FANDOM


Farm-Fresh balanceYMMVTransmit blueRadarWikEd fancyquotesQuotes • (Emoticon happyFunnyHeartHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3Awesome) • RefridgeratorFridgeGroupCharactersScript editFanfic RecsSkull0Nightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out iconShout OutMagnifierPlotGota iconoTear JerkerBug-silkHeadscratchersHelpTriviaWMGFilmRoll-smallRecapRainbowHo YayPhoto linkImage LinksNyan-Cat-OriginalMemesHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol SourceSetting
Cquote1
The beginning of the end of War lies in Remembrance.
—Herman Wouk
Cquote2

This is a historical epic of World War II set in two volumes, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance, by Herman Wouk. It follows the Henry family and their friends around the world during the war. In effect, it is a "sight-seeing" tour, in which we are shown the war from as many perspectives as the author can manage. It has been called a World War II version of War and Peace and both volumes were latter made into a TV miniseries .


Tropes used in The Winds of War and War and Remembrance include:
  • Absent-Minded Professor : Aaron Jastrow. While he could be pardoned for not believing rumors of the Holocaust, he could at least have figured out that being in Europe during a major war might not be be prudent.
  • Ace Pilot: Warren Henry is a pilot though not technically an ace.
  • America Wins the War: Not quite. But most of the main characters are Americans.
  • Ambadassador : Victor, in the first volume. In much of the second too.
    • Leslie Slote to some degree.
  • The Alcatraz: Auschwitz is a subversion. It's horror lies not in how hard it is to escape as in the things they do there.
  • Author Appeal: The author was a Jewish naval officer. The US Navy is really, really cool. Oppressing Jews is personal.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Asshole Victim: When Berel escapes from Auschwitz his pursuers are ambushed by partisans. They do not bother to take prisoners. For obvious reasons.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: The navy not only seconded personal as Redshirts but went so far as to lend them several retired warships for the miniseries. Though they were more then a bit peeved when one had to be really sunk.
  • Badass Boast: On the train to Auschwitz, Natalie rather pitifully says to herself,I am an American. Perhaps a subversion. As the author pointed out the hope of intimidating her way out was gone as no Nazi that low in the totem pole believed strongly enough in defeat even by then to want to look for exit strategies. However it would have been a grand scene if she had spat in a guards face with it. But she was to run down even to taunt.
    • Yet ironically in another sense it was true. Whatever happened her father-in-law had already avenged her even if he couldn't rescue her. And she is finally found by conquering GIs at the end of the war and put in a hospital.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Victor acts as this much of the time.
    • Slote has traces of this.
    • The Commandant of Auschwitz is an evil Badass Bureaucrat. The contrast between his craftsmanship and his evil is exceedingly creepy and well done. Wouk's Nazis are more frightening for not being stereotypes.
  • Badass Family: The Henrys.
  • Badass Grandpa: Victor. Literally as he is in fact a grandpa through much of the series.
  • Badass Israeli: Avram Rabinovitz is a Zionist fugitive smuggler.
  • Battle Couple: Byron and Natalie, notably during the Polish campaign when she starts to be his Love Interest. Victor and Pam, sort of.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: In the miniseries. Jane Seymour(Natalie) looks beautiful even in a concentration camp. Oh heck she looks especially beautiful in a concentration camp. And she manages to cry beautifully.
  • Big Bad : Adolf Hitler, obviously.
  • Bling of War: Not as blingy as War and Peace (obviously) but it does give a good account of itself. The best bling is in the awesome US naval and marine dress uniforms in the miniseries.
  • Blood Knight: Byron actually likes the siege of Warsaw. No accounting for taste.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Byron Henry is obviously brilliant, but introduced as directionless failed-art student.
  • Brits With Battleships
  • The Captain: Victor Henry
  • The Chessmaster: Roosevelt, according to von Roon, who credits him with a fiendish plan against Germany. Von Roon of course, thinks that when Germans do such things it is brilliant statesmanship.
  • Crapsack World: A zig-zag. In Nazi Germany it sure is unless you're a Nazi. Battlefields probably are unless you are a certain type of person. But for high class people there is plenty of partying and lots of ways to feel oneself important.
  • Cultured Warrior: Byron Henry is studying fine arts before the war. Possibly a subversion as he is a rather lazy and inefficient student.
  • Daddy's Girl: Pam follows her War Correspondent father all over the world.
  • Dirty Coward: Sonderkommandos, that is captives at Auschwitz who are promised their lives in return for herding other captives into the chambers and then gassed themselves when a new shipment of captives is scheduled to arrive. At least they are sympathetic as no one can know whether or not they would stoop to such a thing. Less sympathetic are the guards who need such distancing as if it somehow disinfects their dirty work.
  • The Ditz : Rhoda is a bit of one. She is more interested in fashion and partying then serious life, and one can almost suspect her of celebrity worship of Nazis just because they are running the parties her husband has to attend for diplomatic reasons. She has feelings of neglect that would be understandable in any wife and hard to blame her for. But she doesn't really seem to quite get that her husband is actually fighting monstrous people who are a threat to everyone.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: While residing at Jastrow's Italian Villa, they visit a local horse race. It is preceded by weeks of skulduggery in which different neighborhoods try to drug each other's horses and bribe each other's jockeys. Then there is a thrilling moment of pageantry. This deteriorates into a riotous brawl. An aged and naive Jew is almost trampled by a horse that gets loose. And a dashing young American naval officer restrains the horse. Aaron comments that it is a satire on European nationalism just in case the reader did not get the point.
  • Doorstopper
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Slote's death only gets a passing mention, after he goes through a lot of Character Development. And its stated that it was completely pointless from a military standpoint.
  • Due to the Dead: Tudsberry's El Alamein eulogy.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Warren at Midway.
  • Earth Is a Battlefield
  • Easily Forgiven: Rhoda, Victor's wife is rather charitably treated by poor Victor when she commits adultery. Especially as Victor managed to shrug off similar temptation.
    • Maybe that was the reason. He was thinking, "There but for the grace of God".
    • He finally does end up divorcing her. So maybe it was first played straight and then subverted.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret : The series contains graphic scenes of the Holocaust.
  • Enemy Mine: Aside from historical vagaries of geopolitics the most notable is Byron and Leslie. While they were never enemies and indeed friendly with each other they were competitors for the favors of the same woman who they spend the rest of the war both trying to rescue.
  • The Epic
  • Eucatastrophe: Byron, Natalie, and their son are reunited at the end.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good : Inverted. In this one good, excruciatingly, cannot comprehend evil. Truth in Television.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Auschwitz, complete with a black gate and searchlights that look like the eye of Sauron. And that was Truth in Television. If the Nazis were actively trying to make themselves look like caricatures of villains they couldn't have done better.
    • Paradoxically, Hitler himself seems to spend most of his time in charmingly rustic wilderness lodges. Except for all the generals and guards that are there, they are no different from some place anyone might want to take their love interest or their buddies to. Yes Hitler was human. He preferred having people he didn't like in evil towers of ominousness not himself.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Aaron quotes scripture in the gas chamber.
  • Fanservice: Inverted. It is absolutely not fanservice nor is it the slightest bit sexy. The scenes where naked victims are herded into a gas chamber would make some people become a Monk just to avoid being reminded of it again. Wouk did not go easy about that sort of thing. Nor did the producers of the miniseries.
  • Father Neptune: Victor Henry, the father and a naval officer.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Commandant of Auschwitz. At times his Banality of Evil is banal enough to give an ordinary person a sneaking suspicion that he might have been a war criminal.
  • Final Battle: Leyte Gulf
  • Forces With Firepower: Any belligerent.
  • Foregone Conclusion : Yes, the Allies won World War II . No, seriously.
  • Friendly Rival Lovers: Both Byron and Slote are rivals for Natalie (Byron wins and Slote moves on) but that does not create animosity. In fact they both cooperate to protect Natalie for all the good it does.
  • Fugitive Smuggler Crush: Rabinovitz gets a little of this for Natalie though he is too gentlemanly to make a big deal about it.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: Madeline Henry
    • In the Miniseries they regularly go to parties where classic forties tunes are played.
  • Glory Seeker: Victor has a little bit of this in him though you would not suspect it from his mundane personality. He wants few things more then a combat command. But he is willing to let others have the glory so long as his country has the victory and thus well deserves his name. In a way he is an everyman representing all the nameless people who worked without applause for victory.
  • Heroic Sociopath: Byron's submarine captain, Aster. Later Aster dies in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Historical Domain Character : Many
  • Humble Hero: Victor is perfectly willing to let others get the glory as long as the war is won..
  • Insufferable Genius: Von Roon, a German staff officer whom Victor translates years after the war. He is exasperatingly full of Moral Myopia(and even Moral Myopia about other people's Moral Myopia), contemptuous of his enemies, and determined to show in a very calm and professional manner how it was all everyone elses fault. After reading him, you dislike him not just as a Nazi, but as a person. That, of course, was the author's intention.
  • Intrepid Reporter: The Tudsberry's
  • It's All About Me: Hitler in the film version which was fairly close to life in that regard.
  • Iron Woobie: Natalie
    • She has more then a bit of Determinator as well. When GIs finally discover her in an abandoned cattle car, she is the only one of the DPs that is sitting even if in a fetal ball of misery. The rest are just laying down.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Slote, Natalie's former boyfriend helps her to get married to Byron, and even gives them his luxurious hotel room to spend their wedding night in, even though he still loves Natalie.
    • Slote is also devotedly loyal in trying to rescue a woman whom he has accepted will be married to another. In some ways this is basic decency but in World War 2 basic decency was often a hard thing to manage.
  • I Will Find You: Byron searches for Natalie in Europe.
  • I Am Spartacus: Leslie Slote, a normally timid diplomatic flunky is travelling with some neutral diplomats through German territory. When an SS officer demands to separate Jews from the group, Slote, with a gloriously imperious display appeals to international good manners. And then announces that either all of the group would be treated as Jews, or none.
    • Of course, as both Slote and the guards knew, "international good manners" are based on an unspoken assumption. The guards would not have been so mannerly to someone who was not traveling under the flag of a nation they were not authorized to offend.
  • La Résistance : Natalie becomes a member of this.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Repeatedly hammered home about Nazis.
  • Little Hero, Big War
  • The Load: Aaron Jastrow to Natalie. For heaven's sake Aaron, get out of Europe, don't be such an idiot!
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Including, Victor Henry, his wife Rhoda, his sons Warren and Byron, and his daughter Madeline. Also including a number of other important characters from an another family, as well as many a Historical Domain Character of the time.
  • Lovable Coward: Slote, though he eventually gets over his cowardice.
    • Reading the description of the first siege of Warsaw (the first in World War 2 anyway) from the poor guy's point of view is revealing though. You never again will doubt that War Is Hell.
    • Coward is a bit far. He only shows himself cowardly once when he panics under shell fire and that really did not interfere with his duties (except to make America look undignified in front of foreigners). He makes up for it by his I Am Spartacus moment a bit later and by being brave if not flamboyantly so, and hard working through most of the series.
  • Made a Slave: A common fate for those trapped in Germany with the wrong ancestry. Nazis are not nice people.
    • Technically Aaron and Natalie should have been interned and exchanged with America. But what is the US going to do? Declare war on Germany twice?
  • Mama Bear: Natalie will do anything for her son.
  • Married to the Job: Victor Henry.
  • Matzo Fever: Natalie Jastrow, the love interest(and wife) of Byron Henry.
  • May–December Romance: Between Victor and Pamela Tudsbury.
  • Meaningful Name: The head of a naval family named Victor?
    • The superstitious might wonder about giving a naval officer that name. It's kind of Tempting Fate.
      • Though of course, not only did he end up as the victor he got to rub it in by writing a translation of the vanquished point of view and adding in his snarky commentaries.
      • Byron, the Cultured Warrior(sort of) of the Henry family is named after a famous poet.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Natalie's uncle is a famous writer, and there are intellectual references throughout the work.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Due credit is given to the Russians.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits : And Byron actually smashes the false teeth of one of Madeline's boyfriends.
  • Nakama
  • Nazi Nobleman: Von Roon is a subversion. He is a "von" and you could not tell the difference between him and a member of the Nazi party by reading him except for minor details. But his official political sympathy is monarchist. For whatever the heck that is worth.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Holocaust with as many details as needed and no softening.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Subverted. On a submarine patrol Byron's captain sets up a shot on a ship with a red cross insignia. Byron asks permission to stand aside from this and take notes to report it to authority. Then the captain fires and the ship explodes massively, being an ammunition ship disguised as a hospital ship. It is not made clear how Byron's captain guessed or if he was just incredibly lucky.
    • In the miniseries the same captain shoots survivors of a troop transport in the water. To give him his due, those were the primary target and there was no way to take them prisoner. But Byron understandably finds it appalling.
  • Only Sane Man: In the book Von Roon is mostly a narrator who can give a rather disturbing imitation of a Wehrmacht General. In the miniseries however he serves as a peek inside Hitler's court and as an Only Sane Man.
  • Overt Operative: Victor spends the first part as a Naval Attache(polite term for an embassy's official spy)in Berlin. Justified in that the right to keep an "in-house" spy as long as he is not to obnoxious about it is common diplomatic custom. However he does little more exciting then going to VIP entertainments and taking notes. In so doing, he did manage to predict the German-Russian alliance.
  • Papa Wolf: Byron Henry even though he only saw his son once before the war ended.
  • The Patriarch :Victor Henry
  • Patriotic Fervor: Pretty much shown by everyone and true to period.
    • In the miniseries Natalie repeats to herself the mantra, "I am an American-I will survive" on the train to Auschwitz. That is not only a Tearjerker but in a way a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
      • In the book that comes off as a denial scene and is more pitiful then awesome. In the miniseries it comes off as a Determinator scene.
  • Porn Stache: One Nazi in the book version keeps a collection of women's underwear taken from camp victims. Only a Nazi would find that arousing. For once the miniseries skipped that part.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Von Roon objects to Hitler's "eccentric project" primarily because it is a waste of resources including some potentially fine troops.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Von Roon thinks only Germans are true warriors. When Germans lose it was "unfair".
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Victor is a good churchgoer. More in a "Respectable '40's American" sense then in a "fanatic" sense, but a very devoted Christian nontheless.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Aaron's kinsman Berel, with the underground manages to rescue Natalie's son from the "comfortable" facility they are kept in before they are scheduled for transportation to the East. Naturally he get's away with it. Who the heck is going to sneak into a concentration camp?
  • Run for the Border: Natalie spends a lot of time doing this.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying: Several times. One of the most memorable war-screwing parties was at Honolulu before the Battle of Midway. Another was a Sabbath held in a refugee-smuggling safe house. And then there is Byron and Natalie's wedding night.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In the miniseries there is Natalie. All the DP children Byron comes across searching for his son. One head of an orphanage advises Byron to visit orphanages in civvies because the children there can't bear to see a uniform. In one scene after D-day Von Roon visits the front to see a line of beat up German soldiers trickling back. He asks one to tell what it was like to receive the response that he had been at Verdun and Normandy was worse then Verdun.
  • Shown Their Work: Wouk devoted considerable effort to getting the details right.
  • Slave Liberation: When Natalie is discovered by Allied soldiers.
  • The Stoic: Victor. Kind of verges into Stoic Woobie at times.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Natalie and Aaron in Italy when America joins the war. Natalie and Byron after the fall of Poland.
  • These Hands Have Killed : Byron, in order to have an excuse to visit his wife and son in Europe gets a job inspecting captured German submarines. A Zionist agent who had protected his family is shocked at the idea of him working with former German submariners. Byron says that they were just professional naval officers. Whereupon the agent says "They're murderers". And Byron said, "So am I."
  • Those Wacky Nazis
  • Took a Level in Badass : Byron evolves from a rather lazy character into a submarine ace.
    • Leslie Slote originally appears as a diplomat, who's cowardly (or at least timid) and aware of it. After he finds evidence about the Holocaust, and can't do anything to help the Jews by diplomatic means, he eventually resigns and becomes a member of a paratrooper squad.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In the miniseries black people seem to show up mostly as servants. And yes unfortunately that was truth in television.
  • Unreliable Narrator : Von Roon. Fairly obvious given his former employers.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the film adaptation of War and Rememberance, Hitler has an exceptionally epic one when informed that Steiner could not muster reinforcements to come to Berlin's aid.
  • War Is Hell / War Is Glorious: Yes the book manages both. Not as uncommon as it sounds.
  • War Time Soap : The books are rather soapy in many ways.
  • We Have Become Complacent
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: In the last episode while Berlin is besieged Hitler continues to intimidate his courtiers even though his whole system has crumbled, they have nothing to be afraid of him anymore and they can save themselves and Germany a whole lot of trouble just by shooting him and disappearing into the ether without even bothering to take the responsibility for surrendering.
  • Worthy Opponent: While America is still neutral Victor comments to a German naval officer that he seemed so familiar a specimen of a naval officer that Victor might have met him in the last war. The German officer wryly replies "Maybe we did."
    • Von Roon generally has little good to say about Americans. He did however praise the abrasive Admiral King and the American leadership's moral courage in appointing him:King is said to have observed, "When things get tough they send for the sons of bitches". Alas when "things got tough" the Fuhrer sent for the sycophants.
  • Ye Goode Olde Days: Nostalgia for World War II? Come on. Yet we all know it exists and the book runs on it. To the point of having the cover decorated by a cluster of forties style family photos.
    • In the miniseries during parties they often play old forties hits on the jukebox.
    • However, despite that it is never hidden that these were a nasty time. After all the author is a Jew and so are several of the characters, and Jews did not have it so well then.
  • What an Idiot!: Aaron and Natalie continually refuse to leave Europe. Despite the fact that Byron even managed to find a way to track them down in the middle of the war.
  • Wicked Cultured: Two Nazis are shown negotiating over fine wine whether a batch of Jews should be exterminated or lent out to a work gang to cover up grave-pits along the roads. With no apparent acknowledgement of the incongruity.
  • World War II
  • Yanks With Tanks
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.