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As an American husband and wife begin reading aloud the tale of two European families caught in the war, their words are visualized on the screen. Albert, called to war, is forced to leave his wife Louise alone, while another husband in an enemy village, who is a captain and the father of two children, also leaves to serve his country. Brutalized by the horrors of battle, the captain turns to drink and in his drunken state gradually loses all traces of humanity. Eventually he arrives at Albert's house and, finding Louise alone, rapes her. The war finally ends and Albert returns home, gladdened at the birth of a son. Upon learning that Louise refuses to touch the infant, Albert demands an explanation and Louise relates the story of her humiliation. Furious, Albert seeks to kill the child, but Louise's maternal instincts finally assert themselves and she saves its life. Closing the book, the American family rejoices that America is at peace.