Poland is not yet lostUsually, when someone fights, it's for a reason. Sometimes it's for patriotism or to fulfill an ideal. Sometimes it's to protect something or someone. And sometimes it's for some sort of compensation. The motivation of fighting solely for monetary gain is generally not treated as sympathetic. However, when the compensation is more than simply money, that can change. This group of people lost their homeland and has been seeking it ever since. Perhaps it was destroyed, or they were exiled, or they were on the losing end of a war. Whatever the reason, they want someplace to call home. Preferably their original home, but they might choose not to be picky. And they'll do just about anything for someone who can promise them that home back. They often have no one but each other. As a consequence, their commander is often A Father to His Men, and they are True Companions. (But not in more cynical stories.) Compare with The Promised Land, which is what the characters in the work will view this future homeland as. Not to be confused with fighting for your homeland. Contrast Eagle Squadron, where you have even more idealistic motives.
So long as we still live.
What foreign powers have stolen from us,
We shall retake with a sabre.
So long as we still live.
What foreign powers have stolen from us,
We shall retake with a sabre.
—First verse of "Poland is Not Yet Lost", national anthem of Poland
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Anime & Manga
- The war for the Palace in the last quarter of the original ElfQuest series is an odd mix of fighting for a new and old home. The Palace is the original "home" of the first elves that came to the world, yet the elves who now fight for it were born long after their ancestors were driven from it. Until recently they did not even know that it existed, and even while they fight for it they don't know what it is.
- In the Elektra trade, The Scorpio Key, HYDRA apparently hopes to find a permanent home in Iraq under the auspices of sympathetic dictator Saddam Abed Dasam (a Captain Ersatz of Saddam Hussein).
- A Crown Of Stars: After Third Impact, Shinji and Asuka's world got overrun with dictators and thugs warring over the ruined wastelands and the starving masses. With the help of the Avalon Army, both pilots and the rest of characters of the Evaverse are fighting to reconquer their world from dictators and warlords.
- Blazing Saddles. Although they aren't mercenaries per se, the railroad workers are willing to help the people of Rock Ridge against Hedley Lamarr's troops.
Sheriff Bart: And all they ask in return is a little plot of land they can call their own to homestead.
- A rare evil version in Man of Steel. Zod & Co. want to recreate their lost homeworld on Earth, even if it involves genocide on a massive scale.
- Older Than Feudalism This is the plot of Xenophon's Anabasis. And it's Truth in Television, since Xenophon's March actually happened.
- The Golden Company in A Song of Ice and Fire. Made up of exiles, their one true dream is to be able to return to Westeros, the country of their ancestor's origin, and make a home for themselves. They're portrayed as fairly honorable for mercenaries, having never until recent events broken a contract.
- The Tedral Mercenaries in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series are a example of a less honorable company. When their own homeland was conquered, they became mercenaries to raise money to get the land back. Over the years, the goal went from the land to any land. They are also the largest group of mercenaries not represented in the Guild (why yes, mercenaries have a guild. They may fight for money, but they do have professional standards), because they aren't willing to just settle for cash anymore. (That was part of the reason Karse hired them in Exile's Honor—Karse didn't care what happened to Valdemar as long as the Heralds were out of the way, and Valdemar is routinely treated as the holy grail of farmland.)
- Valdemar itself was founded by a group of political refugees from the Eastern Empire.
- The Kaled'a'in also briefly play this role in Mage Wars after the destruction of their homeland by the Cataclysm. Split into three groups, one by distance and the other two by irreconcilable differences over the role of magic in their lives, they each go in search of a new homeland. Each does eventually find what they seek, and it's revealed in increments over Mage Winds and Mage Storms that all of this was deliberately engineered by the gods in an attempt to set up the conditions to avert the return of the Cataclysm three thousand years later.
- Hammer's Slammers by David Drake. When Hammer first formed the Slammers he did so on the understanding that the mercenaries would be granted citizenship on the planet they were hired to defend. Their employers reneged on the promise so he took the unit off planet and turned it into one of the top mercenary units in the galaxy. However, they always remembered the broken promise and waited patiently for a chance to finally get a homeland for themselves.
- In one short story Colonel Hammer comes home and takes over as a military dictator.
- The sci-fi novel White Wing by Gordon Kendall has humanity joining a Color-Coded for Your Convenience Federation fighting an evil alien race responsible for the destruction of Earth. All the good colors were already taken, so the homeworld-less Terrans got stuck with the non-color of White, hence the title. Terrans in the novel are all warriors sworn to avenge the destruction of their homeworld and mercenaries earning money to terraform 'Wing Moon' into a New Earth.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, Gaunt rescued the regiment from Tanith shortly before it was destroyed. Gaunt explains that he was promised the first planet that he conquered in the crusade and offers to let them all muster out there. (Alas, it looks like Failure Is the Only Option; the new bosses will never let Gaunt conquer a planet, or admit it if he did.)
- Jerry Pournelle's Falkenberg's Legion story Sword and Scepter. After securing the freedom of the planet New Washington, the title legion receives a land grant from the government to settle down.
- The Reveal of the Frederick Fosyth novel The Dogs of War is that the titular mercenaries conquered Zangaro to give the dispossessed tribe they fought for in the prologue a home rather than deliver it to the Corrupt Corporate Executive who hired them.
- The dwarves in The Hobbit are on a quest to reclaim their ancestral kigndom, taken centuries ago, from the dragon Smaug.
- The arrival of the Edain in the west and their alliance with the elves in The Silmarillion. They are escaping what is implied to be the servants of Morgoth in their old lands.
- In the Warrior Cats series, first there's SkyClan, after they are exiled from the other Clans when their territory is destroyed by humans. Then it's all the other Clans, many, many years later, when the rest of the forest starts to be torn down. At least the other Clans had a general idea of where to go based on a sign from their deceased ancestors; SkyClan had no clue.
- The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress has the Lunar ex-cons and their descendants fighting their jailers and the entire Earth for recognition as an independent entity. The revolutionary cabal starts the whole thing for ecological reasons and pushing the patriotism button is a key part of the plan. However, most Loonies just think of Luna as "the rock", a prison, not something to be loved. It takes pretty harsh treatment by the Authority to get the Loonies revved up enough to fight and die, but by the end, even Prof is teary-eyed and dreaming of Lunar flags blowing in the breeze...
- Dabog has the Earth Alliance soldiers treat their upcoming surprise invasion of the Lost Colony Dabog in this manner, their opinion of the Dabogan colonists being something along the lines of "Who cares what they want? They owe us!" Each soldier and Space Navy officer participating in the attack is promised resettlement to Dabog. The unannounced invasion starts with the nuking of two major Dabogan cities. When the Dabogans manage to successfully rout the invading forces, the Earth Alliance fleet admiral order the planet thoroughly nuked as a lesson to the other colonies, sparking a decades-long Galactic War.
Live Action TV
- The Drakh in Babylon 5 claim to be this, a race whose homeworld was destroyed in the Shadow War, willing to fight for the Minbari in exchange for a new home. They're only lying about the "willing to fight for the Minbari" part.
- This trope is what Battlestar Galactica is all about when it comes down to it.
- In the backstory of Defiance, the Votan races lost their homeworlds when their star system was destroyed in a cataclysm 5000 years ago. After arriving to Earth in the 21st century, they discover that Earth is populated by a sentient race who isn't too thrilled about making room for millions of new arrivals. Initial attempts at a peaceful resolution (including giving the Votan races a plot of land in Brazil) failed due to extremism on both sides, quickly escalating into the global Pale Wars. The Votan races were indeed fighting for this trope. Specifically, they (mostly the traditionalist Castithans) fought to retain their cultural identity, while humans expected them to assimilate. After the Arkfall and the end of the Pale Wars, the Votanis Collective personifies this dream, while remaining the enemy of the Earth Republic.
Myth & Legend
- Virgil's The Aeneid is about Trojans looking for a new home—and doing a good bit of fighting along the way.
- The Bible has an example in The Book of Numbers, concerning the Promised Land. When the Hebrews doubted God for the tenth and final time by refusing to fight the Canaanites, they were sent back into the wasteland for forty years. The next generation conquered the Midians and Canannites and claimed the land around the Jordan and divided the land among the tribes.
- Eberron sees this trope a lot. The people of Cyre in particular, as the Day of Mourning which ended the Last War created the Mournland out of their former home. The main settlement of Cyran survivors has internal tension about how they should go about it — some want to claim independence where they were, while others want to seek something else (mostly out of a desire to not betray the trust of the only nation to go so far as to offer the Cyran survivors a decent area to settle down and govern themselves autonomously in — a pretty big move considering said nation were at war with Cyre right up until the Day of Mourning).
- GURPS: Traveller The sample campaign 100 parsecs in the volume "Sword Worlds" is about an attempt to preserve Sword Worlds culture by founding a colony far away in empty space.
- Bleak World has the Jotun who were cast out of their homeworld by Elves and now spend most of their time on Earth crafting Rocket Ships and Magical Bridges to get back.
- This is what drives Ulysses in Fallout: New Vegas. The problem is, he doesn't think any of the current major powers are worth following. Inspired by the way the Courier singlehandedly brought about the Divide's destruction, Ulysses wants to forge his own nation with nuclear fire. A Courier with a high enough Speech skill can talk down Ulysses from this destructive course of action. Ulysses then regards the Courier as someone with the "shadow of a nation, the hope of the people."
- The New Conglomerate rebels in PlanetSide, who are fighting for freedom and a home on an alien planet after the colony was cut off from Earth. The Terran Republic remnant on the other hand, simply want to bring everyone back into the fold and reestablish contact with Earth, while the Vanu Sovereignty wants humanity to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence whether they want to or not
- The Zortroa Kinship of Wild AR Ms XF is portrayed as a Proud Warrior Race whose homeland was torn from them by a larger nation. They've been working as mercenaries ever since. They work against the party because the antagonists have promised to return their holy land to them.
- Outer Heaven of Metal Gear was (at least originally) this.
- This is why some quarians seek a war with the geth in Mass Effect, due to the geth occupying the quarian homeworld. Others (perhaps rightly) believe this would just make the quarians go from endangered to extinct. An added complication is that the geth only took the homeworld in self-defense— they were created as a labor force, and when they began to show self-awareness the quarians panicked and tried to wipe them out. Naturally, all that accomplished was the kind of uprising they had hoped to prevent. The sad thing is, the quarians never needed to fight for it. The geth never wanted to wipe out the quarians and would be all too happy to share their homeworld with them. The third game reveals that the original war wasn't even one of self-defense. The geth were fighting to protect other quarians, those who supported the geth, from the quarians who wanted the geth shut down.
- The Dalish elves in the Dragon Age universe are trying to reclaim their past, after their homeland was destroyed by humans (twice). Inquisition reveals that the Elves destroyed their first homeland themselves in a civil war. A sidequest reveals that the second time they lost their homeland was sparked by a horrible misunderstanding in which both elves and humans were at fault.
- Homeworld. Your race's planet is burned while you are out testing your brand new colony fleet. You then set off towards your original and long forgotten homeworld, fighting all that oppose you and making use of whatever resources and allies you can find on the way.
- The backstory reveals that this is the original reason for the Hiigarans' exile. Back when they were The Empire, the Hiigarans used one of the Great Hyperspace Cores to devastate the Taiidani homeworld. After they lost their Core, along with most of their fleet, the Taiidani retaliated and took Hiigara for themselves, since they were now short a homeworld.
- The Advent from Sins of a Solar Empire, who were exiled from their homeworld 10000 years ago by the Trade Order for 'deviant' behavior, basically not conforming with the Trade Order worlds' culture and practicing what they considered to be taboo. Now, they've returned with a vengeance, with advanced technology and honed psychic abilities, to try and reclaim their desert homeworld and destroy their past tormentors.
- Iji is filled with this. The Tasen just want a planet to call their own to seek refuge from the Komoto, so they go to what turns out to be their homeworld, Earth, blow up the surface, and then are surprised when one of the few remaining humans decides to fight them for her homeworld in turn. Then the Komoto show up and they all have to defend the planet against them.
- The Resistance Expansion Pack of the original Operation Flashpoint, featuring the titular resistance fighters of the Soviet-occupied country of Nogova.
- According to the translated lyrics of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl theme song, this is what Tabuu is doing.
- The crew of the Sunrider, after the invasion of Cera.
- After dealing some damage that Deus Ex Machina didn't ask for in Super Robot Wars UX, Shou Zama gets pumped and he says that while the Tokyo he once knew is gone, he isn't going to let the world that's become his home now end up being memorialized in such a dystopian fashion.
- The Charr of Guild Wars wage war on Ascalon because it was originally their territory before humanity drove them north. After the Searing, the surviving Ascalonians also fall into this category as they're trying to reclaim a destroyed land. The humans of Ebonhawke continued to fight to restore Ascalon for centuries after the Charr resettled it, but by Guild Wars 2 only a rebel faction continues due to a peace treaty.
- The Exiles of WildStar have all been driven off their homeworlds, and seek to make the legendary planet of Nexus their new home. Understaffed, with equipment that is literally falling apart, and the largest, most dangerous empire in the Galaxy after their collective head, there are no lines they are unwilling to cross.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny reveal that what Lord Dearche truly wants for herself and her minions is a place that they could live in where they could finally be free. In the end, they find a planet they could call home in Eltria.
- The Lemmings in Lemmings Chronicles were trying to colonize a new island chain and get rid of all the monsters there after their own homeland was destroyed in the previous game.
- Redcloak in The Order of the Stick sees claiming a goblinoid homeland as a secondary goal to his service of Xykon. Or so he says. In fact, he's merely using Xykon to take control of the Snarl, at which point he intends to use said Eldritch Abomination to blackmail the gods themselves into recognising Goblins as a sapient race. Once Azure City is taken, he founds the nation of Gobbotopia and appoints one of his lieutenants as its leader.
- The fight of the Zionists for a Jewish homeland, though they weren't actually mercenaries so much as a nation-building movement. A very large number of them fought for The British Empire (which may have issued the Balfour Declarationnote with the intent of Invoking the tropenote ), and so many Jewish soldiers signed up for British service that there were five battalions (known collectively as the Jewish Legion) of the Royal Fusiliers composed entirely of Jewish soldiers from across Europe.
- On the flip side, the various Palestinian groups opposed to Israel.
- The Flight of the Wild Geese. After the wars of the 17th century Irish soldiers emigrated in their thousands to work as mercenaries for their fellow Catholics in Spain, France, and Austria, rather than live under the unbearable political and religious oppression at home. As late as 1792 the Kings of France maintained several Irish regiments and during The Napoleonic Wars an Irish Legion was part of the French Army, while the Spanish army also contained many Irishmen or Irish-descended Spaniards. Descendants of the Geese included Patrice de Mac-Mahon (Marshal of France and first president of the French Third Republic) and Bernardo O'Higgins (another general and one of the founders of independent Chile).
- The Napoleonic Wars saw a number of such units.
- The armies of the French Republic included many partisans of the failed popular uprisings in the Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands ("Holland") and the Austrian Netherlands (the "Belgian Rebellion") of the 1780s. When the French started to win the war, they annexed, among other things, what is now Belgium and formed the new-style Batavian Republic from the former United Provinces. This was later transformed into a kingdom for Napoleon's brother Louis and in 1810 annexed by France.
- On the Allied side, there was a number of regiments formed by and from emigrés, royalists who had left France during the Revolution. Lacking success in their endeavours, the remaining emigrés eventually were for the most part absorbed into the armies of various European states and later returned to France either after an amnesty was declared or after the fall of Napoleon.
- The Polish Legions of the French Army were formed after the Polish state was divided between Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1795, and the page quote is from a song originally written for one of the Legions, which later became the anthem of Polish patriots and then the restored Polish state. Their aim of restoring their homeland, which came to a transitory fruition of a sort with the founding of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807, which in 1815 became a new Kingdom of Poland ruled by Czar Alexander I, auguring a new era of national struggle. But even after 1807 many Poles continued to serve in the Imperial French Army in the four infantry regiments of the Legion of the Vistula and a number of regiments of lancers. A squadron of Lancers of the Guard even accompanied Napoleon to exile on Elba. Ironically, in the course of their service the Polish Legions often fought against other people fighting for their homeland, e. g. in Napoleon's attempt to reimpose slavery in Haiti (1803) and against Spanish soldiers, guerrillas, etc. on the Iberian Peninsula.
- When France and Great Britain resumed hostilities after the brief Peace of Amiens in 1803, the French army invaded and occupied the Electorate of Hanover (ruled by George III) without a fight. However, many Hanoverian officers and soldiers then left the country for England, where they formed the King's German Legion, a small army in exile consisting of all arms (infantry, cavalry, artillery etc.). The men of the Legion established themselves as one of the best fighting units of the British Army. After Waterloo, they were reintegrated into the army of Hanover.
- During the early stages of the 1812 campaign, when the Grande Armée occupied Russian Lithuania, Napoleon raised a number of military units there (most of them officially part of the army of the duchy of Warsaw), offering recruits the motivation of fighting for the restoration of the autonomous duchy of Lithuania. Most of these soldiers perished during the retreat from Moscow, but a few continued to serve under Napoleon until 1814, including the tiny remnant of the squadron of Lithuanian Tatars of the Guard.
- The Vandals fearing attacks from the Huns invaded the Roman Empire searching for a new homeland. They traveled through modern-day France and Spain, being attacked and driven out along the way before crossing into North Africa, taking the Roman lands (including Carthage without a fight) and setting up their own Empire. They then went on to sack Rome.
- This also applies to the various other Germanic tribes that traveled West into Roman and Celtic lands during and after the Great Migration period, such as the Goths, Franks, Angles, Saxons and Normans.
- Also there were the Slavic peoples who came during the Middle Ages.
- The numerous Polish armies in exile. Basically, every time there was fighting in the vicinity of (or over) what was Poland, each side would attempt to recruit (or conscript) the Polish to fight for them. The reward the Poles asked for was always the same: Poland.
- From this experience, Poland got one of its three unofficial mottos: Za nasza i wasza wolność ("For our and your freedom").
- Poles did it a LOT throughout their recent history. Polish volunteers fought in the The American Revolution, The French Revolution, Napoleonic armies, in the Liberal Wars of Portugal, the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, all with the goal of eventually restoring Poland. They also signed on as Polish Legions (again) specifically against Russia on behalf of Austria-Hungary, on the condition that Austrians should support Polish independence after World War I.
- During World War II, despite their country being under German occupation, Poland was actually one of the larger allies in terms of troops under arms in the European Theatre. By the end of the war there nearly a quarter of a million Polish troops served the Western Allies and a similar number the Soviets in various support and combat roles, as against fewer than 5 million troops fielded by the other Western powers and 7 by the Soviets.
- The Indian National Army during World War II was, depending on your perspective, either this or The Quisling, as they signed on to fight for an independent India against the British with the support of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
- Much the same thing with various volunteer units that the Nazi Germany raised from many Eastern European peoples, from the Baltics to the Caucasus. Many of them joined the Nazis to help "liberate" their homelands from Russian/Communist rule.
- The Sforza dynasty was started by the leader of a band of Private Military Contractors that used his men to take over an Italian city-state. They decided on Milan; Sforza ended up hiring Leonardo da Vinci when the latter ended up being too prissy for the Medicis' tastes.
- Some of the Internationals fighting for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War were German and Italian exiles who had given up hope of returning home and instead fought to prevent fascist rule in Spain so that they might live there.
- Defeated Spanish Republicans wound up fighting for the armies of various Allied countries after the Spanish Civil War. Some, like Enrique Lister, wound up fighting alongside Fidel Castro (or at least supporting his movement) in Cuba after World War II.
- White Russian émigrés, most of them veterans of the Russian Revolution, formed a small unit fighting with Franco's troops against the Republic, the latter being directly supported by the Soviet government which had forced them to go into exile. Apparently, they believed that this would be the first step in liberating their country from Soviet regime.
- The first Czech Legion, after World War One. Their country was then merely a province of Austria-Hungary, who started the war and teamed up with the Germans. The Czechs had very little reason to fight for them, and surrendered to the opposing Russians whenever they could. Through a lot of political scheming, the Russians were convinced to raise a Czech legion of 60,000 men to fight against the Austrians. Then the Revolution broke out, and with the peace treaty between Russia and Austria, and the vicious warfare and politicking in Russia, they would not get their goal, an independent Czechia, so they turned to the western allies. They could not leave the country through the western side, so the allies chose to rendezvous with them in the port of Vladivostok, on the other side of Russia. They crossed the country in three years, using the railways that they hijacked, joined with the Russian White Army (a coalition of anti-Communists) and the allies, stole the Tsarís gold, traded it for free passage to Vladivostok with the advancing Reds when they lost, and safely sailed home, to the newly-founded country of Czechoslovakia, a social democracy.
- ... Then not even twenty years later, their country was sold out to Nazi Germany by France and Britain, annexed as the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia and her population used as slave labor for German war industries for six years. After that, they lived under a repressive Stalinist Communist dictatorship for forty-five years. But then their CCCP overlords gave up on Communism and let them do their own thing, and they became a social democracy again.
- In an internal conflict, often both sides can invoke this trope. Thus during the American Revolution, both Patriots and Loyalists were fighting for their homes and country, and in the end the losing side had to emigrate to Canada. The situation for Republicans and Loyalists during the Troubles in Northern Ireland was also like this.
- Many nationalist and anti-colonialist movements do this, especially if they also are fighting against social and legal discrimination. For instance the black former slaves and the mulattoes of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (who had very different legal status under the Code Noir, with mulattoes having a few privileges compared to blacks) eventually decided to fight for independence, seeing that the French central government was making moves to reimpose slavery, leading to the foundation of Haiti. It took a while for a general Haitian identity to develop, though. For a time the country was split into two states, one for mulattoes and one for blacks.