ISIS has been considered the 21st century Nazis (including me). However, if the Nazis had Facebook it would pictures of perfect blond children and Hitler doing something cute; not posts bragging about beheading a bunch of people. That’s just crazy, and there haven been recent publications explaining what ISIS wants: Make everyone their enemy, call them the army of “Rome”, lure them to a town called Dabiq (consequently the name of their propaganda magazine), have them fight the army of Islam (read them) which will bring about the Islamic apocalypse, where ISIS will naturally win. Even Hitler’s generals managed to stop Hitler from thinking that stupid, and below is why ISIS are totally different villains from the Nazis.
Flaunting their Crime
Villains often come in two flavours: the ones who hide their crime and those who don’t care. For example, General Mandible from the movie “Antz” manipulated everyone with his bulldog general demeanour to hide his genocidal plan to create a stronger colony. On the other hand, if the whole of Gotham (especially Batman) doesn’t know of his deeds, the Joker would rather just turn on the tube and yell at Harley for another beer.
Replace, Patton-like ant with frothing Charlie Chaplin, and you’ve got the same intentions. Then replace a plucky Woody Allen with a flood of Allied soldiers, and Nazis who acted like everything they did was for the good of the world, frantically burning bodies, blowing up gas chambers, burning papers to hide their crime.
The Islamic State, on the other hand (thankfully), cannot hope to match the scale of atrocity as regimes before them. What makes them so terrifying is that they’re like internet trolls. Everything that they do will provoke outrage, so it most definitely will be shared with the world to get a reaction.
For most villains, it’s all about sex, money and power. Take Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars, who manipulated the entire Galaxy just to gain power. On the other side of the coin, Darth Revan from the video game Knights of the Old Republic, invaded the galaxy because he wanted to prepare the galaxy for the real threat approaching from the outer reaches of the galaxy.
While Hitler was anti-Semitic, and of course wanted his perfect world to be non-Aryan free, Nazi military conquests were quite similar to many empire builders through European history. Hitler could be considered a 20th century Napoleon (except with a dumb moustache and stupider).
On the other hand, ISIS are taking a very stupid way to gain riches and power, provoking factions that didn’t even want to fight them, and even making potential allies their enemies. And if it isn’t the power and prestige of a state but to fulfill their beliefs, they are well-intentioned in their extremism. Of course, said intentions are great for everyone under their view on Islam (just horrible for the rest of us).
Most villain plans they are credible enough that their failure was because of the Big Damned Heroes ruining it. On the other hand, there are villain plots that are still undone minus the hero. In “Return of Superman” how was Lex Luthor going to defend his island with just three guys against the buttload of refugees coming from the land he just destroyed?
For the Nazis, they had clear strategic goals and the tactical plans to create a German Empire, and only the stupidity of Hitler and violating one of the lessons of history (don’t invade Russia) were they defeated.
For ISIS, victory is relying on luring all their enemies to fight them at Dabiq. Even forging their military limitations (no airforce) how are they going to manoeuvre their enemies to fight at Dabiq? And if they did somehow succeed in this, how are they going to defeat the rest of the world, including the most advanced military force the world has ever seen? Everything is relying on their enemies showing up and hoping that their prophecy is true. And maybe it will happen and that ISIS will win, and then maybe Hitler can come by to congratulate them while riding a unicorn.