Carl Behrend, son of a wealthy businessman, marries Pauli Arndt, daughter of a pacifist professor. When World War I breaks out, Carl is drafted. Pauli and her family and friends are left behind to experience the suffering which befell civilians during the war. Her luck worsens when her father is dismissed from his professorship for teaching that war is evil. Her father argues violently with Carl's father, and degradation and despair descend on Pauli and her family as they await Carl's return from the front.