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"The Third Reich will fall... and HYDRA will rise from its ashes!"
―Red Skull[src]

Johann Schmidt was the head of HYDRA, Adolf Hitler's supernatural sciences division. While he led HYDRA, he was disfigured and gained the moniker of the Red Skull, and became obsessed with an item believed to be a myth, the Tesseract, which he had believed could help him to control the world. However, Red Skull's plans were challenged by the Allies' only super soldier, Captain Carter, who alongside the HYDRA Stomper and the Howling Commandos destroyed the HYDRA facilities. Once Carter captured Arnim Zola, deprived of Zola's genius, Red Skull captured the HYDRA Stomper and recovered the Tesseract, which he used to open a portal at Castle de Krake to bring forth a tentacled-creature. Captain Carter intercepted him, but not before he could summon the creature, which quickly killed Red Skull.


World War II

Formation of HYDRA

Johann Schmidt served the Nazi Germany during Adolf Hitler's rise to power. During his service, Schmidt founded HYDRA, a Nazi scientific branch. However, Schmidt actually desired to betray the Third Reich and conquer the Earth for himself, believing that he could become a god. He eventually recruited the scientist Arnim Zola, who became aware of Schmdit's plans to summon a tentacled creature from the cosmos, whom Schmidt considered the "Champion of HYDRA", to achieve world domination, believing that he would be able to control it, despite that failing to do so could lead to the annihilation of the Earth.[1]

Finding the Tesseract

"The Tesseract was the jewel of Odin's treasure room. Fabled to hold the power to rewrite the very laws of physics and unlock doors across the universe."
"What you seek is just a legend."
"Then why do you try so hard to hide it."
―Johann Schmidt and Church Keeper[src]

Researching in history to find the greatest weapon ever known to mankind, Johan Schmidt learned of the Tesseract, which was lost on Earth having been held in Odin's Vault. Believing it not to be a myth, Schmidt began searching for it, knowing it would give him the power to defeat both Hitler and the Allies.

In 1943, following a possible lead as to the current location of their ultimate weapon, Schmidt had led his HYDRA army as they had invaded Tønsberg, Norway, searching for the Tesseract. As they were entering a church with his army led by the Tiger I tanks, Schmidt had ordered his men to demolish the door of an ancient church where the Tesseract supposedly was as he arrived in his car to investigate the potential site of the Tesseract.

Schmidt finds the Tesseract

As he had entered the church, Schmidt found his soldiers holding the Church Keeper at gun point. As he entered, Schmidt addressed the Church Keeper, telling him about the legends about the Tesseract and how it could be used to open portals across the universe. The Church Keeper still insisted that the Tesseract was simply a legend, but Schmidt retorted that in such case, why would the Church Keeper try to hide it. By finding and pressing a button in the tomb's wall, Schmidt found the coffin where the Tesseract was held and stared at it while his soldiers executed the Church Keeper.[1]

Losing the Tesseract

"A god does not answer to a man."
"A god? You? You lost the Tesseract, and now you play with metal trinkets"
"I would not expect a creature of your limited capacity to understand. Soon, the true Champion of HYDRA shall be summoned from beyond the stars. My champion."
―Red Skull and Roeder[src]

With the Tesseract now in his possession, Schmidt send the Tesseract to Berlin so he could secure it, entrusting it to Arnim Zola and a escort of his soldiers. However, once they arrived, the HYDRA unit sent to protect Zola and the Tesseract were ambushed by Captain Carter, the only Super Soldier created with Abraham Erskine's Super Soldier Serum thanks to the German assassin Heinz Kruger's intervention, who effortlessly defeated all of Schmidt's men and captured Zola, bringing the Tesseract to her superior Colonel John Flynn. Shortly afterwards, Carter liberated the Howling Commandos from Schmidt's weapons facility on Austria, aided by Steve Rogers, her love interest, who came to her rescue with the HYDRA Stomper Armor designed by Howard Stark and powered by the Tesseract. The following months, Carter, Rogers and the Howling Commandos continued to attack HYDRA's facilities, weakening Schmidt's organization.

Schmidt shooting and killing Roeder

Fed up with Schmidt for losing the Tesseract to the allies, Adolf Hitler dispatched a Nazi general and two soldiers to Castle de Krake, HYDRA's foremost stronghold in the forests of Germany, to reprimand Schmidt for his failures and demand his presence in Berlin. However, upon hearing the general's demands, Schmidt mocked Hitler and asked the general why a god should obey a man's demands. The general scoffed at Schmidt and remarked his failure to secure the Tesseract, but Schmidt mocked him in return and declared his intentions to summon the true "Champion of HYDRA" from beyond the stars before shooting the general, killing him. The general's guards pointed Schmidt with their rifles, but surrendered when they found themselves outnumbered by HYDRA soldiers. Before the general expired, Schmidt unmasked himself and confided him that the Third Reich would fall and HYDRA would rise from its ashes, with his soldiers proceeding to say "Hail HYDRA!".[1]

Recovering the Tesseract

Needing the Tesseract to open the portal to summon the "Champion of HYDRA", Schmidt somehow supplied the Allies with information that he would be present on a HYDRA train heading to the Austrian Alps, when in reality the train was rigged with explosives. Believing that they could capture Schmidt and end World War II once and for all, Captain Carter and the Howling Commandos boarded the train while the HYDRA Stomper tried to slow it down by positioning himself in front of the train. However, once Rogers made his way into the train's main wagon, he saw the explosives and realized they had been set up so he yelled at Carter to save herself before the wagon exploded.

Carter and the Commandos managed to escape with their lives, but Rogers seemingly perished in the explosion and the Tesseract was seemingly lost, with the train being later buried by a resulting avalanche. Rogers was believed to have died, but actually, he somehow survived and was captured by HYDRA. With the HYDRA Stomper and the Tesseract in their possession at Castle de Krake, Red Skull had Rogers chained in the same room where the HYDRA scientists would study his armor while he used the Tesseract to open the portal to summon the Champion of HYDRA to conquer the world.[1]

Attack on Castle de Krake

Red Skull with the Tesseract

"The champion of HYDRA has risen."
"What the bloody hell?"
"You came too late, Captain Carter. I have summoned the champion of H--"
―Johann Schmidt and Captain Carter[src]

Wishing to avenge Steve Rogers' apparent death, Captain Carter interrogated Arnim Zola, who told her about Schmidt's plans to summon the "Champion of HYDRA" at Castle de Krake and the dangers said "Champion" posed if unleashed without anyone able to tame it. Inspired by Carter and wanting to honor Rogers, the Howling Commanods and the other soldiers agreed to attack Castle de Krake and destroy it to put an end to HYDRA. Said and done, Carter and her army went to Germany and attacked Castle de Krake, fighting Schmidt's soldiers while Schmidt opened the portal with the Tesseract aided by his scientists.

Red Skull getting crushed by his Champion

With the portal opened, an amazed Schmidt and his scientists looked at the tentacles of the "Champion of HYDRA", which emerged from the portal. Captain Carter and Howard Stark arrived shortly afterwards and expressed their surprise at the monster. Believing that he had won, Schmidt mocked Carter by declaring that she had arrived too late and that he had unleashed the "Champion of HYDRA", but before he could finish taunting her, the "Champion of HYDRA" suddenly grabbed Schmidt with his tentacles from the platform he was standing. Horrified that the "Champion of HYDRA" wasn't obeying him, Schmidt grabbed from the tentacles and let out one final scream before the "Champion of HYDRA" effortlessly crushed all his bones, killing him before proceeding to attack everyone present in the room.[1]


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