State broadcaster ZDFneo has evidently decided that German viewers are now ready for the episode “Patterns of Force,” 43 years after it was first broadcast in the United States in 1968.
The episode, part of the second season of the immensely popular science fiction franchise, sees the Starship Enterprise visit the planet Ekos in the M34 Alpha System to investigate the disappearance of John Gill, Federation historian and one of Kirk’s erstwhile professors at Starfleet Academy.
The Ekosians, at war with the nearby planet Zeon, are intent on wiping out all the Zeons living on their planet – and destroying Zeon itself – in what they call a “Final Solution.” The Ekosians refer to the Zeons as “Zeonist pigs.”
Kirk and Spock (played by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, both Jewish) discover that the Ekosians have adopted all the features and institutions of Nazi Germany – including the salute, brown-shirted Stormtroopers, the SS, and the Gestapo, from their “Führer” – none other than John Gill.
Both Kirk and Spock then steal Nazi uniforms to infiltrate the regime and call Gill to account. At one point Spock comments that Kirk “should make a very convincing Nazi.”
The episode was originally considered unfit for German audiences because it referred to Nazi Germany as “the most efficient society” ever created.
As a result, “Patterns of Force” was excised from the series when ZDF first broadcast the original Star Trek in the mid-1970s, and was also removed when private channel Sat 1 aired the show in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The episode was only dubbed into German in 1995 and was first shown on German pay TV in 1996.