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War and Remembrance is a novel by Herman Wouk, published in 1978, which is the sequel to The Winds of War. 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 article mainly describes the mini-series interpretation presented on American television in the 1980s. Wouk was the screenwriter as well as the author of the original book. This mini-series is now available on DVD with supplementary material.

Plot summary

War and Remembrance completes the cycle that began with The Winds of War. 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 Pug's younger son Byron, a submarine officer, also participate in combat. Warren is killed at the battle of Midwaymarker. 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 possible 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.

Characters in War and Remembrance

The Henrys

Henry obtains a promotion to rear admiral in early 1944. During this period, Rhoda obtains a divorce and he is able to marry Pamela. He does not do so until he takes part as a battle force division commander under Admiral William Halsey, with his flag on the USS Iowamarker during the Battle of Leyte Gulfmarker. 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 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 Northern Virginiamarker after the war. He spent his retirement translating Armin von Roon's book.

  • Rhoda Henry (played by Polly Bergen) — 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 an army officer. Both the novel and the miniseries show her drinking problem getting worse. Victor, meanwhile, becomes more attracted to Pamela Tudsbury.

  • Warren Henry (played by Michael Woods) — Victor's son continues to serve as a naval pilot until his death on the last day of the Battle of Midwaymarker. 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 (played by Hart Bochner) — 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 (played by Barry Bostwick) takes over and leads the attack. Aster becomes commander of the ship, with Byron his executive officer. While on leave in Hawaiimarker, 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 and tries to get Natalie to leave with him. She refuses on the grounds that while they could cross Polandmarker 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 Marseillesmarker while Byron travels direct to Lisbonmarker and book a room. Byron arrives in Portugalmarker just as Operation Torchmarker begins, and the plan has to be scrapped.

Byron returns to the Pacific theater and rejoins Aster on the fictional USS Barracuda. Aster is severely wounded in an air attack and to save the ship, orders Byron to submerge. (This event did occur to Commander Howard W. Gilmore of the USS Growler (SS-215) on February 7, 1943. Gilmore was awarded the Medal of Honor).

As a Naval Reservist, 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, 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 so he might be reunited with his wife. He is assigned to investigate the technical details of captured German U-boats 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 (played by Sharon Stone) — 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 (played by Leslie Hope) — Victor and Rhoda Henry's daughter; wife of Simon Anderson.

The Jastrows

  • Aaron Jastrow (played by John Gielgud) — Aaron Jastrow is urged by the German government to broadcast propaganda; when he refuses, he leaves his villa in Sienamarker and escapes to Vichy France. When Vichy is occupied following the Allied landings in Africa in November 1942, Jastrow is interned with the U.S. diplomatic group. He is tricked into staying behind and is sent to Theresienstadtmarker with Natalie and Louis. He is forced to become a member of the Council of Elders by Adolf Eichmann, then to take part in the Beautification, a Potemkin village ploy to convince the Danish Red Crossmarker that conditions are excellent in the camp. When his usefulness is ended, he is taken to Auschwitzmarker, killed in the gas chambers and his body cremated with thousands of other Jews. However, despite the degradation of his body, Jastrow's soul is rekindled with what it means to be a Jew. He leaves behind a diary, A Jew's Journey, which is quoted throughout the book.
  • Berel Jastrow (played by Topol) — Berel, Aaron's cousin, is captured with the Red Army in 1941 and sent to Auschwitz as a prisoner of war. 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 underground in Praguemarker. He slips into Theresienstadtmarker (the "Paradise Camp") 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 (played by Jane Seymour) — 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 Theresienstadtmarker. 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. Natalie is sent to the Auschwitzmarker 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 the heroine of Tolstoy's War and Peace ).


  • Leslie Slote — At the beginning of the war, Slote is attached to the U.S. Embassy in Switzerlandmarker. He receives a photographed copy of the Protocol for the Wannsee Conferencemarker 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 is true, both on logistics and the idea any civilization could do something so monstrous. When the State Departmentmarker proves to be apathetic, he resigns and becomes a member of the OSS Jedburgh paratroopers. He parachutes into Francemarker to help the resistance, and is killed in an ambush.
  • Armin von Roon (played by Jeremy Kemp) — 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 Berchtesgadenmarker to Normandy to observe the German reaction to the Normandy invasionmarker, but finds that Hitler rejects his observations. Von Roon is wounded in the July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler; 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 succinctly.

In April 1945, von Roon is assigned the role of operations officer for the defense of the Zitadellemarker in the Battle of Berlin. Toward the end of the battle, he is ordered by Hitler to assist and oversee Albert Speer in a demolition effort 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, did this); and he is a witness to Hitler's farewell, suicide, and cremation.

Von Roon is sentenced to prison for war crimes (presumably by the Nuremberg tribunalmarker) 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 (played by Mike Connors) — Peters, a colonel in the Army, meets Rhoda Henry and falls in love with her. His work on the Manhattan Project 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, Italymarker and Francemarker. 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 and marries Madeline Henry.
  • Alistair Talcott "Talky" Tudsbury — Tudsbury is in Singaporemarker when the Pacific war breaks out. He speaks about the possibility of the island falling in a subversive BBC broadcast, then leaves on the last boat. Tudsbury is killed by a landmine in the aftermath of the Battle of El Alameinmarker. A fictional correspondent's report, Sunset at Kidney Ridge, reflects on the decline of the British Empire; it serves roughly as the emotional midpoint of the book.
  • Phil Rule (played by Ian McShane) — 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 (played by Michael Elwyn) — A career RAF officer, he becomes engaged to Pamela Tudsbury in 1942. He dies of pneumonia after she breaks off the engagement in 1944.

Historical characters

  • Adolf Hitler — As a speaking character, Hitler appears in the miniseries in a more prominent role than the novel. He is portrayed by British actor Stephen Berkoff.
  • Erwin Rommel — 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 — 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 (Lieutenant Colonel).
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt — played once again by Ralph Bellamy, who played Roosevelt in The Winds of War and Sunrise at Campobello.
  • Harry Hopkins — Hopkins represents the person who carries out Roosevelt's grand policies.
  • Winston Churchill — played in this film by Robert Hardy, who had previously played the part in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years and The Woman He Loved, and would subsequently play the part once more in Bomber Harris.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower — 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. The role of Eisenhower was played by American acting legend E.G. Marshall.
  • William Halsey — Admiral Halsey's operational mistakes late in the Pacific war are discussed. Played in the film by Pat Hingle.
  • Harry Truman - Becomes President upon the death of Roosevelt. He appoints Pug as his naval aide near the end of the movie.

Television adaptation

Since Wouk was happy with the Winds of War adaptation, he allowed Dan Curtis to adapt the sequel as well. The story became a successful mini-series on the ABC television network in 1988, in which several main characters were played by different actors than in The Winds Of War. The series at the time was praised as stunning, but long (Some critics referred to it as "the War that Never Ends.") It had to be broken into two segments, chapters I–VII and VIII–XII ("The Final Chapter") with a combined running time of about 30 hours. Former concentration-camp internee Branko Lustig was a producer on the series. The visual design and cinematography was praised for its unflinching presentation.

A major sponsor of the miniseries was Ford Motors. Another was Nikemarker.

Depiction of the Holocaust

The series broke ground in its depiction of the Holocaust. Curtis himself first had to get ABC to promise him that he would be able to show the full brutality and horror of the Holocaust without being edited. The crew also got permission to shoot the Auschwitz scenes on location.

The main Holocaust scenes include

  • A mass slaughter of Jews and Czechs outside Praguemarker by machine-gun fire, carried out by an Einsatzgruppemarker.
  • An introduction to the Auschwitz-Birkenau-camp and its commander Rudolf Höss where they carry out decision to test Zyklon B first on a group of 900 Soviet POWs. After the test, Höß and one of his subalterns sit down for a drink. The subaltern asks, "Suppose Germany loses the war?" At this point, both men gulp down their Schnapps.
  • A visit of Heinrich Himmler to Auschwitz in May 1942. This gruesome sequence followed the procedure from the arrival of the Jewish victims in trains to the disposal of the bodies, with extreme violence and nudity. This segment was also shown without commercial interruption. After the successful completion of this "special action," Himmler gives Höß a field promotion from Sturmbannführer to Obersturmbannführer.
  • The building of the crematorium in Auschwitz.
  • Aktion 1005, the German attempt to cover all traces of mass executions in the East by digging up the graves and burning the bodies.
  • The Babi Yarmarker massacre.
  • The Theresienstadt concentration campmarker is featured prominently in the "Final Chapter" episodes. It had been designed as a concentration camp that could be shown to the Red Crossmarker, but it was really a Potemkin village: attractive at first, but deceptive and ultimately lethal, with high death rates from malnutrition and contagious diseases, and it ultimately served as a way-station to Auschwitz-Birkenaumarker.
  • A long sequence shows the travel by train from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, the arrival, the final selection, and the death in the gas chamber of Aaron Jastrow.

There were general criticisms levelled against the series. For instance, that the star Robert Mitchum, while able and well cast, was by now too old at 71 for the May–December romance between his character and Pamela Tudsbury. He himself remarked that the sequel to Winds Of War should be filmed sooner rather than later since he wasn't getting any younger. In the novel he would have been approximately 50, having served on destroyers in the Atlantic during World War I. Still, his star power balances the grim subject of the European theatre. He also provided needed continuity in the series, which suffered from a number of significant personnel changes.


Several actors were changed between The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Actor John Houseman played Aaron Jastrow in Winds of War, but was too frail for War and Remembrance's lengthy production schedule. He died of spinal cancer in 1988, the year W&R was broadcast. He was replaced by John Gielgud. Jane Seymour was cast as Mrs. Natalie Henry in place of Ali McGraw after Seymour campaigned for the role and made a screen test. Dan Curtis was struck by her performance and immediately cast her in the vital role. Because the miniseries was shot out of sequence, producers could not cut Jane Seymour's hair for the scenes in the concentration camp. Make-up artists took shears to a full scalp wig for her to wear for those scenes instead. The actor Jan-Michael Vincent, who played Byron Henry in the Winds of War, was busy in American television series as an action lead (Airwolf). It is hinted in the featurette on the Winds of War DVDs that Vincent's drinking made him difficult on set. He was replaced by Hart Bochner. Other major replacements include Sharon Stone as Janice, Leslie Hope as Madeleine, Michael Woods as Warren, Robert Morley as Alistair Tudsbury, Barry Bostwick as Aster and Steven Berkoff replacing Gunther Meisner as Adolf Hitler.

Making the miniseries

This huge two part miniseries was said to have been the 'last of the miniseries.' War and Remembrance had a multi-year production timeline, and it took over ABC's broadcast schedule for two one-week periods in 1988 as well as 1989. Miniseries had been major events on American television, reserved for 'important' stories like Jesus of Nazareth (1977) and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1968). Shortly after this period, cable television began the fragmentation of the US broadcasting audience in earnest, leaving War and Remembrance as the last of the giant miniseries. In previous years, there were only the Big Three broadcasting networks in the United States, ABC, NBC and CBS.

The former's decision to dedicate two weeks of its broadcasting schedule to War and Remembrance was a big financial investment. It became the costliest single-story undertaking in US television, costing $104 million and totalling 30 prime-time hours.

Filmed from January 1986 to September 1987, the 1,492 page script by Earl W. Wallace contained 2,070 scenes. There were 757 sets: 494 in Europe, including Francemarker, Italymarker, Austriamarker, Yugoslavia, Switzerlandmarker, West Germanymarker, Englandmarker, and Polandmarker, and 263 in the United Statesmarker (including Hawaiimarker) and Canadamarker. There were 358 speaking parts in the script; 30,310 extras were employed in Europe and 11,410 in the United States. It was the first film production granted permission to film inside the Auschwitz concentration camp. Scenes set in Russiamarker were filmed in Montrealmarker in temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero Celsius.

Members of the US Army, stationed in Berchtesgarden, Germany, at the time of the filming were hired as extras for some of the Eagle's Nest (Kehsteinhaus) scenes. The battleship USS New Jerseymarker was used for filming.


War and Remembrance received 15 Emmy Award nominations and won for best miniseries, special effects and single-camera production editing. The miniseries was nominated for Emmy Awards for best actor (John Gielgud), actress (Jane Seymour) and supporting actress (Polly Bergen). John Gielgud and Barry Bostwick both won Golden Globe awards.

See also


External links

MPI Home Video: 6 Disc Set, Parts I-VII plus Bonus Material of a 12 part series.The Final Chapter: 6 Disc Set, Parts VIII-XII plus Bonus Material

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