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File:The pacific 2621.jpg
"History is full of war, fought for a hundred different reasons. But this war, our war, I want to believe... I have to believe... that every step across that airfield, every man that's wounded, every man that I lose... that it's all worthwhile because our cause is just."
Captain Andrew "Ack Ack" Haldane

Produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks as the Spiritual Successor to Band of Brothers and/or Thin Red Line,[1] The Pacific is a ten-part miniseries that premiered on HBO beginning on March 14, 2010. It tells the story of the 1st Marines in the Pacific Theater through the eyes of three men: Robert "Lucky" Leckie, Eugene "Sledgehammer" Sledge, and John Basilone. From Guadalcanal, to Peleliu, to Okinawa, they experienced a war vastly different from the war their fellow countrymen fought in Europe.

Since The Pacific is mostly based on historical and personal recollections of these Marines, almost all of the tropes below are automatically an example of Truth in Television.

Examples of tropes found in this miniseries:

  • Actor Allusion: Accidental, but Simon (Leckie) sees how bastardly humans can get on a Pacific island.
  • American Accents: New Yorkers Joe Mazzello (Sledge) and Ashton Holmes (Sid) put on Alabama twangs; L.A. native Rami Malek (Snafu) adopts a Cajun drawl; Irish actor Martin McCann (Burgin) puts on a Texas accent (see also Fake American)
  • Anyone Can Die: With the exception of Leckie, Sledge and Basilone... right? The first victim is a Marine medic who went to take a leak and failed to present himself with the daily password and was killed by friendly fire
    • Actually, Basilone was killed in Iwo Jima by mortar fire. Most of his story comes from a book one of his men wrote
    • In Part 5, Bill "Hoosier" Smith is shot in the leg, and begins bleeding out. His last words to Leckie were "Bob, I'm sorry...". Lew "Chuckler" Juergens is also hit and presumed dead. Thankfully, both recover from their wounds
    • In Part 7, Lieutenant Edward "Hillbilly" Jones is killed in action; Captain Ack Ack dies later that episode
    • Chesty Puller can't die. We know from actual history that he lives to fight in the Korean War.
  • Artistic License: Some things are changed from historical accounts for dramatic effect. For example, Basilone was reported to have been killed instantly by mortar fire; in the series, he's shot instead and manages to remain conscious for a short moment
    • Actually, there's some contention as to how he actually died. Casualty reports say he was shot, and some Marines agree with this, while others claim he was killed by mortar shrapnel
    • Leckie and Sledge never met, though they're shown discussing religion in Part 5
    • A lot of the minor things that happened in the memoirs are shifted to different people than who really said/did them, or happen at a different time in the campaign. It's (arguably) an understandable move on the writers' part, considering the Loads and Loads of Characters, since they wanted to flesh them out as much as possible
    • Stella never existed, and her entire story was fabricated by the writers. Leckie actually spent most of his time in Australia dating a number of women.
  • America Wins the War: In Australia, the network that airs the series advertised it heavily as "The Fight for Australia". This annoyed many (overly-) patriotic Australians.
    • Or those who didn't fail history and know that Australia was never in any real danger anyway --- in fact, the diversion of scarce resources and the further stretching of dangerously over-extended and over-taxed supply lines required for a doomed-to-fail invasion of Australia could have sped the war up a little.
    • Basilone's friend J.P. Morgan plays this straight: an Australian soldier tries to start a fight with him and Basilone about the fact the Marines are on liberty in Melbourne, dating Australian women and occupying the city, while disrespecting their recently deceased comrade Manny Rodriguez:

 J.P. Morgan: If it wasn't for us, you'd be chugging sake with a pair of chopsticks up your ass, you stupid fuck!

  • Awesome Yet Practical: The miniseries is grounded in Real Life, yet this does not prevent it from having many awesome moments
  • Badass: Pretty much everyone
    • Basilone, in particular, stands out: the man led a squad of 15 men and held off a regiment of 3,000 Japanese soldiers, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
    • The grizzled veteran Sergeant Elmo "Gunny" Haney in the Peleliu episodes. In one, he takes out a Japanese soldier by stomping on his guy, knocks him out with his gun, before pulling out a knife and stabbing the guy in the back of the head
    • Basilone proves in Part 8 that badassery is not dependent on circumstances: it is just something that you are
      • He posthumously was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions on Iwo Jima and was the only enlisted Marine in the war to be awarded both the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross.
        • Badass of the Week has an article on the real man — to make a fictional version of him at least not Badass would be folly.
  • Based on a True Story: Not just the series itself, but Basilone gets his own comic book to help sell war bonds. Lampshaded in the series by Hoosier when a replacement asks if they did anything in Guadalcanal that Basilone did in the comic:

 "We all did stuff like that, but with less grimacing"

  • Beach Episode: Not necessarily the entire episode, but at the end of nearly every battle the Marines return to the beach for a little "R n' R". Subverted with episode three, wherein they relax and do everything BUT go to the beach.
  • Bedlam House: A very benign one, filled with shell-shocked Marines.
  • BFG: Basilone's Browning heavy machine gun. Which he lugs around and fires from the hip. Yep, he's that badass.
    • He even melees a few guys with it.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The Marines are the protagonists, but the series doesn't shy away from showing some of the heinous acts some of them did and racial epithets are used liberally. Brutal battlegrounds don't exactly encourage the best behavior from people. The only thing keeping the Japanese on the "black" side of the equation are acts like using civilians as suicide bombers and human shields, as well as historical knowledge that Imperial Japan performed atrocities which were much, much worse.
  • Blood Knight: A lot of characters act like this the closer they get to an irredeemable act. In Part 10, Sledge is asked what sort of things he learned as a Marine that could be used in civilian life. He says the only thing he knows how to do is kill the enemy
  • Book Ends: The relatively "peaceful" landing on Guadalcanal in Part One where everyone lands safely is contrasted sharply with the hellish landing in Part 5 where Marines are being shot and blown up left and right
  • Boot Camp Episode: Surprisingly, it comes near the end of the series when Basilone ships back stateside to train new recruits.
    • This wasn't an actual boot camp episode as the Marines being trained had already been through Boot Camp and were receiving training before being shipped to the Pacific.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Leckie has a Adult Child-like crush on his childhood neighbour Vera Keller, but they're barely friends, though they do get together and get married after the war; he also gets along great with the Aussie Stella and her family, but she dumps him because she's worried about what her parents would have to deal with if he died
    • R.V Burgin has an Australian girlfriend named Florence, whom he brings home to Texas after the war to marry
  • Breather Episode: The Marines rest in Australia in Part 3, but it's not restful for everyone
  • California Doubling: Australia doubles for all the locations in the series, including California
  • Cluster F-Bomb: On The Colbert Report, Tom Hanks warned viewers there would be a lot of objectionable words
    • He also said you'll feel like a big pussy while watching this
  • Colonel Badass: Lieutenant Colonel Lewis "Chesty" Puller. Yes, that guy actually existed
    • Chesty Puller is still considered a badass by today's Marines, and at Parris Island they end their day by saying, "Good night Chesty Puller, wherever you are!" He's also the most decorated Marine in the history of the Corps. He had five Navy crosses, more than anyone has received ever. The only medal for valor that he was not awareded is the Medal of Honor, and some speculate that's he didn't receive this award because he didn't kiss ass and he refused to play political games.
      • Though pretty much everything that came out of his mouth proved he was a badass, he famously said this about being surrounded during the Korean War:

  "We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people and killing them."

  • Crowning Moment of Funny: "Woof." In-show, as well
  • Darker and Edgier: Many people have noted that The Pacific is much more brutal and less romantic than its predecessor Band of Brothers. Band of Brothers wasn't a picnic but The Pacific went much more into the horrific conditions of the Pacific Theater and the mental and emotional scarring afterwards. Given that the Pacific Theater was more brutal overall, this is justified.
  • A Death in the Limelight: The eight episode, which focuses on John Basilone's time as a Drill Sergeant later in the war and meeting his future wife. He's killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima at the end.
  • Death World: Pavuvu in the rainy season, which Leckie fake-translates as "Death of Hope"
    • Okinawa makes Pavuvu look like a fun place to be. All you had to worry about were crabs in your boot, not bodies floating to the surface
    • Or finding a corpse in the foxhole you've spent hours digging
    • The literal desert island of Peleliu was also pretty much death incarnate. Always fun to have no local drinking water at all!
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The black servants that the elder Sledges have are definitely not politically correct in 2010... but it's also pretty much historical fact for the time period (not to mention straight up historical fact for Sledge's family) so they were included for the sake of authenticity.
  • Did Not Do Research: Mostly Okinawa. While they got the conditions right (It was essentially a muddy hellhole), the geology wasn't. Okinawa is a coral limestone based island in a sub tropical environment. Much of the fighting took place in what looked like something you'd find in the Rocky Mountains (sandstone and pine trees). The crew wasn't actually allowed/able to film on Okinawa, though, and that geography is pretty rare otherwise, so this one can be forgiven.
    • In the dinner scene with Stella's family, Leckie answers her family's Greek toast "Sláinte", a Irish word meaning "health", often said at toasts. This is appropriate, given that the real Leckie came from an Irish family, and the actor's pronunciation is almost correct, but the subtitles render it as "Slanche".
  • Dissonant Serenity: Snafu's usually deadpan calm whether he's just shooting the breeze or prying gold teeth out of a dead Japanese soldier's mouth. When Sledge admits he's scared and Captain Ack Ack states "We're all afraid; all of us. A man who isn't scared out here is either a liar or dead", a quick shot of Snafu makes you wonder what that makes him
    • He also manages to sound calm about things when it's apparent that he really isn't. When Snafu talks Sledge out of taking up his own habit of prospecting for gold teeth among dead Japanese soldiers, his warning about "diseases that'll make you sick" is less his worrying about hygiene and more a cover to let him express his concern about the comparatively idealistic Sledge starting down the same road he's traveled
    • Despite everything, Okinawa almost breaks him: he nearly starts a fight with Sledge, who's probably the person he's closest to, and it's only after Peck climbs up on an exposed ridge and fires at the enemy and Hamm is shot saving him that he seems to go back to his usual self. Even then, there's still a slight change in his demeanor.
      • Probably has something to do with the fact that he was indirectly the cause of death for two people when he tricked Peck into giving him his poncho (Peck later took the poncho covering the mortar shells, getting them wet and causing another Marine to be shot when they had to run for more ammo) and later when his whining sets off Peck
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Basilone back at Camp Pendleton.
    • Sort of. His men didn't hate him, and instead most were in awe of him because of what he had done on Guadalcanal, and understood that everything he was drilling into them was for their own good. And we can't forget him telling his men it's okay to be afraid, something most DSN wouldn't do.
  • Driven to Suicide: "Frenchie", a Canadian soldier. Bonus horror for being stark naked when he shot himself in the head. At least he was clean when he died...
    • Disturbed Marine Ronnie Gibson, who is brought off Pavuvu, wishes Leckie (who wants to return to his men) good luck as best he can:

 "I hope for you it's quick — a sniper shot to the head — so you don't have to worry about ending up like me."

  • During the War
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Basilone at Iwo Jima, where his actions helped get the men off the beach and saved many lives
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Arguably Leckie, who promised to write to Vera. While he didn't send any written letters, believing he wasn't going to make it through, he returned home and married her.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: When Leckie goes through the pouch of a Japanese soldier and finds mementos of the man's family.
    • He also gets an Empathy Wedding Band Shot.
  • Everybody Smokes: Although Sledge only starts after he'd seen combat. Interestingly, he opts out from cigarettes to using an old-fashioned pipe by Part 9
  • Fake American: In the same way Band of Brothers had many British actors playing this, there are some American soldiers that Australian viewers might recognize. The biggest example is Gunny Haney, played by veteran Australian actor Gary Sweet. Another example is the Seabee looking to buy a Japanese sword or weapon, also played by an Australian actor known through the Australian drama Sea Patrol.
    • Burgin is played by Martin McCann, who's Irish, and Bill Leyden's played by a Canadian actor. There are also a few other British and Canadian actors playing Americans.
    • Lew "Chuckler" Juergens is portrayed by Australian actor Josh Helman.
  • A Father to His Men: Captain Ack Ack has proven to be this more than once. Unfortunately, he's killed off-screen by a Japanese sniper in Part 7. While they're lowering his body out on a stretcher, most of the men in his platoon can be seen crying and/or saluting. Even Merriell "Snafu" Shelton's seen holding back tears
  • Flashback Nightmare: Possibly the first war "film" this troper's seen where people have these during battle (see Shoot the Dog)
  • Foreshadowing: You just know that when Sledge's father makes his final plea to stop his son from enlisting, every one of the poor old man's fears would come to pass (see War Is Hell)
    • During the Peleliu Landing, the Marine manning the .50 Caliber gun on Leckie's landing craft has his one of his hands shot off. Later in the episode, Leckie steps on a severed human hand.
  • Get It Over With: The last survivor of the ill-fated Japanese assault in episode 1.
    • Marks the definitive end of Sledge's New Meat status.
  • Good Looking Privates: Dear God, ALMOST EVERY ACTOR IN THIS SERIES
  • Heroic BSOD: What, in addition to nocturnal enuresis, gets Leckie off Pavuvu, where he meets some other shell-shocked Marines.
    • The Marines' commander during their first battle on Guadalcanal
    • In Part 7, Gunny Haney goes through one after Lt. Hillbilly is killed, and later on Sledge's platoon when they learn Captain Ack Ack is dead. Hell, Part 7's basically one long, drawn-out BSOD for Sledge as he goes through Peleliu
    • Basilone's platoon when he's killed by machine gun fire in Part 8
    • After returning home, Sledge breaks down crying while dove hunting with his father, presumably because of the memories it brings back
      • More that that: the Real Life Sledge states he told his father he could no longer tolerate seeing any form of suffering, be it a wounded dove he had to kill during a hunt
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sledge falls into this after fighting the Japanese through Peleliu and Okinawa, but by the end of Part 9, when he runs into a group of New Meat Marines with the same 'Kill Em All' attitude he had at the beginning, he starts to recover.
  • Hollywood Sex: Averted with Leckie and Stella's first sex scene.
    • Basilone has the literal kind on his war bond tour, with his (presumably famous, but un-named) actress co-star. Makes me want to go out and earn a Medal of Honor.
      • Actually, she is named. It's Virginia Grey.
  • Honor Before Reason: Lampshaded in Part 4, following an attack:

 Runner: 100 [Japanese] against 1,200 [Marines]. They're either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.

Leckie: Or just really fucking hate us.

  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: A second lieutenant during firing practice points his pistol other than the direction of downrange. Gunny immediately takes the pistol away from the lieutenant and berates him for not knowing basic gun safety. When said lieutenant looks at Ack-Ack, he merely responds with "He's right".
  • Imperial Japan: Natch: it's the Pacific Theater
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Averted hard
  • Improvised Weapon: Basilone using his 33-pound crew served machine gun as a melee weapon against a Japanese soldier he runs into unexpectedly in Part 2
  • Infant Immortality: Brutally averted, with special emphasis going to Part 9, particularly when the desperate Japanese soldiers use an Okinawan woman carrying a crying baby as a living bomb. Played straight in the same episode, when Sledge and Snafu find the baby in the hut they shelled earlier.
  • The Insomniac: Nighttime bombings by the Japanese took a toll. As Gibson puts it: "They murdered sleep"
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Inverted between Leckie and his Australian fling Stella.

 Leckie: You're breaking up with me because you think I'm going to get killed?

  • It Will Never Catch On: A dinner guest at Leckie's house scoffs at the thought of buying a television.
  • Insult Backfire: In the second episode, the Marines manage to capture some propaganda papers from the Japanese. They portray the Marines as pscyhos recruited from prisons and asylums for their savagery and brutality, which causes them to break out in cheers.
  • Ironic Echo: A cruel one. In episode nine, Sledge says that they're here to kill Japanese, so what does it matter how they do it or why? This is thrown right back in his face at the end of the episode after he comforts a dying wounded civilian who is then brutally killed by replacement Marines, who unwittingly give him the same line.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Any frigging time it's quiet is too quiet.
    • This even includes "safe" areas like hospitals and home, where it's only a matter of time before the Flashback Nightmares start
  • It Gets Easier: Lampshaded all around. However...
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: The opposite still holds; Real Life Marines state they never got over their shellshocked experiences in the Pacific Theater. Played cruelly straight in-series with Sledge getting a nightmare the first night he returns home
  • I Will Fight Some More Forever: The Japanese army. Sadly, this is quite historically accurate; surrender was a nonexistent word in the IJA doctrine and retreat wouldn't get you any nods either, never mind the battlefield situation.
  • Kill'Em All: Frighteningly invoked by Sledge in Part 9.

 Sledge: We were all sent here to kill Japs, weren't we?! What the hell difference does it make what weapon we use?!

    • These very words come back to haunt him at the end of the episode.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Snafu tricks Peck into trading his new poncho for his old, holey one by claiming the new ones are "covered in chemicals". This comes back to haunt them when Peck switches his busted-up poncho for the one covering the mortar rounds, getting them wet and then getting a guy killed when they get more ammo
  • Man On Fire: A number of Japanese soldiers are seen on fire after being attacked by flame-throwers
  • Mercy Kill: Leckie gives a Japanese soldier who's going through a major breakdown one, upsetting the Marines who were toying and taking potshots at him.
    • The sick Japanese soldiers in Part 4, one of whom is strangled to death by Gibson, who then starts grinning; awkwardly, but still...
    • Snafu does this when another Marine's trying to pry the teeth out of a still living Japanese soldier's mouth in Part 7. Although he claims it's not so much this trope as making things easier for the Marine because the teeth are easier to get out if they're dead
      • All Snafu says is that it "Makes it easier". He doesn't say what is easier, but it is implied that he's referring to removing the teeth. Sub-text seems to be that dehumanizing the enemy makes it easier to fight.
    • Sledge, teetering on the edge of committing a war crime (again) after witnessing the Japanese soldiers using civilians as human shields and living bombs, opts not to mercy kill a dying Okinawan woman (who was wounded when he ordered a mortar round into her house) by shooting her in the head like she wants; instead, he cradles her until she dies
  • Macho Masochism: Semi-invoked by Basilone's brother George in Part 5. When pestered by George for any advice on the battlefield, John simply tells his brother not to play this trope straight...for a reason
  • Male Frontal Nudity
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Subverted with Sledge, who is unashamed that he retained his virginity all through the war.
  • Name's the Same: J.P. Morgan doesn't appear to have any relation to the famous financier.
  • Narrator: Tom Hanks in the prologues
  • The Nicknamer: Snafu nicknames Eugene "Sledgehammer". When Leyden speaks up about this, Snafu dubs him the following:

 Snafu: "Don't worry; we have a nickname for you, too, Bill Leyden: we call you "Ball-Peen Hammer". Like a little hammer... for a little man."

Leyden: "Alright, Snafu..."Shit 'n Ass"..."Fuck Up"..."

Snafu: "Little jokes from the little man."

  • New Meat: In Part 9, two new privates join the platoon's mortar squad after Jay's mysteriously transferred out to a different company. Sledge and Snafu are initially hostile towards them, mainly due to their inexperience when it comes to fighting the enemy and dealing with the elements
    • Though Hamm's very competent, after witnessing the horrors of what happened with the civilians he is emotionally distraught about it, yet capable to handle himself. In fact, Snafu tries to befriend him but when draftee Peck cracks while Snafu and Sledge are arguing and starts firing at the Japanese, Hamm is killed after dragging Peck to safety. Snafu takes it really hard emotionally and Sledge tells the MPs to get the now broken Peck out of his sight in so many words
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Surprisingly, the series is not particularly Anvilicious in this regard. Most of the really bad stuff that goes down happens by accident. However, chalk one up for the Japanese by using booby-trapped civilians and one up for the Americans for shooting a defenseless kid who may have been a soldier but was certainly unarmed.
  • The Oner: Used in effect by following Sledge through the Peleliu beach landing in Part 5
  • One-Scene Wonder: He's only in a few episodes, but Gary Sweet as the Gunny is a pure comedy/badassery package every second he's on screen.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Merriell "Snafu" Shelton. His real name is only said twice in the series: once by Sledge, who was fighting with him at the time, and once by Snafu himself, while trying to pick up a girl.
  • Rare Guns: Basilone's seen with a Reising submachine gun in Part 2. The gun is rarely seen in most WW 2 fiction
  • Semper Fi: And how
  • Senseless Sacrifice: The narrator and the Real Life Marines state after General MacArthur decided not to use Peleliu as a forward base to retake the Philippines, the Marines feel their fight, where they suffered from thirst and took horrendous casualties, was cruelly wasted
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Sledge; he's lucky his father knew what to expect and was extremely sympathetic about it
    • Hell, every Marine who saw combat in this series counts as one. In the beginning of Part 10 when they're interviewing the Marines' families, their wives and children state they dealt with what happened to them in the Pacific for their entire life. One daughter even admits to having vivid memories of waking up to her father's screams in the middle of the night when she was a kid
  • Shoot the Dog: Not the actual dog on Peleliu, but one shellshocked Marine has a nightmare/freakout that could've alerted the Japanese to their positions, and is accidentally killed by his comrades (they only wanted to knock him out). The rest of the platoon's mortified at their actions, but Sledge states it was "better him than all of us"
    • Okinawa is MADE of this trope
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In the end, after suffering horrific casualties and losing Captain Ack Ack, the Marines find out that taking Peleliu was completely pointless. General MacArthur invaded and reconqured the Phillipines ahead of schedule, negating the need for Peleliu as a forward operating base. The island was never used for a major operation during the entire war.
  • Shout-Out: . during John and Lena's wedding, Lena complains that she feels 'like a Paratrooper' in her long silk dress. Lt. Harry Welsh actually carried his white silk reserve shoot through Normandy for over a month and then sent home to his fiancée Kitty so she could use it to make a wedding dress, which was mentioned in the series.
  • Small Reference Pools: Whereas Band Of Brothers left the context of battles like Carentan and Bastogne to a few lines of in-universe dialogue, The Pacific began its episodes with a mini-history lesson explaining both the location and the greater tactical importance of the campaigns in question. Your Mileage May Vary on how necessary it was for the producers to do this, but it still stands that (until the swan song battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa), the 1st Marines' major fights aren't as universally well-known as the 101st Airborne's major fights
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Subverted with Leckie and Stella, who does not fall pregnant despite their brief and torrid love affair.
  • Southern-Fried Private: Sledge and Sidney, both Mobile, Alabama natives
  • Spiritual Successor: To Band of Brothers, the miniseries version of Saving Private Ryan.
  • The Squad: There are two that are the main focus of the series:
    • H Company - Leckie, Chuckler, Runner, and Hoosier
    • K Company - Sledge, Snafu, Jay, Burgin, and Leyden
  • Stand Your Ground: Most of the Guadalcanal campaign but particularly the night battle during which Basilone earns his Medal of Honor.
  • Talkative Loon: "Captain Midnight", a patient in Part 4, who flies an imaginary plane while pacing around at night in the ward
  • Tank Goodness: Since Japanese tanks are outdated in design, they are woefully outclassed against American armor, most prominently the Sherman tank
    • Iwo Jima's a different story, all together: AT guns set up on Mount Surabachi destroyed most of the tanks that hit the shore, much to Basilone's dismay.
  • True Companions: This series basically defines the trope.
  • The Unfavorite / "Well Done, Son" Guy: It's either that or Leckie's parents really don't know about human emotions: when Leckie leaves for the army, his father doesn't seem to know how to show emotion about it, and when he finally returns home, it's treated as an inconvenience by his parents, as they've been using his room for storage
    • Leckie states outright in Part 3 that he's the least favorite child and his parents never really wanted him. Also, he had an older brother who died at a young age and ever since then, his parents had a hard time showing affection
  • War Is Hell: The entirety of The Pacific is basically this.
    • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The show generally manages to keep this to a minimum, at the very least. Everything is so brutal, so muddy and shitty, and just so goddamned miserable that it is in no way glorious or jingoistic. The only real exception are scenes involving John Basilone, and, well, the guy was inspiring to his own in in real life, so it's hard for him to not come across as completely amazing. Even he gets unceremoniously cut down at the end of episode 8, though, to the horror of just about everyone, his men included.
  • War Was Beginning: invoked in a "where were you when..." way.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Invoked by a Marine to Sledge and Snafu as they're standing with drawn weapons over a crying baby in a house they bombed, killing or mortally wounding its family, Sledge to a seemingly New Meat who kills a young, helpless Japanese soldier he'd just decided to spare seconds earlier:

 Sledge: "He's just a kid!"

Marine: "A Jap's a Jap!"

  • What You Are in the Dark: "You guys are heroes back home"
    • Also the darker side of this trope with the number of Marines who perform brutal atrocities during the campaign.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: At the end of Part 10, almost every character in the series gets one. Their post-war lives are are explained, along with fading photos of the actors to wartime photographs of the Marines they played. Also counts as a total Tear Jerker
    • Also sad because you find out the majority of the characters have already died of old age, since the show debuted in 2010, nearly seventy years after Pearl Harbor.
  • While You Were in Diapers: Basilone tries to make his trainees understand how tough an enemy the Japanese are. "The Jap I know--the Japanese soldier--he has been at war SINCE YOU WERE IN DIAPERS!"
  • Why Am I Ticking?: The poor, poor Okinawan mother and child.
  • World War II: Obviously