Why We Fight
Band of Brothers episode 9.JPG



Preceded by:

"The Patrol"

Followed by:



Lewis Nixon


Occupation of Germany

"Why We Fight" is the 9th episode of Band of Brothers. It follows Easy Company partaking in the occupation of Germany, as well as liberating a Nazi Concentration Camp, all seen through the eyes of Captain Lewis Nixon.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Easy Company is finally in Germany and are pushing the Germans back further than ever. Nothing could be better; some soldiers are already saying the war is over. Captain Nixon, however, has become pessimistic. His men die jumping in to the occupied country and things back home aren't looking bright for him either. But Nixon and the others soon find out there is something more sinister in the dark, and they soon realize the Nazis are worse than they'd ever dreamed.

Plot summary[edit | edit source]

The episode opens with Easy supervising the cleanup of a German village; local German citizens are removing the rubble of houses and buildings from the street. A string quartet is playing a somber piece by Beethoven. Luz, Perconte, Liebgott, Webster, and Randleman are sitting on the second floor of a house overseeing the progress when Nixon joins them.

A flashback shows Easy arriving in Germany, near Munich. Captain Lewis Nixon returns to his unit obviously upset; he had made a combat jump with the 17th Airborne division, and his plane was destroyed shortly after he jumped, killing all the paratroopers on board. While Nixon reflects angrily on the unenviable task of informing the families of the men who were killed, Winters confronts his friend about his excessive drinking. He also informs Nixon that he will be demoted. A replacement, Patrick O'Keefe, is sent to an outpost with Sgt. Perconte. O'Keefe hasn't seen any combat and his positive, upbeat attitude offends the hardened Perconte who lashes out harshly in a verbal tirade. Nixon also informs Winters and Speirs that President Franklin D. Roosevelt has died back in America. The next day, Nixon receives a letter from his wife; she is asking him for a divorce.

The company is sent to Landsberg, Germany, where they set up Battalion HQ and oversee the surrender of 300,000 German soldiers. Nixon enters a German house uninvited and breaks a picture of a German officer (Wolf Kahler); the man's wife is in the house and is frightened when she spots him. Sgts. Randleman, Christenson, Perconte, and Luz are sent out on patrol, taking O'Keefe with them. Perconte asked Luz if the woods reminded him of Bastogne. On the edge of the woods they discover a German concentration camp. Perconte races back on foot to Landsberg to find Winters.

Winters and the rest of the company arrive on the scene and see first hand the horrific conditions the prisoners have been subjected to. Liebgott translates the account of one prisoner who tells them that they are all Jews (musicians, clerks, artists, teachers) and were considered "undesirable" by the Germans. All the prisoners are near death or starving, many more are dead and corpses litter the area, lie dead in shacks where they were quartered, or are stuffed into rail cars. Easy rushes back into the village of Landsberg and gathers food and water for the survivors & distributes it to them. However, they are stopped by Col. Sink and the battalion surgeon, who tell them that the survivors need to be closely monitored during their recovery. The prisoners are forced to remain inside the barbed wire fence of the camp, to prevent them leaving the area and scattering without proper medical treatment, an announcement which Liebgott is ordered to make and does so with great reluctance.

That evening, back at battalion HQ, Winters tells Nixon that camps like the one they found are being uncovered all over Eastern Europe. Winters speaks of a camp ten times larger that was liberated a few weeks before by the Russian Army. He also says that local Germans will participate in the cleanup operations, which will begin the next morning, and will involve the exhumation of Jewish bodies and the disposal of them. One of the women involved in the cleanup is the same woman whose house Nixon had entered uninvited.

The episode returns to the moment where the German village is being cleaned up. Nixon announces to his fellow Easy members that Hitler has committed suicide, but the war is not over yet. Easy Company has been ordered to the Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden. Webster bitterly says Hitler should've killed himself three years ago and saved everyone the trouble. Nixon agrees but since Hitler didn't, they must move out.

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