Nixon completes a very macho ascent of some Austrian stairs and notes, "We'll be comfortable here." He's referring to a multi-storey building on the water -- a stunning location for their battalion headquarters and a stark contrast to the broken buildings Easy used in "The Last Patrol," at which time the simple fact of a roof and some walls seemed like Earth's greatest paradise.
Inside an ornate room, two high-ranking German officers stand opposite a seated Winters; one table separates them. Yes, it's time for our favorite segment -- the one in which opposite sides of the conflict see something human in each other and make forced, awkward comments about What Will Happen Next in their not-so-dissimilar lives. You've seen this type of segment before. It's everywhere. I saw it at the grocery store last week buying Hamburger Helper and some Midol. "I wonder what will happen to us, to people like you and me, when there are finally no more wars to occupy us," Herr Moralizer intones thickly. Winters regards him silently, then orders Herr Moralizer to have his men collect all their weapons and deposit them at the village's church, school, and airfield. Stony-eyed, Herr Moralizer whips out his sidearm and chokes, "Please accept this as my formal surrender, Major. It is better than to lay it on the desk of a clerk." Winters decides not to deprive the man of his weapon, which ignites a respectful glow in the eyes of the German colonel. The men salute each other.
Nixon struts into a makeshift screening room, where soldiers watch news footage of the war in the Pacific. It paints an extremely grim picture of the Okinawa battles, calling the slow progression there "one of the fiercest artillery barrages of the war." Dramatically, the soldiers there are described as showing true grit in the face of a suicidal enemy that's slowly being forced into a retreat. "The going is brutal, the casualties are high," the film tells us, adding that Okinawa "is the next big step to victory over Japan." Then, the sly propagandists share that this battle will only be won by "work, war bonds, and heroic sacrifice," but I'm sure not in that order, because we all know that only war bonds can truly win a global battle. Buy today and get a free FDR travel alarm clock.
When the film ends, the men grouchily disperse. Speirs voices what everyone is thinking, asking Winters when the 101st will deploy to Japan. Winters isn't sure yet, and notes that some of the men will have accrued enough points to go home instead of back into battle. "Not many, if their only medal is a Purple Heart," Nixon points out. Winters nods, noting that most of the officers should have enough. "Each of us will have to decide what to do," he says curtly. He then dons his Boss Pants and orders up a grueling regimen of physical training to prepare both the veterans and replacements for a return to action. "They're gonna love you," Nixon smirks.