer Beobachter") did it's fair share in fueling the fire. The result was the dead of a peaceful demonstrator, the badly injuries of a second (Rudi Dutschke) and an escalation that ended in the forming of the Red Army Fraction (RAF - Rote Armee Fraction), a marxist-orientated terrorist organisation as well as in some improvements in universities and schools like a state-stipendia (BAFOG) for students form low-income families.

At the same time Germany faced the sexual revolution. With a far less powerful church and a far less powerful state / censorship, this resulted in a wave of XX-grade movies (although a normal US-made movie of today probably shows more sexual scenes than this 1960 films), a lot of children and contraceptions becoming the most often taken medication in Germany.

The seventies and early eighties where a much quiter time, resulting in further liberation of German laws and civil moral. In the late 70's nude sunbathers in Munics parcs where hunted by the police, in the 80's they are left alone. German's army became more liberal, finaly trying to make good of the "citizen in uniform" idea of conscripts and getting rid of the last 3. Reich-trained officers. At the same time the process of "rejectioning of military service" (Kriegsdienstverweigerung) which allowed every German male to choose civil service instead of military one was changed form a MacCarth / Freisler style hearing to a written resume, allowing far more people to reject armed service[5].

Terrorism became a major problem in the eyes of the German public (again mostly due to the "Bild" since the RAF only attacked politicans / industrials and did their best not to harm ordinary people). The first generation (Baader-Meinhoff) was captured and commited suicide after a failed attempt to liberate them through taking hostage the crew of Lufthansa Boing "Landshut" in Mogadishu[6], the second either killed of escaped to the DDR. Later generations resumed a low-level terrorism.

The mid-to-late 80's saw the rise of conservatism under Chanclor Kohl (Cabbage), resulting in the pampering of the industrie at the expense of the masses, the re-union of Germany and the rise of German military adventurism like Somalia and former Yugoslavia as well as a severe crisis in German industry & rising numbers of enemployed, mostly due to a government that doesn't care for the people but simply for their own power[7].

East Germany (The DDR) was unaffected by most of this until the late 1980's. It was a strictly controlled police state with a high amount of indoctrination. Combined with a state controlled (instead of state owned like in France or Britain) industrie which never managed to supplie enough consumer goods, this resulted into a rather drab society always on the look for a way into the "golden west". And since East Germany never was accepted by West Germany, all you had to do was cross the border.

1.1 Language & Culture

German language took a turn to the worth with more and more anglic words creeping in, at least in West-Germany. East-Germany keept it's language at a 1930's level, adding a bit of sozialist retorics ("Verdienter Wein des Volkes", "Sozialistische Bruderstaaten" - "Esteemed Wine of the people", "Sozialistic Brother nations" etc.).

Names also became more "American" as did ajectivs like Super and Hyper. The younger generations also became more and more "americanised", reading "Mikey Mouse" and Tom Clancy instead of Karl May's "Winnetou". Jeans and, ironically, military winter jackets (Parka) became the standart clichee clothing of the student. Long hair, unkempt beards and self knit sweaters a common dress code for progressive teachers.

Violence against people, formerly known only in a political contest (Kommi "Rotfront" against Nazi "SA") became more and more common, resulting in calls for stricter laws against "homicide"[8].

2. German Supers Good & Bad

The "good" supers will be the same as those of Part 1. But most will work for the Border Guards or the police. This will be due to the fact that the German Bundeswehr is not allowed to operate against internal threats like crimes (the troops helping out during the flood in 1997 did so because nobody sued against it, so no judge ordered them to stop). Since German police & border guard don't use miltary titles, the will be "Wachtmeister", "Kommisar" or similar police titles.

The draft won't affect supers any more than commoners since by law everyone is treated equal[9]. East Germany will be different, using the Russian modell of "state owned" supers with an added spice of psionic "inofficial employees" (IM - Inofficielle Mitarbeiter, a stool pigeon. Post 1989 a social stigma like having been in the NSDAP during 33-45 and handled with a Persil-Schein much the same).

Female supers in state service will be quite rare until the early 80's since German laws & public opion was against putting females in dangerous positions. Even when they join, the first will be most likely given desk-jobs. Around the mid 80's that changed. Quite a few female beat cops appeared and while they are still fewer than their male partners, a female cop in riot gear isn't too uncommon a sight. Even the para-military BGS has females in it's rangs nowadays (although none passed the physical! tests to join the GSG 9 so far, even so they excelled in the psychological ones) In the early 90's the armee might get it's first supers in some special forces type unit. This will be a very dangerous troop since the Bundeswehr believes in training every soldier as an infantryman so expect auto-rifles and tactic skills. As an alternativ, there might be a secret German military super team. This works because most Germans don't consider the Bundeswehr worth a dime an so it doesn't get much interest in the media.

The Vigilante will come "in vogue" in the late 60's / early 70's. Most of the younger people where raised with Superman comics and mis-trusting the state became more and more common (although it would take until mit 80's to even come near US-Levels) so those persons will be more accepted by the public (and still put to trial by the police) Depending on political alliance they'll be either seen as criminals (if they are left wing) or heros (if they are mainstream) again thanks to our most esteemed "Blood" er "Bild" Starting with the early 1990's super vigilantees will become quite common. Every sozial fringe group will try to recruit a few, some to protect their own (most common for German minorities), some to attack the police (the "autonomous" groups of violence junkies), some to attack everybody the don't like (Super-Skin, the fashist super idiot and other neo-nazis come to mind). Most of the early SV's will be moderate to left wing since the more "patriotic" ones will join the police.

Supercrooks will turn more and more to violence instead of subtility. Starting with 1989 automatic weapons get very cheap. Criminal rackets will try to hire supers. Some will work as bodyguards of German high-profile Pimps (persons controlling prostitutes), others will work for the organised crime cartells (russian ex-military supers come to mind).

Super-terrorism will re-appear in the mid-1960's. It will be focused on politicans and industrialists with murder or hostage-keeping as a target. The super-terrorists will make use of disguises and stealth. Flashy costumes will be rare, they never learned the importance of a good press[10] as well as featuring themselfs as "the peoples terrorists". A PLO-style outfit might be ok (most of the 2. generation trained there).

In the late 1980's right-wing ST's will appear. They might be to dense to wear a costume but the successful ones will feature costumes that are big on neo-nazi symbols like SA / SS or Wehrmacht uniforms and neo-Nordic stuff.

A totaly new type might appear together with the German eco movement (The Green Alternative Party) - the eco-super. This one will dedicate himself to fight oil spills, stopp whaling and seal-killing (all in a non-violent way, he/she's most likely a pacifist) and preventing other environmentalist hazards. More radical ones might topple police watercannons at anti-atomic energie demonstrations and flighing supers might be used at large demonstration to carry banners while those who are heavy / streching mit be good at a sit-in.

Finaly a lot of supers will be simply using their powers to earn a living. Mostly employed by larger firms but some as owner and single asset of the firm. Those with earth-moving & stone shaping or tunnelling skills will be in great demand for construction work. After all super vigillantes are Verboten and not everybody wants to work for the state.

Supers with a common sense might appear in public campaings against drugs & alcohol or, if they have the looks, for safer sex (Flaming Janes would be "in"). They also might apear in the European "Playboy" and "Playgirl" or answer questions in TV-shows and printed magazines aimed at teenagers.

3. Names, Names, Names

The supers of this era, with the exception of state-supers, will surely adopt names. Names will often be prefaced by "Super" and, specially for heros with 1960's ideal, not! followed by a sexual description (Superman would be Superperson for example).

Some supers would adopt revolutionary names like CheGuevara, HoTshiMin etc, while other will use names from obscure novels (Hagbard was the name de guerre of the German computer criminal who broke into NASA) or comics. The names from Part 1 might come back in the late 80's with faschism on the rise again.

Name Description and explanation
Häger der Schreckliche Either a rather fat super or one who can increase his density (Haegar the Horribel; Haeger is a fat comic Viking-chief).
Die Fledermaus The Bat, a flighing super with sonar powers.
Ninja Normaly preceeded by a color (Der Rote, Der Grüne etc.: The Red Ninja, the Green Ninja...) and a fitting costume.
Ritter Middle ages are in. So Knight (normaly with a color or a metal preface might be nice. Like Der eiserne Ritter (the Iron Knight) or Der rostige Ritter (The rusted knight)
Names from "The Lord of the Rings / Hobbit" For reasons totally strange to me, this novels are well liked by some people. :-))
Der Rächer The Avenger (also Der rote Rächer, der fliegende Rächer; the red avenger, the flying avenger)
Captain Chaos Hauptmann would be out. Use US-ranks instead
The ... Ranger Again, most would rather use Ranger than Jaeger in the 60's
Der Maulwurf The Mole, for a super with tunneling powers
Die Katze The cat, a super (spezially a female) with jump / climb. Also: Der Jaguar (The Jaguar) Tiger (Tiger), Leopard, Gepard (Cheetah) and all other kitties.
Steppenwolf No, not a neo-nazi. Steppenwolf is a German rock band with a middle-to left ground singer (Peter Maffai). Just a super who likes good musik.
Gay defender Not every super must be hetero. Germany has quite a scene (a female would be lesbian defendres).
Haschmann (Haschfrau) Hashman or Hashwoman (Some drugs are easy to aquire in europe and police ignors personal consume of Marijuana and Hashish this days. Hey, in the Netherlands Hashish and Marijuana are sold legaly and the border is opened). Still, imagine a "high" super...
Klapperschlange The old Carpenter film is cult (Rattlesnake). All other snakes might be it too.
Der Bergmann The miner. A super with earth-powers.
SuperSkin For a skinhead turned super. He is dense. Really dense.
Die Musketiere The Musketeers (a group of 3-4 supers). They might even carry sabers but they might not know how to use them since fencing is uncommon in Germany except in certain right-wing student organisations.
Der/Die fliegende [Stadt] The flying [name of city], like the Flying Colonian for a flying super from Cologne.

A lot of the names might be jokes, based on German televison spots (once had an aquatic super named "Kaptain Iglo" after a television sailor selling pressed fish-sticks and could barely prevent one with water powers to name herself "Clementine" like in a soap-advertisement) Supers after the early/mid 80th might start using american names.

Supers just using their powers for legal work (or those moonlighting as vigilantees) will use fance promotion names (Wenn es schnell geht soll ruf Tunnel-Franz - "If it must be done quickly call tunel Franz" for a tunneling super names Franz).

Avoid "Teutonic" names until late 1980, specially when creating the "Peter Parker"(TM) type hero.

Oh, the term Super Heroes might not be used that much. Heroes are out since 1945 (had more than enough for 1000 years) Besides it should be HeroInes (plural studentis, our equal rights movement is a bit too active) for Heros and Heroines. (SuperheldInnen instead of Superhelden und Heldinnen).

Or "besonders begabte Personen" - "persons with spezial abilities".

4. Costumes

Costumes will be common for the vigilantes, starting with elastic sports cloth (every German has some) and face-maskes in US-Style or maybe Nordic / Niebelunges Style costumes complete with helmet & horns. Later on some will develop their own, German style. The more pragmatic will dress down in drap coveralls and solid boots (maybe even used Bundeswehr gear[11]), some will take to leather & spikes (also robust and easily aviable) and some will take to elaborate, Middle-Ages influenced costumes. In the early 90'th gothic (Vampire / Undead) style costumes might become "tres chic". Since sexuality is far more lax in Germany form-fitting spandex might be worn without truncs over tights and some might run around in a Babewatch outfit (even males).

On the other hand to dress down your sex even to the point of unisex (you'll have to see if it has a beard to tell man from women) is quite common in some German circles so a rather baggie "no features" costume might appear.

A more academic super (a gadgeteer) might wear coveralls (blue with reinforced seams, often sewn together with a red thread, looks funny) or a white lab coat. Still gadgeteers will be rare since it is a bit difficult to test the stuff without being seen. After all we are 80 Million people living in a country that was considered too small for 60 million some decades ago, forcing us to expand east. (Bad joke, I know).

Vampire-style outfits become in at some time (Black flowing cloth & cape) as will uniforms influenced by comic heros & television series. One could well imagine a super running around in surfer gear :-)

Most costumed supers will wear a face mask (no hood, looks to much KKK and we definitely must avoid any idea on racism (another bad joke, I know)) since they are on a wanted list[12] by the state. At the same time "civil" supers won't neither would they wear a "nome de guerre", just a fancy name for promotion and a visible but not too-fancy costume (As Flaming Jane says "No need to embarras the customer").

Police supers will apear in a full-head woolen mask (Sturmhaube) covering the head except lips and eyes to protect their families (much like SWAT-Teams) from retaliation.

The more militant supers will employ weapons, even military ones (mostly russian, they are cheap & easy to get) but relatively few armor (It's rather difficult to get and quite costly). Remeber that there is a good chance a male super knows how to use! the gun. Another tendency will be the super group. This might become quite an eleborate thing with formal structure and all[13]. Some, specially ecological supers and those not officially engaged in vigilantism, might even get money from the state and access to public meeting space.[14]

[Back to Part 2]


Notes:

  1. Persil is the brand name of a well known German laundry cleaner. Slogan was "It's not only white, it's Persil white".

  2. German's two state-sponsored (but not state controlled) networks were rather serious at that time so the Vietnam-pictures, even the cutted version, came as a shock, specially to the post-war generation that reached ages 18-20 at that time.

  3. At that time (around 1965) the two German nations where about equal in public wealth, with the German democratic republic (DDR) having a far more liberal educational system which allowed even working class people to study by covering their cost of living while the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD) prohibited most working class people to do so simply by not paying something like it.

  4. NSDAP, Centrum and other mid-to right wing parties in 1933/34, resulting in the "Ermaechtigungsgesetz" which gave Hitler near-dictatorial powers and enabled him to make the 3. Reich.

  5. Resulting in a better armee because those who couldn't / didn't want to join it didn't have to, so the conscripts who joined the troop where those who at least accepted the draft as something you have to do, resulting in a better moral. Together with a new generation of officers & NCO's training as well as motivation got better. And social services benefitted too with a lot of people bolstering the rangs without high wages to pay.

  6. That raid made the GSG9 (Grenzschutzgruppe 9 - Border security group 9) famous. They are a federal anti-terror unit, part of our border guards (a para-military unit under federal controll while our police is controlled by the states. The rest of the Bundesgrenzschutz (BGS) - Federal border patrol is better known for over-reacting at demonstrations, beating up peaceful demonstrators and beeing incapabel of preventing the aggressiv ones from trashing a city like Hannover) At the same time large groups of dedicated people entered civil service, improving the care for older people, disabled and performing other, much needed work.

  7. If you manage to remain in the parliament for 5 years (one re-election) you'll get a very high (4000DM+) state-pension. Furthermore you are well paid, even more if you hold an office.
    As an example of what some people would do take the "Scandal of the Cross". Since the late 18th century Germany has a strict division of state and religion. We also have a large group of muslims in some of our industrial regions, mostly persons invited to work in Germany in the 1950's and 60's. One of this persons sued against the cross beeing displayed in his classroom and won at a relatively high court. The result was rejected by the other party and finaly ended at the German supreme court (Bundesgerichtshof) which agreed with the original verdict and ordered all crosses removed from state-owned, public buildings. Bavaria refused to follow this. Instead of calling the state to order (and maybe loosing the few seats that keep him in power) our most esteem Fuhrer... er... Chancellor ignored the matter, allowing a state to break!! federal law (In Germany federal law always is superior to state law).

  8. Some people even wanted to re-instade the death penalty. But when our grandfathers wrote up our constitution (Grundgesetz) they made sure that as long as the BRD exists, nobody can do so by writing it's prohibition into the un-changebal pretext of it.

  9. Getting the draft into the law required quite a deal in 1954/55. It is unlikely that the SPD would have accepted special laws for supers except maybe forbidding the state to draft them. At the same time secrecy of personal data always weighted more than the states interest in West Germany, so supers won't be forced to register either.

  10. One of their first targets was the "Bild" press center. They didn't succeed but the two main lesson for every terrorist are:
    • Never attack the press.
    • Make your attack at least two hours before they start the machines / broadcast the major news.

  11. About 1 in 3 German males has a complete set of boots & uniforms (sadly no gun) in his cellar.

  12. "Bildung illegaler Banden" (Founding of illegal gangs) for vigilante groups and "Amtsanmassung" (illegal claiming of executive powers) for every vigilante come to mind as well as "Unerlaubter Waffenbesitz" (Unallowed possesion of arms) for armed supers and "Koerperverletzung" (injuring persons) for supers who didn't inform a person they attack that they posses spezial powers (A Karate-fighter is forced to warn a would-be attacker about his forces in Germany).
    A flight-capable super might be arrested for "Illegaler Betrieb von Luftfahrzeugen" (illegal operation of aerospace vehicles) -- but he can get a licence since we also have a vehicle class for "Ultralights, muscle powered planes, space shuttles and other flying craft not covered anywhere" in German law (yes, in Germany you need a licence to fligh an UFO) -- and a tunneling one for "Verstoß gegen das Bergbaurecht" (Violation of mining laws).

  13. When 3 Germans sit in a room they will found a formal organisation (called a "Verein") and register it with the city.

  14. Imagine the annual meeting of the "Berliner Superhelden Verein e.V" (The Berlin Super-Hero Organisation, state-registered) complete with leading commitee, election of representatives, checking of balances, just like a local junior baseball team. Or the annual new-year partie. Silly games and lots a beer & schnaps. (Don't fly drunk, kids).