War and Remembrance
War and Remembrance is a novel by Herman Wouk
Herman Wouk
Herman Wouk is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author of novels including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.-Biography:...

, published in 1978, which is the sequel to The Winds of War
The Winds of War
The Winds of War is Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first being The Caine Mutiny . Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance; originally conceived as one volume, Wouk decided to break it in two when he realized it took nearly 1000 pages just to...

. It continues the story of the extended Henry family and the Jastrow family starting on 15 December 1941 and ending on 6 August 1945. This novel was adapted into a mini-series presented on American television in 1988. Wouk was the screenwriter as well as the author of the original book.


War and Remembrance completes the cycle that began with The Winds of War
The Winds of War
The Winds of War is Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first being The Caine Mutiny . Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance; originally conceived as one volume, Wouk decided to break it in two when he realized it took nearly 1000 pages just to...

. The story includes historical occurrences at Midway, Yalta, Guadalcanal, and El Alamein as well as the Allied invasions at Normandy and the Philippines.

The action moves back and forth between the characters against the backdrop of World War II: Victor (Pug) Henry takes part in various battles while separating from his wife. Pug's older son Warren, a naval aviator, and younger son, Byron, a submarine officer, also participate in combat. Warren is killed at the battle of Midway
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

. Byron's wife Natalie is trapped in Axis territory with her uncle, celebrated author Aaron Jastrow, and another major strand focuses on their story as Jews caught in Europe. Like most Americans, Natalie and Aaron fail to believe that the civilized German culture with which they are familiar could possibly engage in genocide. As a result of their rash decision to stay when they could escape, they gradually get absorbed into the Jewish population that is first interned, then sent to concentration camps. As Byron attempts to find out what is happening to them, eventually tracking them down amidst the chaos of wartime Europe, the story of the Holocaust is gradually revealed to the American government and people.

The Henrys

  • Victor Henry — the main protagonist, becomes captain of the heavy cruiser
    Heavy cruiser
    The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range, high speed and an armament of naval guns roughly 203mm calibre . The heavy cruiser can be seen as a lineage of ship design from 1915 until 1945, although the term 'heavy cruiser' only came into formal use in 1930...

     USS Northampton
    USS Northampton (CA-26)
    USS Northampton was a heavy cruiser in service with the United States Navy. She was the lead ship of her class and commissioned in 1930...

     after his prospective command, the battleship
    A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

     USS California
    USS California (BB-44)
    USS California , a Tennessee-class battleship, was the fifth ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 31st state. Beginning as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, she served in the Pacific her entire career. She was sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor at her moorings in Battleship Row,...

    , is sunk at Pearl Harbor
    Attack on Pearl Harbor
    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

    . He commands the ship until late 1942, when at the Battle of Tassafaronga
    Battle of Tassafaronga
    The Battle of Tassafaronga, sometimes referred to as the Fourth Battle of Savo Island or, in Japanese sources, as the , was a nighttime naval battle that took place November 30, 1942 between United States Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy warships during the Guadalcanal campaign...

    the cruiser is sunk by Japanese long-range torpedoes. Henry is not faulted for the loss of his ship, but instead of receiving another naval command at once, is sent back to the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     to observe the effects of Lend-Lease
    Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

    ; he observes the Siege of Leningrad
    Siege of Leningrad
    The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

     and the privation of the Soviet home front. From there, he is used by Harry Hopkins
    Harry Hopkins
    Harry Lloyd Hopkins was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration , which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country...

     as an observer. In the novel, he assists in the Tehran Conference
    Tehran Conference
    The Tehran Conference was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943, most of which was held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference amongst the Big Three in which Stalin was present...

     of 1943, and then serves as a troubleshooter for landing craft production. In this capacity, he travels to Oak Ridge, Tennessee
    Oak Ridge, Tennessee
    Oak Ridge is a city in Anderson and Roane counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, about west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge's population was 27,387 at the 2000 census...

    , and is forced to work with Colonel Harrison (Hack) Peters, his rival for Rhoda's love.

Henry obtains a promotion to rear admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

 in early 1944. During this period, Rhoda obtains a divorce and Henry is able to marry Pamela. He does not do so until after he takes part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf
Battle of Leyte Gulf
The Battle of Leyte Gulf, also called the "Battles for Leyte Gulf", and formerly known as the "Second Battle of the Philippine Sea", is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history.It was fought in waters...

 as a battle force division commander under Admiral William Halsey, whose flag is in USS Iowa
USS Iowa (BB-61)
USS Iowa was the lead ship of her class of battleship and the fourth in the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 29th state...

. The novel goes into this battle in greater detail than does the miniseries, including discussion of the most commonly perceived of Halsey's operational mistakes.

Victor marries Pamela in April 1945. Upon the death of President Roosevelt, President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 makes him his naval aide.

Victor is a straightforward, honest man, which gains him the respect of political leaders such as Roosevelt and Hopkins, and the admiration of Hack Peters.

The novel notes that Henry retired from the Navy and lived in Oakton, Virginia
Oakton, Virginia
Oakton is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the United States. The population was 29,348 at the 2000 census. The ZIP code is 22124.-Geography:Oakton is located at...

 (near Washington) after the war. He spent part of his retirement translating Armin von Roon's book, and from his notations and commentary, he can be deduced to still be alive as of 1973.

  • Rhoda Henry — The war, and their time apart, puts a strain on Victor Henry's marriage to Rhoda. She ends her relationship with Palmer Kirby, only to fall in love with Harrison "Hack" Peters, an army colonel. Both the novel and the miniseries show her drinking problem getting worse. Victor, meanwhile, becomes more attracted to Pamela Tudsbury.

  • Warren Henry — Victor's son continues to serve as a naval pilot
    Naval Aviator
    A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

     until his death on the last day of the Battle of Midway
    Battle of Midway
    The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

    . He scored a hit on one of the Japanese carriers in the first day of the battle and his rear gunman damaged one Zero. His death affects the Henrys deeply. Victor's thoughts parallel the lament of King David for his son, Absalom.

  • Byron Henry — Byron starts the war as an officer on the fictional USS Devilfish. When the captain, Branch Hoban, breaks down under the strain of an attack, the executive officer, Carter "Lady" Aster takes over and leads the attack. Aster becomes commander of the ship, with Byron his executive officer
    Executive officer
    An executive officer is generally a person responsible for running an organization, although the exact nature of the role varies depending on the organization.-Administrative law:...

    . While on leave in Hawaii
    Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

    , Byron is aware that Janice, his brother's widow, is acting strangely. He does not know that she is having an affair with Aster.

Byron wants to see Natalie; when possible, he wangles duty in the European theater. He serves as a courier to the U.S. mission to Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 and tries to get Natalie to leave with him. She refuses on the grounds that while they could cross Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 in a war in 1939, they didn't have Louis. Byron and Natalie agree that Natalie and Louis and Aaron should wait to get a passport from the US consulate in Marseilles while Byron travels direct to Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 and book a room. Byron arrives in Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 just as Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

 begins, and the plan has to be scrapped.

Byron returns to the Pacific theater and rejoins Aster on the fictional USS Moray. Aster is severely wounded while on deck during an air attack and to save the ship, orders Byron to submerge without him. (This event did occur to Commander Howard W. Gilmore
Howard W. Gilmore
Howard Walter Gilmore was a submarine commander in the United States Navy who received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic self-sacrifice during World War II.-Early Life and Career:...

 of the USS Growler
USS Growler (SS-215)
, a Gato-class submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy named for the growler, a large-mouth black bass. Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 2 November 1941 , and commissioned on 20 March 1942 with Lieutenant Commander...

 (SS-215) on February 7, 1943. Gilmore was awarded the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

). Byron is later awarded command of the USS Barracuda.

As a Naval Reservist
United States Navy Reserve
The United States Navy Reserve, until 2005 known as the United States Naval Reserve, is the Reserve Component of the United States Navy...

, Byron feels mixed about his role in the war. He is competent, but doesn't enjoy fighting. However, in one engagement, he is forced to surface and fight a battle against a Japanese destroyer. When told he will win the Navy Cross
Navy Cross
The Navy Cross is the highest decoration that may be bestowed by the Department of the Navy and the second highest decoration given for valor. It is normally only awarded to members of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard, but can be awarded to all...

, he replies, "Killing Japs gave Carter Aster a thrill. It leaves me cold."

Shortly before the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Byron visits his father aboard his flagship. The meeting is strained, because Byron blames Pamela for the breakup of his father's marriage. Later, his sister, Madeline, straightens him out about the causes of the breakup; he and his father become reconciled.

In April 1945, Natalie is found in Weimar, Germany. Byron presses the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, for an assignment in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 so he might be reunited with his wife. He is assigned to investigate the technical details of captured German U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

s and leaves for Europe to join his wife, now recovering in a hospital, and to find his son, Louis. After a long search throughout Europe, Byron reunites with Louis, who was in an orphanage, only to find Louis is so traumatized he will not talk. However, when he reunites Louis with Natalie, Louis begins to sing with her. This occurs on August 6, 1945, the date of the first use of the atom bomb in warfare.

  • Janice Henry — The wife of Warren Henry. After the death of Aster she disappears from the miniseries; in the book she is given a few sentences more. Janice ends up with a politician.

  • Madeline Henry — Victor and Rhoda Henry's daughter; wife of Simon Anderson.

The Jastrows

  • Aaron Jastrow — Aaron Jastrow is urged by the German government to broadcast Axis propaganda
    Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

    ; when he refuses, he leaves his villa in Siena
    Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

     and escapes to Vichy France. When Vichy is occupied following the Allied landings in Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

     in November 1942, Jastrow is interned with the U.S. diplomatic group. He is tricked into staying behind and is sent to Theresienstadt with Natalie and Louis. He is forced to become a member of the Council of Elders
    Council of Elders
    Council of Elders may refer to:In politics:* Global Elders, a humanitarian group referred to in media as the Council of Elders.* Council of Elders of the Bundestag , a joint deliberative body...

     by Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

    , then to take part in the beautification
    Beautification is the process of making visual improvements to a person, place or thing. With regard to a town, city or to an urban area, this most often involves planting trees, shrubbery, and other greenery, but frequently also includes adding decorative or historic-style street lights and other...

    , a Potemkin village
    Potemkin village
    Potemkin villages or Potyomkin villages is an idiom based on a historical myth. According to the myth, there were fake settlements purportedly erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigory Potemkin to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787...

     ploy to convince the Danish Red Cross that conditions are excellent in the camp. When his usefulness is ended, he is taken to Auschwitz, killed in the gas chamber
    Gas chamber
    A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used...

    s and his body cremated with millions of other Jews. However, despite the degradation of his body, Jastrow's soul
    A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

     is rekindled with what it means to be a Jew. He leaves behind a diary
    A diary is a record with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. A personal diary may include a person's experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings, including comment on current events outside the writer's direct experience. Someone...

    , A Jew's Journey, which is quoted throughout the book.

  • Berel Jastrow — Berel, Aaron's cousin, is captured with the Red Army in 1941 and sent to Auschwitz as a prisoner of war
    Prisoner of war
    A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

    . He is transferred to a work kommando led by a Jew named Sammy Mutterperl, who is planning to escape with evidence of the murder of the Jews at Auschwitz. The kommando's task is to cover up the early massacres of Jews, and to insure that Germany benefits from any items of value the victims were carrying during the early, "crude" killings. This involves digging up the corpses, searching them, then burning all traces of the bodies. After the horrors of endless exhuming of the dead, and cremating the half-decayed corpses Sammy goes wild, grabs a weapon and kills five German guards, before the remaining guards kill him. Berel, shortly after, escapes and joins the Czech
    Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

    Resistance movement
    A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

     in Prague
    Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

    . He slips into Theresienstadt (the "Paradise Camp
    Paradise Camp
    Paradise Camp is a 1986 documentary about Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Unlike other Holocaust camps, Jews entered Theresianstadt willingly, even eagerly, because Nazi lies led them to believe it would be a peaceful retreat. The deception continued even after it was clear...

    ") when he learns that his cousin Aaron and his niece Natalie are there, and later enables Louis Henry to escape. At the end of the book, there is a suggestion that he is killed while coming to retrieve Louis Henry from the Czech farmer he originally hid him with. Berel is the moral center of War and Remembrance. He bears witness to the worst acts of the Nazis, while still managing to maintain his deep Jewish faith and his love for his fellow men.

  • Natalie Jastrow Henry — along with her son and uncle, travel through various routes across Europe, trying to get home while evading the German government. She refuses a chance to escape with Byron in 1942, then ends up in Theresienstadt. She becomes a member of the Zionist underground, and only when threatened with the murder of Louis does she agree to take part in a beautification for the benefit of Red Cross inspectors. Another uncle, Berel Jastrow, enables Louis to get out of the ghetto
    A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

    . Natalie is sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in the same transport as her uncle, but survives and is sent to recover in a U.S. military hospital. She and Byron reunite, and Byron then locates Louis and brings him to Natalie as the book ends. Having an American with American sensibilities first try to escape from Nazi-dominated Europe, and then to experience the worst of the Nazi charades and horrors, is a very effective way for Wouk to bring home to a modern audience just what the war against the Nazis was all about, and the terrible plight of those the Nazis hunted down and exterminated.(Natalie's name is a play on characters. In Russian, she would be Natasha [diminutive of Natalia] Yastrova: i.e., Natasha Rostova
    Natasha Rostova
    Countess Natalya "Natasha" Ilyinichna Rostova is a central fictional character in Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace.-Biography:...

    , the heroine of Tolstoy's War and Peace
    War and Peace
    War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature...



  • Leslie Slote — At the beginning of the war, Slote is attached to the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

    . He receives a photographed copy of the Protocol for the Wannsee Conference
    Wannsee Conference
    The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

     from a German opponent of Hitler. Slote devotes himself to trying to prove to the American government what the Nazis are doing to the Jews but his superiors refuse to believe it, both on logistics and the idea any civilization could do something so monstrous. When the State Department proves to be apathetic, he resigns and becomes a member of the OSS
    Office of Strategic Services
    The Office of Strategic Services was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency...

    Operation Jedburgh
    Operation Jedburgh was a clandestine operation during World War II, in which personnel of the British Special Operations Executive, the U.S...

     paratroopers. He parachutes into France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     to help the resistance, and is killed in an ambush.

  • Armin von Roon — The fictional Brigadier General Armin von Roon serves as a member of the German OKW, in direct contact with the Fuehrer, and seeing the gradual deterioration of Hitler as the war goes worse for Germany. Von Roon flies from Berchtesgaden
    Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps. It is located in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich...

     to Normandy to observe the German reaction to the Normandy invasion, but finds that Hitler rejects his observations. Von Roon is wounded in the July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler
    July 20 Plot
    On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The plot was the culmination of the efforts of several groups in the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi-led German government...

    ; he walks with a cane for the remainder of the miniseries. Von Roon's character is sent on various fact-finding missions in the novels, and his memoirs serve as a useful dramatic device to explain facts to the reader.

In April 1945, von Roon is assigned the role of operations officer for the defense of the Zitadelle
Spandau Citadel
The Spandau Citadel is a fortress in Berlin, Germany, one of the best-preserved Renaissance military structures of Europe. Built from 1559–94 atop a medieval fort on an island created by the meeting of the Havel and the Spree, it was designed to protect the town of Spandau, which is now...

 in the Battle of Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

. Toward the end of the battle, he is ordered by Hitler to assist and oversee Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

 in a demolition effort
Nero Decree
The Nero Decree was issued by Adolf Hitler on March 19, 1945 ordering the destruction of German infrastructure to prevent their use by Allied forces as they penetrated deep within Germany...

 intended as a scorched earth policy to destroy Berlin, leaving nothing for its conquerors. Both men, however, are unwilling to carry out the order, because of the effect it would have on future Germans. Speer eventually confesses that he disobeyed. Speer is pardoned for his earlier services, while von Roon is forgiven because he has been nothing but loyal. In the end von Roon has the duty to inform Adolf Hitler that the Zitadelle can hold only 24 hours more (in real life, von Roon's commander, General Krebs
Hans Krebs (general)
Hans Krebs was a German Army general of infantry who served during World War II.-Early life:Krebs was born in Helmstedt. He volunteered for service in the Imperial German Army in 1914, was promoted to lieutenant in 1915, and to first lieutenant in 1925...

, did this); and he is a witness to Hitler's farewell, suicide, and cremation
Death of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler committed suicide by gunshot on Monday, 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker in Berlin. His wife Eva , committed suicide with him by ingesting cyanide...


Von Roon is sentenced to 21 years in prison for war crimes (presumably by the Nuremberg tribunal
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

) and writes Land, Sea, and Air Operations in World War II, which is translated (by Victor Henry) as World Holocaust. Von Roon presents the German viewpoint on events; Henry, as translator, provides a rebuttal when required.

  • Harrison "Hack" Peters — Peters, a colonel
    Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

     in the Army, meets Rhoda Henry and falls in love with her. His work on the Manhattan Project
    Manhattan Project
    The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

     coincidentally forces him to work with Victor Henry, who is vigorously pursuing the specialized parts needed to build landing craft for the assault on hostile beaches in Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

    , Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     and France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    . Since Victor is aware of Peters' romance with Rhoda, it is a very strained relationship. Peters marries Rhoda in late 1944.

  • Simon "Sime" Anderson — Anderson, a naval lieutenant, works on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

     and marries Madeline Henry.

  • Alistair Talcott "Talky" Tudsbury — Tudsbury is in Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

     when the Pacific war breaks out. He speaks about the possibility of the island falling in a subversive BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     broadcast, then leaves on the last boat. Tudsbury is killed by a landmine in the aftermath of the Battle of El Alamein
    Second Battle of El Alamein
    The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

    . A fictional correspondent's report, Sunset at Kidney Ridge, reflects on the decline of the British Empire
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

    ; it serves roughly as the emotional midpoint of the book.

  • Pamela Tudsbury — serves as assistant to "Talky" Tudsbury (her father) until his death, then finishes his final report afterwards. She is engaged to two men (RAF pilot Ted Gallard and Lord Duncan Burne-Wilke) during the war, but loves Victor Henry throughout and pursues him. Near the end of the war, they marry.

  • Phil Rule — a dissolute British journalist, a former flame of Pamela Tudsbury. His main contribution is to provide a sarcastic commentary on the decline of the British Empire.

  • Air Vice-Marshal Lord Duncan Burne-Wilke — A career RAF officer, he becomes engaged to Pamela Tudsbury in 1942. He dies of pneumonia soon after she breaks off the engagement in 1944.

Historical characters

  • Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

     — As a speaking character, Hitler appears in the miniseries in a more prominent role than the novel.
  • Erwin Rommel
    Erwin Rommel
    Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

     — Again, because of the requirements of television, Rommel plays a more prominent speaking role in the miniseries than in the novel. The story of Rommel's death becomes a dramatic element in the miniseries.
  • Claus von Stauffenberg — The plot against Hitler, including von Stauffenberg's placing of a bomb, is more prominent in the miniseries than in the book, because of the visual drama.
  • Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

     — Eichmann appears in two sections of the novel and miniseries. In both cases, life for the Jastrows becomes worse. In the first, he orders Dr. Werner Beck, a German diplomat and Aaron Jastrow's former student, to figure out a way to convince the Italian authorities to deport Italian Jews into German control. In the second scene, he and a crony beat and bully Jastrow into accepting a position as a figurehead elder in Theresienstadt. An error in the mini-series is that Eichmann appears in 1944 as a full SS-Colonel (SS-Standartenführer) when, in reality, Eichmann never rose above the rank of SS-Obersturmbannführer
    Obersturmbannführer was a paramilitary Nazi Party rank used by both the SA and the SS. It was created in May 1933 to fill the need for an additional field grade officer rank above Sturmbannführer as the SA expanded. It became an SS rank at the same time...

    (Lieutenant Colonel
    Lieutenant colonel
    Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

  • Harry Hopkins
    Harry Hopkins
    Harry Lloyd Hopkins was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration , which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country...

     — Hopkins represents the person who carries out Roosevelt's grand policies.
  • Winston Churchill
    Winston Churchill
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

     — General Eisenhower appears in the miniseries, and briefly towards the end of the novel, when he and Capt. Henry discuss aspects of the Normandy landings.
  • William Halsey — Admiral Halsey's operational mistakes late in the Pacific war are discussed.
  • Harry Truman
    Harry S. Truman
    Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

    - Becomes President upon the death of Roosevelt. He appoints Pug as his naval aide near the end of the movie.
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