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War Comes Home

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"We'll take 2 million burgers with a side of your land, comrade!"

"War is barbarity when they attack your neighbor and a sacred duty when they attack your homeland."

In warfare, soldiers are often sent abroad to fight on fronts, battlefields, and locations that are far from their hometown. The war is supposed to exist far away so that the civilians at home will never know what you experience or the suffering you will face. The war exists away from home precisely so that it never reaches them.

Well, this trope takes that idea and thoroughly blasts it to smithereens.

War coming to the home front is something that makes the struggle and fighting extra personal. Maybe you have relatives, family, and close friends that were never supposed to be involved, now victims of the war and possible casualties. Maybe the fighting has come to the beaches, the streets, and the very homes you wanted to protect. Either way, this battle carries a personal stake for the heroes. It's one thing to battle Big Bad in a place that you don't have any immediate connection to. But to see your own home being ravaged? Expect the hero to have an intense wave of panic hit them as they are simultaneously fighting on the front lines while also worrying about noncombatants and places that are dear to them. War coming home is one of the worst things that can happen to you.

Often a direct reason for many as to why War Is Hell, seeing that this causes civilians to wake up to the horrors of war and realize it isn't fun or glorious at all. See also Armies Are Evil, Moral Event Horizon, In Its Hour of Need for when a leader stays to fight in their homeland, and Last Stand which can overlap depending on the scope of the conflict. This trope can allow for the creation of both La Résistance and Les Collaborateurs, especially if the country's government falls in the process of the enemy invasion. In the darkest stories, in which the base of operations could get attacked or even destroyed, expect an inevitable Day of the Jackboot scenario should the home country fall, especially if the invaders are The Empire or some variant thereof and will happily engage in Crushing the Populace.

Not to be confused with Fighting for a Homeland, though it can be a result of this trope, with the exile's own home having been invaded or destroyed and forced to flee to their new homeland as a result. In this scenario, the hero(es) have seen what happens if they fail and are thus determined to protect their new home at all costs.

The absolute worst case scenario is when your home isn't just attacked, not even invaded, but completely and utterly destroyed to the point where it ceases to exist while the hero can only watch. For this depressing outcome, see Watching Troy Burn.

This trope is usually the Darkest Hour of a narrative, but there is also a happier variant, when it's a form of Heroic Rematch, with the protagonists reclaiming a hometown/country that had previously been conquered. Sometimes the defenders are able to use their Home Field Advantage to fight back which can turn the tide. Can also involve the sister trope of kicking Occupiers Out of Our Country if the liberating forces are successful, and will often happen in a Back from the Brink plot. Should this occur at great loss, expect them to want revenge by pressing a counter-invasion against the former invaders.

Can overlap with Doomed Hometown, where the town's destruction is the hero's impetus to begin their adventure. In video games, this can overlap with Dungeon Town, especially if the hero's hometown is raided by a powerful army. See also Capital Offensive, Urban Warfare and Remember the Alamo. Compare and contrast The Call Knows Where You Live.

Not to be confused with returning war vets who bring the war back home with them.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball
    • Dragon Ball Z features a subversion of this trope. Frieza decides to try to attack Earth after Goku nearly killed him, as a way of getting revenge on him, which results in a cyborg version of himself and his father, King Cold, leading a task force to destroy the planet. However, before Vegeta and the Z Fighters can try to prevent this, Trunks appears and swiftly curb stomps Frieza and his small army before they can accomplish anything.
  • Gundam:
    • In the Universal Century (starting with Mobile Suit Gundam onwards), Australians in particular hate Zeon with a passion for the Colony Drop that obliterated Sydney and created the Sydney Sea. In addition, in many side stories Federation characters mention joining up to fight Zeon because their colonies or hometowns came under attack in the early stages of the war and they want payback. Shiro Amada's home colony was the victim of a gas attack that wiped out the unprotected populace, for example.
    • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the Federation fully turns on the Titans when the latter launch a full-scale assault on Dakar, the Federation capital, while the Federation assembly is meeting. Their objective was to silence Quattro Bagina, the leader of the AEUG, who was addressing the assembly in order to publicly denounce the Titans and their heavy-handed tactics. Crucially, the stark contrast between members of the AEUG-aligned Karaba non-violently taking control of the Parliament building versus the Titans (the Federation's supposed defenders) blatantly attacking in an attempt to Leave No Witnesses causes the assemblymen to loudly denounce them while several Federal forces units actively join AEUG in the defense. Worse still, the attack is broadcast live throughout Earth sphere, resulting in support for the Titans almost completely evaporating nearly overnight.
    • The finale of Mobile Fighter G Gundam takes place on the colony of Neo Japan, home colony of Domon Kasshu and Rain Mikamura. The Devil Gundam (Dark Gundam) possesses it and turns it into its largest body to date, forcing just about every Mobile Fighter still functioning to battle it while Domon and the other heroes enter to destroy the Core.
    • Halfway through Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, the Gundam pilots scatter after they learn they were tricked into wiping out a peace conference, thus allowing OZ to take direct control of much of the Earth Sphere. The home colony of Chang Wufei comes under attack and self-destructs in a Senseless Sacrifice in a pointless gesture of defiance. Meanwhile, Quatre's home also comes under attack, and while the attack is repelled the death of his beloved older sister causes Quatre to cross the Despair Event Horizon and build the monstrously powerful Wing Zero, the Zero System convincing him that the way to peace is to kill everyone.
    • In a much more general sense, what causes the usual Falling into the Cockpit scenario for a number of Gundam protagonists is the fighting making its way inside their home colony, often resulting in severe damage to if not outright destruction of the colony itself.
  • Izetta: The Last Witch: The entire series takes place as the Germanian Empire brings their war to Eylstadt, a neighboring, neutral country to the south of the Empire's borders. The protagonists and their close allies end up having to repel The Empire's attempts to take over the capital city of Eylstadt, Landsbruck. Ultimately, thanks to Germania's top-notch scientific research and breakthroughs, Eylstadt eventually falls, with the Eylstadt Army and many of its civilian populace fleeing into the mountains and forming bands of La Résistance, with the last fourth of the series instead focusing on stopping Germania's wonderweapons projects from wrecking the rest of Europe.
  • Spy X Family: Chapter 62 focuses on Twilight's background as a child and how he came to become a spy for WISE. He and his friends played war games as kids are wont to do, while the radio and gossip talk about the potential of war occuring at the borders between Westalis and Ostania. And while a young Twilight is listening to the croquette cart lady talking, the town suddenly gets bombed with no forewarning. Twilight manages to survive because of a soldier helmet he was wearing, but the imagery makes it clear that debris would have killed him, had the helmet not taken the blow for him. The croquette cart is completely destroyed, the owner herself was likely been blown into smithereens, and all Twilight can do is stare at the dead bodies and injured people around him, all running and screaming for cover.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: While the Gaul village is surrounded by Roman camps, the Romans are well aware that any engagement with the Gauls result in a crushing defeat or a Pyrrhic Victory at best (in "Asterix and Son" Brutus' men burned down the village in minutes via ballistas... And were promptly brutalized for their effort), and so mostly leave them alone. There are a few times when they do move against the village itself, but these never last long.
    • In "Asterix in Belgium" the Belgians start attacking the local Roman garrisons in a competition with Vitalstatistix... And are horrified when Caesar himself turns up with a reinforced legion, as they know they can't beat Caesar and his relation will be outright genocide. It's implied their plan is to hold off Caesar long enough for their families to escape his wrath, but they find themselves at the wrong end of a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle and would have been wiped out in a hour at most had Caesar's flanking force not stumbled on Vitalstatistix, Asterix, and Obelix, unwittingly giving them an excuse to save the day.
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars!: The series proper opens with the titular Toad Wars already in full swing. We're introduced to the title character and his crew as they raid a Toad slave ship and free its captives who are all, surprise, surprise, hares, indicating Bucky's own home planet of Warren has been conquered. This causes Bucky to put pressure on S.P.A.C.E. to commission more ships to combat the Toad menace, as Warren was supposedly safe from the Toad Armada.
  • Transformers, The Transformers (Marvel): In the backstory, the city-states of Tarn and Vos fought several small-scale skirmishes over dwindling energy supplies before agreeing to participate in a series of Games meant to provide a less destructive outlet. Unfortunately, war erupted anyway when participants from Vos sabotaged Tarn's energy reactor. As this went on, the Autobot Council ruling in the city-state of Iacon tended to refugees but refused to send peacekeepers, with some on the council even feeling it was to Iacon's advantage Vos and Tarn destroy each other. They did indeed destroy each other... but the survivors united under a former gladiator of Tarn who pointed out Iacon let their homes burn and so led his new army to return the favor. As Megatron and his new army (now calling themselves "the Decepticons") brought the war to Iacon itself, the Autobot Council no longer thought the Vos-Tarn war to be advantageous...

    Fan Works 
  • The Night Unfurls: There are occasions depicting a number of Eostia's strongholds (e.g. Feoh, Ur, Ansur) getting hit by the war against the Black Dogs, with the civilian casualties and the recovery of said strongholds that ensue. However, none could match the time where Rad is fallen. The unprotected populace gets wiped out due to Shamuhaza unleashing his newly-bred Elite Mooks upon them. If they are not dead, then they would find themselves either getting a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong, or being twisted into the very horrors that ravaged them. Furthermore, the situation becomes extra personal from the perspective of the Seven Shields (because Luu-Luu, one such member, is in deep) and The Protagonist Kyril (because something from the Night of the Hunt have followed him here and he's not about to let a Beast Plague 2.0 happen).
  • Star Wars vs. Warhammer 40K: Played straight when the Imperium of Man invades and conquers Axum, a wealthy Core World of the Galactic Republic which had up until then been mostly unaffected by the Clone Wars due to being located far from the Outer Rim where most of the battles were taking place. For weeks, the Imperials occupy Axum and kill anyone who isn't visibly human as well as humans who openly oppose them. When the Jedi come to liberate the planet, they are aided by many of Axum's civilians, who have taken up arms against their occupiers and formed a La Résistance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Battle of Britain: With the Fall of France in the prologue, the Nazis swiftly bring the second world war to the British Isles, thus applying this trope to all the British characters. The rest of the film involves the Royal Air Force's efforts to stop the German Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority, destroying their war industry, and giving an opening to a cross-channel invasion.
  • The Day After Invoked with the characters of Kansas City, Missouri and Lawrence, Kansas. They have to face the horror of nuclear warfare being used against them and their cities are destroyed by ICBM attacks, along with almost every other population center in the United States and the rest of the world.
  • Downfall is this for the Germans in Berlin as they are besieged by the Red Army that is invading the capital city and conquering the German resistance. Justified in that this is about World War II and how the warmongering started by Adolf Hitler and his generals backfired with the Soviets ravaging their homeland in retaliation. Though Hitler is hoping for a Last Stand to deliver Germany from defeat, he and his fanatical supporters are forced to recognize that this will never happen.
  • Discussed in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Near the end of the movie, the Elf queen Galadriel has Frodo stare into a mirror in which he sees his homeland, the Shire invaded by orcs and the hobbits carried off in chains. Galadriel informs him that this is a prophetic vision of what will come to pass if Frodo fails in his mission to destroy the ring.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers has this trope for the climax. Loki summons an army of Chitauri and has it attack New York which is the home of both Iron Man and Captain America. The Avengers team up to fight back the Chitauri and they are ultimately successful in fending off the invasion.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger averted with Captain America when he stops Red Skull from bombing America, including his home state of New York, by performing a heroic sacrifice where he crashes the bomber into the Arctic Circle.
  • Midway: The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in Hawaii early on in the film, with the war finally brought onto US soil. In retaliation, and in desperate need of a morale-boosting victory, the US Army and Navy launch a raid led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle on the Japanese home islands, bombing Tokyo and bringing the war to them in return. The latter action causes the Japanese to spend precious resources in defending the home islands, and have Yamamoto push through with the planned invasion of Midway, culminating in the titular Decisive Battle.
  • Red Dawn: The plot is centered on this trope. High school students living in rural Colorado are invaded by the Soviet Union and her allies. They are forced to fight a guerilla war against the occupying force without realizing that this invasion was but another front in the now raging World War III. The Remake, Red Dawn, follows a similar plot, but with the North Koreans invading Washington State. The guerillas at the end of the film even have a spiel about how invaders from other countries always act like they're heroic liberators.
  • Starship Troopers: John "Johnny" Rico has submitted his resignation from the military before hearing of an attack on his hometown, after which he returns and asks to rescind his resignation.
  • Star Trek features two versions of this. Nero decides to exact retribution against this timeline's version of Vulcan and successfully destroys it with the red matter as a way of getting to Spock and all the other Vulcans. He then decides to attack Earth which makes this trope apply to Kirk and the human characters.
  • Star Wars has many variations of this trope.
    • The Phantom Menace played straight with the Naboo and the Gungans who are subject to an invasion by the droid armies of the Trade Federation. Queen Amidala is forced to leave her home planet before leading a battle against the droid armies to liberate her homeworld after the Senate fails to act.
    • Revenge of the Sith:
      • The Battle of Coruscant counts for the Jedi and those living at the capital and doubles as a Capital Offensive. Though primarily a mission to capture Chancellor Palpatine, it is a terrifying attack to the Republic citizens convinced that the war would never come to them and instead be fought on Outer Rim worlds far away. Also serves as one for Anakin Skywalker especially who fears losing Padme and Chancellor Palpatine, two of his most cherished companions.
      • The later attack on the Jedi Temple led by the newly anointed Darth Vader is a battle by the Jedi to defend the only real place they call home. And unlike the Battle of Coruscant, this is not a battle they can win, as those that cannot escape are subsequently slaughtered down to the last man, woman, and youngling. Said attack is devastating to both Yoda and Obi-Wan who realize what is destined to happen to all other Jedi within the Empire.
    • A New Hope:
      • Exaggerated and exploited by Grand Moff Tarkin when he threatens to blow up Alderaan, Leia's home planet, with the Death Star's superlaser if she refuses to reveal the location of the Rebel Base. Even as she lies to try to protect her home planet and her adopted parents, Tarkin decides to make an example of Alderaan and inspire fear in the galaxy with the Death Star and blows up Leia's home planet.
      • Conversely, downplayed with Luke Skywalker when the Galactic Civil War results in R2-D2 and C-3PO arriving on Tatooine after Darth Vader chases down Princess Leia in his hunt for the Death Star plans. The Stormtroopers track the droids to Luke's adoptive uncle and aunt, Owen and Beru, in which they are killed by the Empire. Luke joins Obi-Wan in his quest to deliver the plans to Alderaan as well as become a Jedi and this path eventually leads him to the Rebellion.
    • The Force Awakens Happens with Rey after the First Order leads a raid on Jakku that results in the war spreading to her homeworld. This incident while downplayed starts her journey and causes her to eventually get involved with the wider conflict. However, for the rest of the galaxy, it is also exaggerated to the extreme in the sense that the First Order destroys the capital of the New Republic, Hosnian Prime, and several other worlds with Starkiller Base which allows the First Order to swiftly conquer the rest of the galaxy and put billions back under the control of an Imperial regime.
  • Threads like The Day After scenario, this story features a nuclear war spreading to the rest of the world, in this case the United Kingdom. Set in Sheffield it follows two families as they have to deal with both the nuclear attack and the fallout as society crumbles around them.
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! has the Imperial Japanese Navy attack the island of Oahu in the Territory of Hawaii, from the anchorage of numerous warships in and around Pearl Harbor to the numerous Army and Marine airfields littered around the island, all without a formal declaration of warnote . It's this unprovoked attack on US territory that finally pushes the American military and public to enter World War II on the Allied side.

  • Animorphs is an interesting variation, because the war is happening in their hometown from the very first book, but it doesn't turn into open warfare until book 49 or 50 when the Yeerks drop any pretense of stealth and start abducting people off the street and blowing up buildings with Dracon beams.
  • Book of the Ancestor: By the end of the third book, the numerically far superior army of the Scithrowl has razed the entire countryside and starts besieging the capital of the empire where Nona lives in the convent of Sweet Mercy. This leads to both the emperor and the church mustering every available person in fighting age, like the convent sending every novice over 16 years to the frontline (although even younger ones volunteer to defend their home and not get killed as a heretic should the Scithrowl take the city).
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the primary setting of the series and is regarded as home by Harry. In the climax of the final book, Voldemort and his Death Eater army attack the school to get Harry; the Order of the Phoenix, Hogwarts' staff and many of the students fight back to give Harry and his friends time to find and destroy the last of Voldemort's Horcruxes. This ends up being the final battle of the Second Wizarding War ending with Harry defeating Voldemort in a one-on-one duel in the Great Hall.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Downplayed. Although the battle technically occurs after the main conflict between Sauron and the free peoples of Middle-Earth has ended, the hobbits have to defeat a small army of Ruffians led by Saruman after he invades the Shire (he having taken over after his escape from Isengard). The heroes didn't realize what had happened to the Shire until they return home after the destruction of the One Ring, resulting in the Battle of the Bywater. Afterwards, the hobbits have to spend a long time restoring the Shire to its former state.
  • Discussed in Starship Troopers, where military types marvel about how civilians are largely unconcerned with the Bug War against the Pseudo-Arachnids until a successful military incursion destroys Buenos Aires, Argentina. Simultaneously downplayed: The Narrator's mother is slain in the attack, but either because Rico is meant to be The Stoic or because the book was reworked for younger audiences, we don't see this having much emotional impact on him.

    Live Action TV 
  • Dad's Army: Sitcom set in England in 1940, dealing with over-age men who were utterly unfit to fight a war, called up into the Home Guard in the cold and sober knowledge their purpose was to fight in their own home town if and when a German invasion reached it.
  • Downton Abbey: In the second season, the effects of World War I become fully apparent as Downton is forced to do its part by housing wounded and recovering soldiers. The highly regimented protocols of running the estate largely fall away as everything is turned upside down. Although things do revert back to normal after the conflict has ended, both the Crawleys and their servants are permanently impacted, and more small-scale changes continue to occur in later seasons.
  • Foyle's War: British crime-drama series set in England during World War II. While the emphasis was on solving murders and bringing criminals to justice, the setting of the program afforded a glimpse of the hardships faced by ordinary British people while London was bombed, and food was rationed.
  • Mercy Street: Historical medical-drama series set at Mansion Street Hospital in Alexandra, Virginia, during the American Civil War. The city is occupied by Union troops, while the staff and patients include both Southerners and Northerners. Many conflicts in the episodes stem from this volatile situation, especially as wealthier Southerners lose some privileges for not signing an allegiance to the United States.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "The Changing Face Of Evil", the Dominion's newest allies, the Breen, launch a surprise against Earth targeting San Francisco, home to Starfleet's headquarters, as a way showing how dangerous they are.

    Video Games 
  • Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising: the Blue Moon mission "Toy Box" has Olaf returning to his childhood hometown, only to find that Lash has destroyed it. He becomes justifiably enraged, proclaiming that "for this, there can be no forgiveness".
  • Blazing Angels: A fictional American Fighter Squadron was fighting on covert missions for the allies prior to the war, but a variation of this trope occurs when the player participates in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. From then on, your squadron's role in the war becomes official as you fight both in the Pacific and over Europe.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: the game starts with a Pvt. Allen, a U.S. Army Ranger under the command of Sgt. Foley fighting in Afghanistan. After Allen is is killed and (mis)identified as an Agent Provocateur in the airport massacre Ultra-Nationalist Russia invades the Eastern Seaboard, and Sgt. Foley has to lead his Ranger squad through the battlefields of suburban Northern-Virginia, and Washington D.C.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops reveals through Reznov's narrations to Mason that the level "Vendetta" in Call of Duty: World at War was this trope for Reznov himself, having hailed from Stalingrad where the level takes place. In addition to witnessing his entire unit sans Dimitri Petrenko get slaughtered in front of him, his father, an avid violin player, was murdered by the German occupation troops for playing Russian patriotic music as a symbol of defiance against the Nazis.
  • Dragon Quest VI: The Hero's hometown is attacked by fiends late in the game, though the inhabitants manage to put up a good fight.
  • Near the end of EarthBound, the "War Against Giygas" that names the game's English subtitle hits Ness' hometown when Giygas, in a last act of desperation, launches an invasion of Onett.
  • Guns, Gore & Cannoli: As Vinnie finds out during the sequel, thanks to the Dark Don, the Nazis have been secretly operating on US soil. They achieved this by having set up a large spy network in the mainland United States via the Thugtown Quarantine Zone and the Dark Don's own syndicate. They've even set up an impromptu U-boat base in the city's ports.
  • Homefront: The entire point of this game is centered around this concept. The United States is disunified and under the threat of invasion by a North Korean superpower in an alternate 2027. The Americans still able to fight are tasked with organizing a resistance made of the remnants of the US military and taking San Francisco among other locations.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Towards the end of the game, Helis' army is sent to ravage the Nora lands. It's entirely possible to return home late in-game and come face-to-face with a Deathbringer.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Implied. When Link wakes up seven years later, he finds his former home of Kokiri Forest abandoned, with Deku Scrubs growing wild and hardly anybody to talk to besides Mido. After Ganondorf unleashed destruction on Hyrule, something terrible happened to the Kokiri and it was likely attacked by his armies while Link was unable to help at all.
  • Mass Effect 3: The game starts out with the Reapers invading Earth, after Shepard spent two games trying to prepare the galaxy for their arrival. The rest of the game is Shepard zipping around the galaxy, securing allies via ending age-old conflicts so that everyone can focus their time and energy on fighting the Reapers and building the Crucible, a Lost Superweapon that can be used to defeat the Reapers once the Alliance and all the allies who've been gained along the way are ready to take the fight back to Earth in the final chapter.
  • Predator: Concrete Jungle: While not a conventional war, the player Predator invokes this on the various gang leaders who run Neonopolis with impunity by slaughtering his way through their various gangs before assaulting them in their strongholds. Some react with disbelief that anyone would dare attack them in the heart of their territory.
  • Happens twice to Veldin in original Ratchet & Clank trilogy. The first occurrence happens near the end of Ratchet & Clank (2002), when Drek decides to obliterate the planet to free the orbit for his new one, and consequently it's entirely occupied by Blarg Commandos. The second one takes place at the beginning of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal as the planet is (again) under attack of Tyrrhanoids lead by Dr. Nefarious.
  • Red Alert 3: Each campaign involves driving the enemy out of that faction's territory and pushing onwards to a Capital Offensive. Save the Imperial one which starts with the invasion of the Soviet Union but also features the defense of Pearl Harbor (which is Japanese territory in this timeline) and Yokohama harbor.
  • Sniper Elite 5: Invoked Trope with Operation Kraken, which is a planned attack on the mainland United States East Coast, specifically Washington D.C., Boston, and New York. In addition to a series of V2 rocket strikes launched from Japanese I-400 class submarines, a huge number of English-speaking Nazi spies being transported via German U-boats will be deployed to cause chaos and wreak havoc on the US mainland.
  • Splatoon 3: During a Big Run event, the Salmonids, who normally cause trouble on offshore facilities and abandoned locations, invade Inkopolis and Splatsville in large quantities. During these events, regular multiplayer stages are swarmed by these Salmonids, and instead of engaging in friendly competitions, player characters are tasked with fending off the Salmonids. Fortunately for the denizens of Inkopolis and Splatsville, Salmonids operate on an extremely precise schedule, ending their invasions exactly 48 hours after they begin down to the second, so all that needs to be done is for players to Hold the Line until that time comes.
  • Star Fox: Assault Played straight with a level called "War Comes Home" in which the Aparoid Army launches a devastating attack on Corneria, the home planet of Fox and other pilots on his team. By the time he gets there, the battle is pretty much lost and the Aparoids are running cleanup on the cities below. Fox has to fight his hardest to drive them off with minimal support. Ironically, this occurs just after a mission Fox takes to defend Sauria, the (adopted) homeworld of his teammate and love interest, Krystal.
  • In This War of Mine, one official survivor, Bruno, remarks in a journal entry how he used to be a person who thought wars only happened in far off, third-world countries. When it finally reached his homeland, he kept trying to not acknowledge it until the siege had finally started in earnest and he was cut off from a good friend. That day, he was forced to accept that this trope had finally happened, serving as his Cynicism Catalyst.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • The first game takes place in the Kingdom of Gallia, which had remained neutral during Europa War II until a sudden invasion by the East Europan Imperial Alliance. The first levels take place during the invasion of the player character's hometown of Bruhl, which you retake later in the game.
    • Valkyria Chronicles IV clarifies that war had been threatening Gallia's borders long before this, when the Imperial Alliance raided and burned a Gallian border town. Rather than listen to the public's pleas to join The Federation and keep the war away from their doorstep, Gallian nobility chose to keep their heads buried firmly on the sand, leading to a massive wave of emigration as civilians left to join the war effort under foreign flags.
  • X-Men (1993): The game mostly takes place in the Danger Room inside the X-Mansion, which was infected by a virus by Magneto to make it more lethal. When the X-Men realise what has happened, they retaliate by assaulting Magneto's asteroid base in return. The game itself has the Arc Words "Sometimes, you have to crush your enemies where they live!"

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Happens multiple times throughout the series. While the war in question has been going on for nearly a century, various pockets of the world have been largely unaffected by it or have managed to ride out the conflicts, thus making the trope hit more strongly when it does apply.
    • Book 1: Water
      • The Boy in the Iceberg / The Avatar Returns: The opening episodes feature Prince Zuko leading a Fire Nation ship towards the Southern Water Tribe. An attack is threatened but not carried out, since Avatar Aang voluntarily surrenders to spare the people. Katara's mother was killed in a previous attack from the Fire nation when she was but a small child.
      • The Southern Air Temple: While Aang is convinced that not all the airbenders had been killed in the war, upon arriving at his former home he discovers that the Fire Nation had successfully executed an attack 100 years ago and completely wiped out his people.
      • The Warriors of Kyoshi: Kyoshi Island is a small fishing community protected by a band of female warriors, and completely avoided the war until Aang arrived on their shores. After Zuko tracked him down and nearly razed a village trying to capture him, Aang saved the people’s lives. This inspired the warriors to end their isolation and participate more directly in the wider world.
      • The Siege of the North, Part 1 / The Siege of the North, Part 2: In their relentless pursuit of Aang, the Fire Nation launches an all-out attack on the Northern Water Tribe. Up until now the tribe has managed to survive the war largely intact (protected by an icy landscape and an army of waterbenders), but the Fire Nation is able to cause a lunar eclipse by killing the moon spirit, making the waterbenders powerless. The trope is invoked most strongly when the chief’s daughter, Princess Yue, willingly sacrifices herself to resurrect the moon spirit.
    • Book 2: Earth
      • Return to Omashu: Upon arriving at the city of Omashu to begin his earthbending training, Aang is devastated to learn that the Fire Nation has finally conquered it, mere months after he and his friends had visited the city previously. Not only does the Omashu hold personal history for Aang, but as one of the greatest strongholds in the Earth Kingdom - second only to the capital city of Ba Sing Se - its fall is a staggering blow to local resistance against the Fire Nation.
      • The Guru / The Crossroads of Destiny: In the 2-part season finale, Princess Azula and her cohorts infiltrate the long-impregnable city of Ba Sing Se and successfully execute a coup to oust the Earth King and claim the city for the Fire Nation. This is all the more notable (and shocking to the citizens) as it comes after a century of attempts by the Fire Nation to conquer the city outright.
    • Book 3: Fire
      • The Awakening: The full ramification of Azula’s coup of Ba Sing Se is shown in flashbacks, as citizens with shock and fear on their faces witness Fire Nation troops marching through the streets of the capital.
      • The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion / The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse : In a reversal of the usual mode, this 2-part episode sees the secure Fire Nation capital invaded by a combined Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom army, hoping to take advantage of a solar eclipse that will render firebenders powerless.
  • The Long Long Holiday: The series takes place during the German invasion and subsequent occupation of France from 1940-44. Played with in that the main characters aren't from Normandy, but rather, from Paris, and were only there due to being on a holiday at their grandparents' house at the time the German Invasion of France reached them.
  • Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles: In the uncompleted final season the Bugs make it to Earth. Appropriately it's titled "The Homefront Campaign."
  • Star Wars:
    • Like in the "Revenge of the Sith" example above, the Battle of Coruscant portrayed in Star Wars: Clone Wars is a brutal attack waged by the Separatists against the Galactic Republic with droids marching into the streets and destroying civilian vehicles as the Clones and Jedi do their best to fight off the attack.
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
      • The clones have a version of this happen to them when the Separatists lead an attack against the cloning facilities of Kamino. For the clones, this is basically the closest thing they have to a home and feel a need to protect their brothers from attack. The Separatists also want to steal the DNA template of the clones to prevent the birth of more clones and it is only the heroic efforts of the Jedi and the Clones that allow them to succeed and drive off the Separatist attack.
      • The leaders of Death Watch wanted to exploit this trope by causing so much unrest on Mandalore that the Republic would look like a military power exerting dominance on the neutral populous and using the war to justify it. However, this is subverted because the Republic manages to avoid getting involved with the affairs of Mandalore and its neutrality is respected thanks to the efforts of the Jedi and certain political leaders such as Padme Amidala.
      • However, in the final season, the former Sith, Maul, has managed to create a criminal empire and has plunged the planet into a Civil War. When Bo Katan recruits Ahsoka Tano to help her, the latter turns to Anakin and Obi-Wan for help and she is reinstated in the Republic army. Ahsoka leads the Republic invasion of Mandalore to capture Maul and remove his rule over Mandalore, making this a Double-Subversion that came full circle.
    • Star Wars Rebels: A variation when it is the Ghost Crew that begins to carry out acts of rebellion and sabotage against the Empire on Ezra's homeworld, Lothal. They carry out these acts with increasing boldness which results in the Empire increasing their security measures and carrying out their own acts of terror as a way of trying to assert control. This small-scale guerilla war escalates throughout the series until the Ghost Crew ultimately tries to liberate their homeworld from Thrawn's fleet in the final season.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: The Paladins of Voltron's greatest fear is that their enemy, the Galra, would find their way to Earth. In Season 7, this fear finally comes to pass; the Galra invade the planet, overwhelming its military and enslaving the people.

    Real Life 
  • Sadly Truth in Television, every warzone was someone's home before the bullets started flying.
  • Invoked by General William Tecumseh Sherman on his famous March To The Sea and Carolina campaigns during the American Civil War. He came to the conclusion that the Confederacy's field armies would keep fighting no matter how bedraggled they became due to the support of their friends and families back home, and so a quick way to make the armies crumble was to go straight for those friends and families right where they lived. He made it a point to minimise civilian casualties and primarily go for property and infrastructure... because live civilians can write to their family members still serving in the Confederate armies and beg them to return, which did indeed happen. As Sherman suspected, many Confederate soldiers were willing to stay with their comrades and endure hardship, but they couldn't stand the thought of their wives and children being destitute and starving. This led to increases in desertion rates.
    • This was also self-inflicted in regards to Sherman himself: he had spent many happy years living in the South and in his memoirs observed his unhappiness that he had to see many familiar sights in ruins.
  • During World War I this resulted in a sudden increase of effectiveness in the Italian Army: during most of the war the Italian soldiers, fighting for a cause they didn't believe into against those who were friends just the day before and abused by their officers in the name of discipline, put only just as much effort as they needed to get the officers out of the way and were prone to shoot themselves just to get away from the frontlines, and after the Austro-Hungarians broke through at Caporetto many just decided to go home... Then they saw the civilians running from the invaders, that propaganda painted as murderous barbarians, and realized the war was now threatening their homes, pushing them to rally and fight much harder.
  • World War II brought some of the most well known examples in collective memory:
    • In an inadvertent example, the British Royal Air Force accidentally bombed Berlin while targeting a factory town. An enraged Adolf Hitler took this as a personal affront, especially since the raid shook civilian confidence in his regime and contradicted Nazi propaganda that the British were on the verge of defeat. He ordered the Luftwaffe to change targets from RAF airfields to London itself in retaliation. Unknown to Hitler, the RAF were on the verge of breakdown due to unrelenting attacks, but the Luftwaffe changing targets to London gave them enough room to recover. Also of note, Hermann Göring would boast to his countrymen that if any enemy planes managed to bomb Germany they could call him "Meyer". They did, and he even ironically introduced himself as such in an air raid shelter once. Once Allied bombers started doing just that, air raid sirens were known as "Meyer's trumpets".
    • Joseph Stalin was made aware that Axis military forces were amassing not far from the border the Soviet Union shared with Axis territory, but because of a combination of just as much contradictory information implying an innocent reason for the buildup (e.g. the Axis forces were mustering before moving to reinforce their troops in Africa), belief that the Axis forces were tied up in the war against the British Empire, and his own refusal to believe that Hitler would be crazy enough to fight a war on two fronts, he refused to believe that war had come until reports came in of Axis forces smashing through the Soviet border units.
    • Britain raised the Home Guard in 1940 specifically to bolster a depleted Army and to fight off a German invasion from their own home towns and rural localities.note  Germany emulated this with the Volkssturm, composed of those who would in less desperate circumstances be too old or unfit to fight. The Volkssturm units very often fought and died in their own towns, and the siege of Köningsberg in East Prussia went on to the very last gasp owing to its own Volkssturmers being reluctant to surrender their city to the Soviets.
    • The Empire of Japan seemed near invincible coming out of the 1930s', as they had conquered Manchuria, and a good chunk of China, and set their sights on the Asian possessions of the European Empires. Once the Axis Powers were created, and World War II was in full swing, Nazi Germany took the European countries themselves, while Japan took over their Asian colonies in a Blitzkrieg operation of their own. When the United States cut off Imperial Japan's supply of materials, chief among them oil, Pearl Harbor was attacked with the intent to destroy the U.S. Pacific fleet, and to keep them from interfering in their affairs within the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere." In retaliation, the Doolittle Raid was given the go ahead to show that Tokyo itself was vulnerable to attack, and after a brutal Island Hopping campaign that lasted from 1942-1945, the Japanese Empire was beaten back, and the United States Army Air Force used the closest outlying Japanese islands to launch hundreds of bombing missions that reduced most of Japan's major cities to ashes. Operation Downfall, the proposed invasion of the Japanese home islands, was planed but ultimately cancelled after the the Imperial Government capitulated following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a Soviet Blitzkrieg campaign that wreaked havoc in occupied Manchuria.