The term comes from Der Unterganger, coined by Bossimias, derived from the fact that most untergangers primarily use clips from the movie Downfall (Der Untergang in German). The feminine form, Untergangerin, was coined by PiretBCN.
The most important characteristics that differentiates untergangers from other YouTubers who make parodies off Downfall is as follows:
- Untergangers tend to make multiple parodies off Downfall, and in almost all cases the majority of videos in their channel are Downfall parodies.
- Characters in an unterganger's parodies are self-aware, and they tend to have a defining personality (for example, Otto Günsche is the Bunker's idiot, Hans Krebs is a mappophile, Hermann Fegelein is a prankster, and Alfred Jodl is the objector) which collectively defines a distinct universe from their real life counterparts.
- Parodies with Hitler commentating or criticizing on real world issues are not the main concern of most untergangers; they make parodies for the Lulz.
To make their parodies, Untergangers take clips from Downfall (although non-Downfall clips, such as scenes from other movies, music videos, and footage found on YouTube are frequently used as well) and add their own subtitles. Their most common means of editing is the use of programs like Windows Movie Maker or Sony Vegas.
Their favourite activity is making Hitler look stupid and/or a victim of Fegelein's antics and creating other very funny situations .
They also have a tendency to despise Nazism and other such bigoted ideologies in real-life, and to frown upon bigotry and racism.
Many (if not most) core untergangers are avowed anti-Zionists who generally hold democratic beliefs, and stand against dictatorship. Some however (such as Shomronon and PiretBCN) generally embrace the opposite rule, and generated some controversy in the past.
Untergangers can be classified into which period they were making parodies. First-generation Untergangers are those who first make parodies on a serial basis. After the period when Constantin Film removes parodies off YouTube came the Second-generation Untergangers. The two generations can be differed by the variety of scenes used, differing amount of FX employed, and the degree of which parodies are crossed with other characters or memes that are not from Downfall.
It can be speculated that most untergangers out there are short-term, coming and going in a few months interval. Those who have a long-term commitment have been unterganging for years, some even dating back from 2009. Most probably, these long term untergangers inspire their more recent but short-term counterparts.