This episode could have been subtitled, "Nazis in Space." Unlike episode 43, "Bread and Circuses" and episode 54 "The Omega Glory" where the encounters with circumstances drawn from Earth's historical record was homegrown, the Nazi movement was imposed by a Federation official. John Gill is a historian who previously taught at Star Fleet Academy and is now a cultural observer on the planet Ekos. While on a routine mission to make contact with Gill, the Enterprise is attacked by chemical rockets bearing nuclear warheads. Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet and discover that the planet is now ruled by Nazis and Gill is the Fuhrer. In this case, their hatred is directed against the inhabitants of Zeon, another planet in the solar system that possesses rudimentary space travel. Kirk and Spock are captured, tortured, imprisoned, befriend an imprisoned Zeon and penetrate the Nazi headquarters. They learn that Gill intervened in the culture, starting the Nazi movement because Ekos was politically fragmented and in his words, "Nazi Germany was the most efficient society in history." However, while the strategy worked at first, Gill was then drugged by his second in command and the movement was usurped into one of hatred against Zeon to the point of brutal persecution and murder. McCoy is beamed down and with his help, they are able to get Gill to make an announcement calling off the campaign of hatred. Gill is killed after making the speech along with his second in command. This is one of the most ridiculous of all Star Trek episodes, based on some of the worst premises. They are:
*) Nazi Germany was not the most efficient state in human history. No intelligent historian would ever make that claim. Under their rule, Germany suffered the greatest brain-drain ever to take place in modern times.
*) The Nazi movement was based solely on a campaign of hatred of all not of "pure" German extraction. Beyond that, there was little else, so it would be impossible to separate the persecution from the other aspects. Again, no intelligent historian would make the attempt.
*) Gill was a member of Star Fleet and bound by the prime directive, a vow that he would not easily break.
Therefore, this is a combination of events that are impossible, even within the realm of Star Trek. Furthermore, the events are not carried out very well. Kirk and Spock have no difficulty penetrating the most secure areas of the party, hardly something that could occur in a Nazi state. Spock and the Zeon they befriended pose as members of a news crew to obtain entrance to the secure building, yet both wear helmets and no one notices Spock's slanted eyebrows or the presence of the Zeon. All members of the military would be wearing their dress uniforms, which does not include helmets and members of a culture as race conscious as Ekos would not fail to notice those of an inferior race. Finally, you do have to give the producers some credit for being willing to use such a controversial subject as Nazi Germany in the show. As I understand it, this episode has never aired in Germany. When I watch it, I always note the resemblance between the Nazi party leader who takes over at the end and Rudolph Hess, who was the number three man in the German Nazi hierarchy. It was an excellent bit of casting and makeup. Nevertheless, these are small points in favor and I rank this show in the lower fifteen of the original series.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
On a routine check of planet Ekos, theEnterpriseis fired upon by nuclear missiles. Upon investigation, Kirk finds the planet controlled by latter-day Nazis!
TREK TRIVIA Due to the subject matter, this episode has never been shown in Germany. Indeed, it was and still remains banned. Skip Homeier (Melakon) played a Nazi youth in his first film, Tomorrow The World (1944). He returned to the series as the insane Dr. Sevrin in "The Way to Eden."