- For other uses, see HYDRA (disambiguation)
- "Cut off one head, Two more shall take its place. Hail HYDRA!"
- ―HYDRA members[src]
HYDRA is the branch of the Nazi-German Army of World War II under the command of the Red Skull. It was an SS sub-division that created advanced weaponary for the army. After the war, Arnim Zola rebuilt HYDRA inside of S.H.I.E.L.D..
HYDRA was organized by Johann Schmidt after becoming the Red Skull. It was the Nazi-German Military's deep science division. It was named after the mythological creature and had used its original phrase: "cut off one head, two more will take its place". Their main purpose was to create advanced weapons for the Nazis. They stormed a castle in Norway where the mystical object known as the Tesseract was buried for hundreds of years. They used its power to create advanced technology weapons and tanks (its power could create laser ammunitions). After discovering such power they separated from the Nazi-German army and created their own Super-Army to rule over the world. HYDRA had many bases around Europe but the US army sent the SSR team with Captain America and the Howling Commandos to destroy the HYDRA factories. Then, after the Red Skull died HYDRA was dissolved and its advanced technology was studied by Stark Industries.
Though HYDRA was thought to have been long since been disbanded, their weapons and technology still existed. What was left was kept by S.H.I.E.L.D. for their program "Phase 2," which involved reactivating the HYDRA weapons with the Tesseract for use against super-powered or other-worldly forces. Steve Rogers discovered several cases of HYDRA weapons aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier.
Agent Phil Coulson's team travels to Peru to investigate an "0-8-4", an unknown object of concern to S.H.I.E.L.D. The object is an anachronistically advanced metal device in an ancient pyramid. Coulson's team eventually discovers that it is a Tesseract energy-powered weapon designed by surviving Nazi/HYDRA scientists who escaped Allied justice after WWII and were recruited by Peru. A team of Peruvian military police attempts to kill the team in order to retrieve the device, but Coulson's ingenious team members foil them. In the end, the 0-8-4 is deemed too dangerous to be allowed to exist, and it blasted off on a rocket into the Sun.
It is revealed by Fitz and Simmons that S.H.I.E.L.D. was formed to combat HYDRA.
It is revealed by the computerized brain of Arnim Zola that since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, they recruited him and other HYDRA operatives, where they conspired against their new employers. HYDRA secretly operated within its ranks, sowing chaos across the world in the hope that humanity would willingly surrender its freedom in exchange for safety.
They developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future opponents to HYDRA's plans. The new helicarriers, created for Project: Insight, would sweep across the country, eliminating these individuals with their satellite-guided guns, including President Ellis, Bruce Banner, Stephen Strange, and Tony Stark. However, Captain America, along with Black Widow and Falcon managed to stop the plan and destroy the helicarriers with their own weaponry.
Later, at an undisclosed HYDRA underground lab, Baron Strucker is informed by one of his subordinates that Nick Fury has revealed there existence to the present world at large and some of there sleeper agents have been discovered. Strucker is not overly concerned as they have many more followers hidden around the world. Strucker has within his possession two secret weapons, including the Chitauri Scepter and "the twins" intending to use against Captain America and his friends.
There were sleeper HYDRA agents hidden within S.H.I.E.L.D. that were exposed when Captain America infiltrated the Triskelion and destroyed Project Insight. It was thought that Agent Hand was a HYDRA agent, but it turned out not to be true when Agent Ward, the true sleeper agent, guns her down to save the Clairvoyant, John Garrett from being terminated.
John Garrett, after escaping agent Victoria Hand's custody with the aid of fellow HYDRA agent Grant Ward, continued to work on the Centipede Project at the HYDRA base in Havana. Ward frees Raina from her confinement and introduces Garrett to her as the Clairvoyant. Garrett tasks her with conducting research on the Guest House drugs for Project Centipede, which was secretly backed by HYDRA. Garrett and Ward then raided the Fridge, freeing its prisoners and stealing weapons including the Berserker Staff and the 0-8-4 from Peru. Back at the HYDRA base, Raina informs Garrett that the hard drive containing all of Skye and Simmons' research is locked with a password only Skye holds, prompting Garrett to send Ward to Providence to obtain it. Later, Ian Quinn, who is angry at Garrett for his lies, is brought to the HYDRA base to reclaim his Gravitonium, which was retrieved from the Fridge.
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HYDRA originally began as a branch of the Nazi Third Reich, founded by Johann Schmidt, but eventually left the organization under Schmidt's direction for a new world order. Whatever Nazi beliefs that were discarded from carried on from this division remains a mystery, though the HYDRA organization does believe itself superior to others. One of their recurring mottos is, "Cut off one head and two more shall takes its place," a tribute to the mythological creature on which it gains its name. This proves itself true time and again when many times their enemies have believed they have defeated HYDRA only to discover they have already arranged a continguency plan.
Colonel Phillips states that HYDRA is practically a cult and that Schmidt believes himself a "god."
According to Arnim Zola, HYDRA was founded under the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom. When they realized they could not win through brute force during WWII, Zola and some of his fellow colleagues decided to infiltrate SHIELD and use acts of terror to slowly make the world desperate for protection. They believed in taking any and all potential threats, including assassinating Erksine when he had perfected the Super Soldier Serum and using Zola's data to target and eliminate anyone who could challenge any of the organization's future endeavours.
At first, the soldiers of HYDRA were armed with standard weapons of the German armed forces of World War II. Many HYDRA troopers were armed with the MP 40 submachine guns. Johann Schmidt himself used the Luger P08. HYDRA's assassins like Heinz Kruger were armed with the Walther P38s. Even before they harnessed the power of the Tesseract, the scientists of HYDRA developed several advanced weapons, like flamethrowers. But with the power of the Tesseract, the HYDRA scientists invented vaporizer rifles, pistols and cannons. They were able to vaporize HYDRA's enemies in a single shot
HYDRA used a variety of advanced vehicles. Thanks to the scientists like Arnim Zola, members of HYDRA could rely on armored vehicles equipped with flamethrowers, futuristic armored personnel carriers, rocket planes, submarines, gigantic tanks, flying bombs, motorbikes, and super bombers like the Valkyrie.
- Johann Schmidt / Red Skull - Commander-in-chief (Status unknown)
- Alexander Pierce - Commander-in-chief within S.H.I.E.L.D. (deceased)
- Baron Wolfgang von Strucker - Commander.
- Daniel Whitehall - Senior HYDRA scientist and commander.
- Dr. Arnim Zola - Scientist and Schmidt's second-in-command (deceased)
- Heinz Kruger - Assassin.
- Jasper Sitwell - Sleeper agent within S.H.I.E.L.D. (deceased)
- Senator Stern - Government contact and ally. (In custody)
- Strike - Tactical team of sleeper agents within S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Centipede Group
- Carl Creel / Absorbing Man - Brainwashed assassin / agent.
- Donnie Gill - Brainwashed agent
- Agent 33 - Brainwashed agent
- Sunil Bakshi - Whitehall's second in command.
- James Barnes - under mind control, freed
- Raina - Recruiter and strategist with the Centipede Project, left after Garrett's death
- Jemma Simmons - Scientist, actually undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D., cover compromised
- Bobbi Morse - Head of HYDRA security for Whitehall. Undercover for SHIELD, cover compromised
- Ian Quinn - Former ally of Centipede group through blackmail, cut ties shortly before Garrett's death.
- Captain America
- Howling Commandos
- President Matthew Ellis
- Bruce Banner
- Tony Stark
- Stephen Strange
- HYDRA were featured in the script for Daredevil as an international arms cartel.
- HYDRA appears in X-Men: The Official Game as responsible for the creation of the Master Mold and Sentinels alongside William Stryker, Jr., Lady Deathstrike and their leader Silver Samurai.
- HYDRA appears in the 2003 X-Men film, X2: X-Men United as a strike team for William Stryker.