Downfall parodies
The Hitler rants are perhaps the most glorious meme ever to break the internet.Downfallparodies.net

No matter who you are, or where you come from, you've probably seen Hitler fly into one of his legendary rages at some point. It could have been about anything, really - he seems to lose his rag about a different topic every day. Sometimes it's about the apocalyptic menace of Chuck Norris; other times, it's when Manchester United lose to a lower-league team. And don't even get him started about the design of the new Xbox One, that's bound to send him into a fit of bloodcurdling rage.

The Hitler rants parodies are perhaps the most successful meme ever witnessed on the internet. Hijacking one of the most compelling scenes in the 2004 film Downfall, an intimate portrayal of the last days of The Third Riech in Hitler's Berlin bunker, they have reduced the most evil man in history to a figure of fun, a cheap laugh for millions of people the world over. The rants have charted every corner of modern culture, from US politics to the remake of Cinderella. One spoofer has even gone all Malkovich and goaded Hitler into ranting about the parodies themselves.

But who created this phenomenon which has broken the internet several times over? Surely it was the work of some creative genius, perhaps a professional comedian or a marketing firm specialising in viral videos?

Well no, actually. The creator was a guy you've never heard of and will probably never hear of again. He has done nothing of note in the public realm besides create a parody of Hitler, and, although he has contributed to a few comic radio shows in his native land, he has done so as a fan, not a professional.

Juan Siso hails from Segovia in Spain, but now lives in Barcelona. He is an IT technician by trade, and has a passion for video games; type his handle, DReaperF4, into Google and you'll find that he's posted on all kinds of gaming forums, offering advice to fellow gamers on games such as Warcraft and Battlefield. He also has a YouTube channel, providing game tutorials and links to tunes by heavy metal bands such as Machine Head and System of a Down.

In 2006 he was particularly annoyed about a new PC game called Flight Simulator, which had taken an interminable amount of time to arrive. Juan tells IBTimes UK: "I am very fond of Flight Simulator games and we had been waiting many years for the new one. It turned out to be a brutal disappointment."

Rather than sending a snarky e-mail to Microsoft, Juan decided to adopt a rather less orthodox tactic, one he'd never tried before: make a parody of a famous film, adding his own subtitles. And what could be funnier than Hitler?

Adolf Hitler bunker
A picture of Hitler's bunker after it was liberated by the Allies. One imagines they didn't spend too much time discussing Flight Simulator games down there.Getty

"At that time, I had just bought the movie Downfall on DVD because I loved it" Juan says. "I do not know how it happened but I mixed the two things. It took a long time, because I'm terrible at editing videos. First I wrote the script and I probably watched the scene 20 or 30 times. Then synchronising the subtitles took me a long, long time, I really suck at this!"

Juan's scene begins with Hitler's female secretaries haranguing Fegelein (the Fuhrer's bete noire in the real version) to know when the game when will be released; they've seen various photos and videos, but no announcement. Then they move into the Fuhrer's inner sanctum, where Hitler is discussing the features of the new game.

Instead of informing Hitler that Steiner has been unable to carry out his planned assault on the Russians, General Jodl tells his boss that the new game will contain no new plane models. Hitler goes ballistic, asking how the developers have spent so long on a "pile of steaming turd", predicting the new game will be riddled with bugs and the planes will be no more advanced than Harry Potter's broomstick. It was probably extremely amusing if you were playing Flight Simulator during the mid-noughties.

Juan's original has captured innumerable imitations, none funnier than this one in which Hitler laments the moral bankruptcy of Miley Cyrus.

Despite Juan's lack of experience, the video went what one particularly eloquent member of the IBT staff recently described as "apeshit viral." Juan says: "What surprised me is that the jokes were made for the world of Flight Simulator aficionados. From references to Oleg, one of the key Flight Simulator developers, to the medals that people wear because they are able to do tricks in the game.

"It was a video made for friends; originally I uploaded it to a server we had with a group of friends. They told me to upload it on YouTube. Then people from Spain's Flight Simulator community told me to translate the subtitles into English, so people from international forums could watch it.

"The last time I checked, the original had around 200,000 visits. People working for the Flight Simulator studio even contacted me privately saying that they loved it, that they laughed a lot, and in their opinion it was a great critique."

Hitler rant
Screengrab from Juan's pardoy. The caption reads 'what a pile of steaming turd', which, based on Hitler's other rants, does sound like the sort of thing he'd say.YouTube

Sadly the English translation has since been taken down by YouTube. Indeed it seems impossible to find the parody in English (the Spanish video is still available and can be viewed here). Nonetheless, Juan is widely hailed as the creator of the Hitler parody meme by people who know about these things; sites such as Wired, Storify and Know Your Meme have all named him as the man who lit the blue touch paper.

So when did he himself find out that he was responsible? "I found out years later" says Juan, "A page called knowyourmeme.com is dedicated to track all this stuff, and apparently yes, I was the first one.

"In fact, a couple of years ago some American students doing a thesis on memes and viral content called me because they had been investigating and said mine was the first one. I was really surprised."

When we ask which of the imitation parodies is Juan's favourite, he goes all diplomatic, saying with supreme magnanimity: "There are many really good ones, much better than mine. I like those related to football, X-Box Live, and Obama. People are very clever."

One final question: Will Juan make a return to the world of internet parodies in the future? "No, I haven't made another one since Downfall, and I won't make another one" he says, emphatically.

If Juan were able to copyright the Hitler parody, and claim royalties, he'd probably be a multi-millionaire by now. But, from talking to him, it seems he'd rather live a life of anonymity than one warped by wealth and notoriety. He's happy to leave the internet stardom to other, more fame-hungry types such as Perez Hilton, Kim Kardashian and that cat which has its own YouTube channel.

But from all of us out there in cyberspace, thankyou Juan, thankyou. Your ability to make vicious, power-crazed Nazis look silly has brought a little sunshine to all of our lives. We salute you, sir.