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In response to a summons from the king of an unspecified country, two oafish brothers, Ulysses and Michelangelo, leave their ramshackle home to go off to war. The summons is delivered by two military policemen (carabiniers) who describe the joys of being soldiers in foreign countries and doing such splendid deeds as stealing juke boxes, breaking old men's eye glasses, setting fire to women, informing on people, and leaving restaurants without paying the bill. Once they have joined the war, the two men bumble their way from Egypt through Rostov to American, all the while merrily reporting by postcard to their women, Cleopatra and Venus, on the fine summer they are having. As Ulysses kills a Marxist revolutionary woman, Michelangelo cheers for more and Ulysses continues to shoot her dead body. Besides the usual horrors associated with war, the brothers see all the artistic treasures of man's civilization. The fighting continues for 3 years without a sign of peace; the brothers' enthusiasm begins to wane, and they discover that their letter from the king will not enable them to acquire the new sportscar they had been promised. Eventually, however, the brothers return home with a suitcase of picture postcards showing the treasures of the world. When the war ends, they are instructed to exchange the cards for the treasures as a reward for their service to the king. But after the peace treaty has been signed, Ulysses and Michelangelo are unable to collect their bounty; fighting has broken out in the streets, and the king has been deposed by a revolution. The two brothers are arrested and shot as war criminals. Their executioners are the same carabiniers who persuaded them to join the army.