- It doesn't matter what the newspapers say or the politicians or the whole world. They don't define who you are, you do. And not by your words, but by your actions. The truth will come out, but until then I'm going to keep fighting. Just like you do.
- Captain America
Steven Rogers (a.k.a. Captain America) is a supersoldier who joined Project Rebirth to become the world's first "superhero" during World War II. In a final attempt to stop the Red Skull from possessing the Teseract, he went to suspended animation for 70 years and was eventually revived in the present, shocked from how the world has changed after the end of the war. He is a founding member of the Avengers.
Steve Rogers was born in 1918 to Sarah and Joseph Rogers in Brooklyn, New York City. Before he was born, his father was Killed in Action during World War 1. At a young age he met James "Bucky" Barnes, who became his best friend. He was usually attacked by bullies, but his resilience, despite his small stature, inspired Barnes to come to his aid and fight off the bullies. He attended both George Washington High School and Auburndale Art School in Brooklyn.
In 1940, his mother died of tuberculosis. After the funeral, Rogers talked to Bucky, who tried to help him get a job, but Rogers said he could get by on his own. Barnes told him he didn't have to, because he would be with him "'til the end of the line", something that Rogers would keep to heart for a long time.
World War II
Rogers and Barnes learned during an art class that the United States of America entered World War II. Rogers wanted to join the United States Army to fight in Europe against the Nazis, so Bucky trained him for two weeks at Goldie's Boxing Gym. Soon Bucky and Steve went to a US Recruiting and Induction Center in New York City where Steve was classified as 4F and rejected from service, but Bucky later enlisted in the Army.
Rogers continued to be rejected for military duty, despite making multiple attempts at different enlistment offices, due to his various health and physical issues. He remained determined to fight alongside his friends and other men overseas and would attempt to convince the doctors to give him a chance, to no avail.
He was approached by Dr. Abraham Erskine, who asked him why he wished to go over seas and kill Nazis, but Rogers assured him that he did not wish to kill anyone, he simply did not like bullies no matter where they were from. Impressed by this answer, Erskine decided to enlist Rogers as a candidate of Project Rebirth, a "super-soldier" experiment being conducted by the Strategic Scientific Reserve.
Rogers agreed and under the supervision of Dr. Erskine, Colonel Chester Phillips and Agent Peggy Carter, he travelled to Camp Lehigh to begin his training. Rogers trained hard but was often mocked and bullied by the other soldiers, yet his determination and quick thinking often made him stand out from the group.
The night before the treatment, Erskine revealed to Rogers that his first test subject, the Nazi officer Johann Schmidt, underwent an imperfect version of the treatment; becoming super-human but suffering negative side-effects due to his inner ambition for power and obsession with becoming a "superior man". However, he reassured Rogers that he choose him because he was inherently a good man and one that, because he had been weak his whole life, would not lose respect for the strength he would gain.
He was escorted to a secret facility by Peggy. As they drove together, they talked about how it felt to be picked on and ignored for something they could not change, Rogers with his height and Carter for her gender. Despite Rogers' awkwardness speaking to her, Carter was charmed by Rogers' sincerity and good moral values. Once there, Howard Stark prepped him in the machinery to be subjected to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with Vita Radiation.
Although the treatment was extremely painful, Rogers told the scientists to keep going and he emerged from the experiment a foot taller, with a greatly enhanced physique. After the experiment and the scientists and generals celebrated, one of the attendees shot and killed Erskine, revealing himself as Heinz Kruger, an assassin sent by Schmidt. The assassin stole the final drops of Super Soldier Serum before escaping.
Rogers pursued Kruger on foot; due to his enhanced physicality, he was able to catch up with Kruger and capture him, but the assassin smashed the last of the Super Soldier Serum and committed suicide via cyanide capsule before he could be interrogated.
Rather than be confined to a lab while scientists attempted to rediscover Erskine's formula, Rogers tried to convince Chester Phillips to allow him to serve overseas, but Phillips refused noting that he was not the army he had wanted. However Senator Brandt approached Rogers and offered him the chance to serve his country on the most important battlefield of the war.