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A man is only ever as strong as the people around him. The community he serves and the family he is sworn to protect. Whatever strength he has, he draws from them. And for them, he must be prepared to give up everything. His life, his blood, or else everything he has done has been for nothing. He is nothing.
~ John Smith


Reichsführer John Smith was a former U.S Army Captain who joined the SS following the surrender of the United States. He quickly rose through the ranks to Obergruppenführer, and was assigned to investigate the American Resistance in New York.

Smith was instrumental in dismantling a conspiracy masterminded by Martin Heusmann and Reinhard Heydrich that sought to overthrow Adolf Hitler and annihilate the Japanese Empire in order to usher in a new age. He consequently became the first American to be promoted to the rank of Oberst-Gruppenführer. He was later appointed Reichsmarschall of Nazi America by Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler when the previous Reichsmarschall, George Lincoln Rockwell, was exiled. He took control of Nazi America as its Reichsführer after he initiated a putsch against Himmler.

He served as the main antagonist of both Season Four and the entire series as a whole.

Biography

Background

Smith was born in the United States in the 1920s. It is implied he grew up poor during the Great Depression, leading to his future acceptance of Nazism.

He had a brother, Edmund, who developed Landouzy-Dejerine's syndrome, a form of muscular dystrophy. Edmund soon was wheelchair bound and eventually died as a result of his illness when both he and John were young. John took the death hard, telling his wife he 'worshiped' his brother.

John used to be fond of sailing, which was expressed with Rudolph Wegener saying he used to be out at sea as much as he was on land. However, after an event in Cincinnati, he stopped for yet unexplained reasons (However, in Season Three, it is revealed that many Jews were being murdered and killed in Cincinnati, by the Nazis).

When World War II broke out, Smith served in the United States army, serving in the Pacific during the Solomon Islands Campaign. He was a U.S. Army intelligence officer, with the rank of captain. On December 11, 1945, while on leave with his wife Helen, he witnessed the atomic bombing of Washington, D.C. leaving him unaware of his new orders due to its destruction. In 1946, after the capitulation of the United States Government, he and other soldiers were forced to choose between joining the new regime and continuing the struggle. Fearing for his life and the lives of his family, and impressed with the technological prowess of the Nazis, he was among the first to choose the former. In the process, he refused to save his former squad mate Daniel Levine from execution; an act which he came to regret later in his life.

Despite being a captain in the US army, Smith was assigned a much lower rank in the Schutzstaffel. In 1947, Scharführer Smith served alongside Wegener, and they both committed several war crimes and atrocities against civilians.

Smith's commitment to Nazism enabled him to rise up the ranks very quickly. He became an Obergruppenführer of the New York Corps before 1962, and once met the German Führer Adolf Hitler.

Season One

John Smith is first seen in episode one, leading an attack against a resistance cell in New York City. He is seen at this time as the perfect Nazi man; A family loving patriarch, competent administrator, and loyal to his country and the Nazi Party. As Obergruppenführer in the American Waffen-SS, he is one of the top officials within Nazi America. Smith lives in a suburban home, with his wife & 3 children.

Season Two

After revealing Heusmann's treason to Reichsfuhrer Himmler, he was promoted from Obergruppenführer to the rank of Oberstgruppenführer - becoming the first American to hold the rank.

Season Three

After his son's death, Reichsmarschall Rockwell and ARBI Director J. Edgar Hoover plotted against Smith, but ultimately failed. Rockwell was exiled, and later killed, while Hoover was backmailed by Smith into cooperation. In the absence of a Reichsmarschall auf Nord Amerika, Smith was named by Himmler as Rockwell's successor. As Reichsmarschall, Smith oversaw the demolition of the statue of liberty, the start of Jahr Null, and the successful capture of Hawthorne Abendsen. With Himmler in critical condition at seasons end, it is unknown if Smith's position is in any danger.

Season Four

When the fourth and final season begins, Smith lead an invasion force into the Neutral Zone and taking over Denver and successfully crushes the resistance. Smith arrives at the scene and is greeted by his second in command, General Bill Whitcroft. Smith burns the large cache of Wyatt's films. Afterwards, Smith tells Bill he'll be visiting his family, who are now living with Helen's brother, Hank, in Montana.

As John arrives unannounced at Hank's farm, he is invited for dinner while SS soldiers guard outside. Smith excuses his daughters to their rooms as he prepares to talk with Helen. Smith asks Helen and the daughters to finally return home, but Helen no longer wants to after the Reich brainwashed and euthanized their son Thomas, as well as her fear that her daughters are beginning to realize the Reich's crimes after a year of listening to resistance radio. Rejected, Smith asks their daughters to begin packing for their return home. Helen bids farewell to her daughters as she is powerless to stop John from taking them back to New York. Smith and his daughters board the aircraft, while Helen tearfully watches it fly off.

Later, Mengele informs John Smith of their progress of sending Nazi undercover agents through Die Nebenwelt, where they have mined the alternate world of their technological capabilities. Josef emphasizes the advancements the Americans and Russians have made on their nuclear arsenal, but has ensured that the alt-word remain unaware of a multiverse by eliminating the alt-word's academics who study it. Thanks to Hawthorne Abendsen, Josef has managed to create a model of a multiverse map, where they are currently traveling at a universe where the Axis lost World War II. Agent Campbell brings John Smith a report about his alt-world counterpart, where he learns that he is an insurance sales agent and that Thomas is his only child. In one of the photos taken, Smith learns that Juliana Crain is living near his counterpart. Smith arrives home and finds Jennifer and Amy fighting. He learns that Jennifer had brought a Negro Jazz record and had been dancing to it with Henry. Smith has Amy give her the record, while ordering Jennifer i to wait in her father's office. Amy claims her action was right as she is being taught to report anything bad even if they were relatives. Smith lies to her that the record was evidence for a case for the Gestapo and convinces her that Jennifer didn't bring it. As for Jennifer, Smith scolds her for bringing such a life-threatening material back home. Jennifer later sneaks out of her room in the night to call for her mother, while Smith listens from behind. Jennifer cries out for her mother, desperate to flee the Reich and go and live with her in the farm. Later that night, Smith finishes reading Amy a bedtime story. But before he can leave, Amy questions his father about his experience with black people and why they can't live at Nazi America. Smith affirms that they all returned to Africa to work for the Reich before she finally goes to sleep. When Smith prepares to bid goodnight to Jennifer, she overhead their conversation and knows his father lied about what really happened to them.

Smith arrives in Berlin and meets Oberstgruppenfuhrer Eichmann at the Volkshalle. Eichmann bars John from joining Himmler and other generals in the Fuhrer's quarters and is instead told to wait outside. A few hours later, Eichmann discusses initial plans for the invasion of North America by conducting heavy bombing runs in major West Coast cities before the Wehrmacht can begin their march. John raises his skepticism of reducing the cities into rubble but Eichmann believes it is necessary, seeing the BCR as not a major threat. Himmler then questions if John should have the role on leading the invasion force, as Eichmann suggests a German should. John disagrees, believing an American can truly control the continent. But both Eichmann and Himmler begin to doubt John's loyalties, signaling Hoover's entrance.

Hoover reveals that his agency has been secretly scrutinizing John's family ever since Helen left for the Neutral Zone. From their surveillance, Hoover plays audio recordings of all the treasonous private statements that John and Helen had, including Jennifer's. John remains silent, allowing Hoover to continue his accusations as a traitor. Himmler has John brought to his private room alone. When John enters, Himmler expresses his feelings for John as his own son and is distraught that he could not return the same admiration. Himmler urges John to say anything to defend himself from the accusations. John's only response is to admit how he despised Himmler and never viewed him as a father. Himmler starts coughing violently and quickly reaches for his oxygen mask. John approaches him and forcefully pushes the mask into Himmler's face, killing him in the process, revealing that the air he was breathing in the oxygen tank was replaced with the poisonous Zyklon B gas.

When John emerges, all of Himmler's security detail have been killed by rogue SS troops. John heads back to the war room to find all of the Nazi generals shot dead, except for Goertzmann, revealing that he and John had masterminded a secret coup against Reich leaders. Goertzmann spares Hoover for John to personally deliver his execution, by mortally stabbing him with an army knife. With the overthrow complete, Goertzmann finalizes their partition of the territories, with John having complete control of North America while Goertzmann controls the rest of Nazi Germany's empire. The two men offer the Nazi salute, acknowledging each other as both Fuhrers of their respective territories. 

A few days later, Smith makes a televised announcement to the Greater Nazi Reich about Heinrich Himmler's passing and that leadership of North America is passed down unto him. He ominously promises the American people that he'll soon reunify the divided continent. Afterwards, Helen tries to have a private moment with John, but he has to attend urgent discussions about the invasion with his generals, promising to continue their talk by inviting her to join him on a train to the Poconos, Pennsylvania in two days. 

Two days later, Helen tries to pass up John's invitation to join his travels, claiming to be feeling ill. Not finding it concerning, John insists that Helen join him.

The bullet train departs for the Poconos Mountains. . Meanwhile, John finally has a moment to discuss privately with Helen. He conveys his suspicion that Helen has been approached by the resistance. Helen admits it was Juliana who confronted her about the films in his office, causing her to witness the alt-world Smith family. John confesses that what Juliana said to her is true, and that their son is alive in another world, but is in danger of dying again after enlisting for the Vietnam War. He reveals to her how he wants Helen to have the same feelings he had when he saw his son again, by kidnapping Thomas and bringing him to their world. Helen rejects John's radical ambitions, as they all but lost their children due to their actions and affirms that the alt-world Thomas doesn't deserve to be raised by them. Their argument ends when Reichsminister Bill Whitcroft calls and advises John to signal the Luftwaffe to start the invasion. John gives the order with only a few minutes left before they arrive at the Poconos.

Helen decides to confront her troubled husband about the Phase Five plans and questions him on how it all came to this. She pleads to John that they halt all their crimes for the Reich, but John admits he no longer knows how to stop it. Suddenly, shots ring out on the train, causing the conductors to fire back at the resistance. In the final moments, Helen discloses her collaboration with the resistance of having their daughters evacuated to the Neutral Zone and admits it was because of her they're being attacked. Juliana activates the charges and blows up a large part of the railway line, causing the bullet train to violently crash.  

In the aftermath, John survives the crash but finds Helen dead as a result. He mourns her briefly, but is forced to abandon her when the remainder of his officers pull him to the forest with the resistance in pursuit. The officers are outgunned, so they order John to make a run for the base while they cover his escape. Juliana sees this and breaks off with Wyatt, who are headed for the portal, to follow him. Eventually, Juliana finds John resting at a cliff. He senses her approach and shares his experience of traveling the alternate worlds, seeing different versions of themselves, only for John to become a terrible version of himself in this one. In his final act, John commits suicide by shooting himself. Juliana approaches his corpse before looking out at the now destroyed Nazi base containing the Die Nebenwelt project, after Brad Bellows' successful assault. 

Alternate Smith

In the fourth season of the show, we first see an alternate version of Smith. Juliana escapes from her prison cell by travelling to another universe and stumbles onto a road, where a car stops and Smith and an alive alternate Thomas save her. This version of Smith lives happily with Helen and Thomas (who in this alternate Earth, is an only child) in Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia, where he works as a travelling salesman. He is evidently a successful salesman often seen celebrating sales, and is depicted winning a Tri-State Salesman of the Year Award. Talking to Juliana, this Smith reveals that he was promoted to be his unit's commanding officer at the Battle of Mindano (which historically occurred in early 1945), and it seems likely that he would have held the rank of Captain at this point. The alternate Smith enjoyed the power of his command position, but could not fully reconcile himself to the brutality of warfare. On leaving the Army he sought a job with little responsibility, rather than follow his father's footsteps as a banker. He is murdered while trying to save Juliana from being killed by a Nazi operative sent by Smith's alternate self

Appearance & Personality

As a high-ranking Nazi official, Smith is as ruthless as he is cunning in his pursuit of his enemies. He does not shy away from brutal interrogation tactics and always seems to be one step ahead of the opposition. He has a stoic composure that is not lost when placed under pressure. Even when his position is challenged by competitors such as George Lincoln Rockwell, he maintains a calm and cold demeanor.

John with his family and Rudolph Wegener at his home on VA Day.

In contrast to his work persona, as a father and husband, Smith cares deeply for his family and puts their needs above all else. The depth of his character and affections becomes more evident as he assumes the role of a typical 1950s father. He is shown to have an emotional side, particularly after Thomas' death, causing him to cry in the privacy of his home office.

John Smith is shown to be a deeply committed Nazi, allowing him to rise through its ranks. However, after Thomas Smith's death, Smith has shown both anger and doubt towards his commitment to the Reich. Furthermore, John Smith has privately expressed his disgust at the Reich's Ministry of Propaganda for using his son's death to promote their beliefs. 

Despite his deeply committed loyalty to the Reich, following the death of Thomas and subsequently, the failed assassination attempt on Himmler, John Smith starts becoming more focused on attaining more power, recognising that the Reich does not have the capacity to control North America and to protect his family from any possible threats. Despite succeeding in the former and eliminating his rivals, his family still ends up divided, with Jennifer openly confronting her mother and father about their roles in Nazi atrocities whilst Amy becoming fanatical in her devotion to the Nazi ideology, to the point of reporting on her own family members. He also exhibits a somewhat selfish attitude, planning to kidnap Alt-Thomas to bring him to the main universe, even though Alt-Thomas would hate him for essentially ruining his life and bringing him into a world he would not want to live in.

Relationships

John trusts Helen completely and both seem to be in a close, committed relationship to one another.

John favors his son over his two daughters and pushes him to excel while Thomas works to meet and exceed his father's expectations.

To be Added

John has an unstable relationship with Joe, whose loyalty does not seem to be entirely with the Nazi Party. Both tend to hold each other at a distance while still attempting to get the most out of their partnership.

Appearances

Season One
"The New World"
Appears
"Sunrise"
Appears
"The Illustrated Woman"
Appears
"Revelations"
Appears
"The New Normal"
Appears
"Three Monkeys"
Appears
"Truth"
Appears
"End of the World"
Appears
"Kindness"
Appears
"A Way Out"
Appears
Season Two
"The Tiger's Cave"
Appears
"The Road Less Traveled"
Appears
"Travelers"
Appears
"Escalation"
Appears
"Duck and Cover"
Appears
"Kintsugi"
Appears
"Land O' Smiles"
Appears
"Loose Lips"
Appears
"Detonation"
Appears
"Fallout"
Appears
Season Three
"Now More Than Ever ..."
Appears
"Imagine Manchuria"
Appears
"Sensô Kôi"
Appears
"Sabra"
Appears
"The New Colossus"
Appears
"History Ends"
Appears
"Excess Animus"
Appears
"Kasumi ..."
Appears
"Baku"
Appears
"Jahr Null"
Appears
Season Four
"Hexagram 64"
Appears
"Every Door Out..."
Appears
"The Box"
Appears
"Happy Trails"
Appears
"Mauvaise Foi"
Appears
"All Serious Daring"
Appears
"No Masters But Ourselves"
Appears
"Hitler Has Only Got One Ball"
Appears
"For Want of a Nail"
Appears
"Fire from the Gods"
Appears

Quotes

Well, the Romans called Hannibal a primitive right up until he marched his army all the way from Africa on elephants and crushed them. In war, technology and wealth are no guarantee of victory. What matters is the will to win.


Notes & Trivia

  • John and Helen got married in 1944.
  • When he was in the Army, he was stationed in Fort Monmouth with Helen and their son, Thomas. They moved before his daughters were born.
  • John Smith is based off the real American flying ace (John L. Smith)

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Smith_(flying_ace)

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