The “chocolate cream soldier” is a reference to the character of Captain Bluntschli in George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man. The play is set during the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. The two characters who are mainly involved are Bluntschli and Raina Petkoff. An idealistic young Bulgarian woman who is engaged to a soldier whom she believes to be a hero, Raina calls Bluntschli this derogatory nickname to indicate her disdain toward what she sees as his cowardice. Later, however, she uses it as a term of endearment, which leads to some romantic plot complications.
The first scene between them occurs in Raina’s bedroom in her family’s home. Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary officer who is fighting for the Serbian side, is on the run after a major battle. When he enters the home through her bedroom window, he secures her silence with threats, but they soon begin a philosophical conversation. She comes from a military family, as her father is a major, and the two are on opposite sides; however, Raina decides not to turn him in. Bluntschli is avowedly unpatriotic and claims that he fights only for the money, not because he believes in any cause. In fact, his ammunition bags contain chocolates, not bullets. This admission prompts Raina to coin this nickname.
After he leaves and her fiancé, Sergius, retuns, Raina no longer finds him appealing. Several plot complications ensue, centering on Raina’s inscribing a photograph of herself "To my chocolate-cream soldier" and placing it in a coat pocket. Ultimately she chooses Bluntschli over Sergius.