Star Trek’s Nazi Portrayal Got A Season 2 Episode Banned In Germany For Decades

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In Germany, the display of Nazi imagery, the flying of Nazi flags, and the vaunting of Nazi rhetoric are illegal, unless they are being presented in either an artistic or educational context. Indeed, only 11 countries around the world legally allow the display of Nazi images: Canada, Finland, Iran, Japan, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan, Switzerland, and the United States. Germany has also made Holocaust Denial illegal, as did they the wearing of Nazi uniforms and participation in Nazi-themed websites. A portion of their laws called Section 130 has strictly criminalized hate speech, which bans, according to Dateline, “incitement to hatred and insults that assault human dignity against people based on their racial, national, religious, or ethnic background.” 

Section 130 was written in the 1870s, but took on new life in the early 1950s to assure that Nazism remain silenced. It wouldn’t be until 1994 that Holocaust Denial was banned explicitly. 

“Patterns of Force” may fall in the exception mentioned above for “artistic context,” but the makers of the episode — director Vincent McEveety and writer John Meredyth Lucas — mishandled the episode’s messaging. “Patterns of Force” may end with the defeat of the Nazi regime, but not before a character explicitly complimented how efficient the Nazi Party was. Dialogue complimenting Nazis was not allowed in Germany under Section 130, and the episode was banned from broadcast. It’s the only “Star Trek” episode to have that distinction

Indeed, “Patterns” remained banned for many years. When “Star Trek” returned to German TV in the 1970s, “Patterns” was left out of the rotation. The episode wasn’t dubbed into German until 1995 and only showed on pay TV in 1996. The first public German broadcast of “Patterns of Force” occurred in 2011. 

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