Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
On a Monday in May, 1918, a most unusual event takes place on a battlefield in France. French and German troops face one another after four years of trench warfare. At dawn, the regiment under the command of General Gragnon refuses to attack. Another unbelievable event occurs when the Germans, who are expected to take advantage of the mutiny, do not move either. At noon, the whole sector of the front stops firing and soon the rest of the front comes to a standstill. Division Commander Gragnon requests execution of all three thousand mutineers; he also demands his own arrest.
On Wednesday, the trucks carrying the mutinous regiment arrive at headquarters in Chaulnesmont, where the dishonor brought on the town arouses the people to noisy demonstration. Relatives and friends of the mutineers know that a corporal and his squad of twelve, moving in a mysterious way behind the lines, succeeded in spreading their ideas about peace on earth among the troops. Four of the thirteen men are not Frenchmen by birth; among those only the Corporal speaks French, and he is the object of the crowd’s fury.
This situation creates uncertainty among the Allied generals because a war ended by mutiny is not reconcilable with military principles. To clarify the confusion, a conference takes place to which a German general is invited, and an agreement is reached for continuation of the war. To young Flight Officer David Levine, the unsuspected pause in war means...
(The entire section is 1098 words.)
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