Opening scene shows a man being roughed up by a group of men in an alleyway. A slate comments (in French) that when nations are bellicose, an assassination can cause a world war. Next, a slate shows picture of the world and states (in English) "One murder may start a world war." Another slate (in French) states that In 1914, while Europe's armies and fleets were more powerful than they had ever been, the nephew of the Emperor of Austria (Archduke Ferdinand) was assassinated. A front page is shown of newspaper, "Journal De Geneve" carrying the story. Next scene is a view of the city of Sarajevo. The ancient Emperor's Mosque dominates the scene. A slate appears asking Where is Sarajevo? It is followed by a map of Europe in 1914, which zooms in on Austria and Serbia and identifies and labels Sarajevo,in Austria, close to the Serbian border. Slates (in French) says Austria accused Serbia of War and other nations enter the melee. Animated World map shows the nations getting involved, starting with the German Empire in 1914, including its African colonies, and then successively showing Russia, France, Belgium,Great Britain, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire. Map advances to 1915, showing the Italian empire, Bulgaria,and Central Arabia. In 1916 it adds Portugal, Roumania. Next, the U.S.A. is added in, 1917, along with Central and South America, Greece, Siam, and China. Finally, the slate shows the war ending in 1918. Slate shows Armistice Day, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th Month (November), with time shown on hands of Big Ben in London.
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini standing together in an open car during a motorcade in Munich, in 1938. Civilian spectators render Nazi salutes as they pass. Next, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, arriving for the Munich treaty conference, steps from a British Airways Lockheed Model 14 passenger plane. An honor guard of helmeted and white-gloved German soldiers stands at attention during his welcome. Adolf Hitler climbs stairs of Berghof together with Chamberlain and Hitler's interpretor, Paul Otto Schmidt, on September 15, 1938 for their conference. Crowds of Germans give Nazi salute and cheer as Hitler and Mussolini appear on a balcony. Prime Minister Chamberlain back from the conference, speaks to the crowd at Heston Aerodrome on 30 September 1938, saying, among other thing, "We regard the agreement signed last night, and the Anglo-German naval agreement as symbolic of the desires of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again." Damaged buildings and ruins of city. Mussolini giving an impassioned speech. Italian cavalry carrying out a charge in Ethiopia. Italian troops employing machine guns in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War circa 1936. Italian infantry charging across sand dunes. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie at the League of Nations podium. Nazi Swastika eagle statue. A formation of German troops, during the Anschluss (German annexation of Austria,in 1938). Hitler at a podium. People rendering Nazi salute in annexed city.
At this point, the film transitions to 1950 as North Korean troops cross the 39th parallel and start the Korean War. A nighttime artillery barrage. North Korean troops firing a Browning M1917 machine gun and rifles. The feet of American soldiers are jumping out of foxholes as U.S.M26 Pershing tanks fire their guns from tilted positions below hills. A Pershing tank crosses a bridge back into South Korea, where a sign reads:"You are now crossing the 38th parallel, Co.B 728 MP."
Scene shifts again, to President Lyndon B. Johnson delivers speech about Vietnam at a news conference on July 28, 1965, in which he states,among other things, "Three times in my lifetime...Americans have gone to far lands to fight for freedom..." as he explains U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the Vietnam War.
Austrian troops moving cautiously along area of shallow trenches, during World War 1. King Charles IV of Hungary (Karl I, Emperor of Austria) on a hillside with his military staff, watching Austro-Hungarian troops in action. The troops running down a hillside towards trenches.
Austrian Emperor Charles I (Emperor Karl) reviews Austrian or Austro-Hungarian troops during World War 1. The Emperor is in Army uniform and converses with a contingent of Austrian Officers and soldiers in a field in Austria. A woman in apron and head scarf (nurse?) stands near the group of Austrian officers. One officer takes a photograph as the Emperor converses with the group. Mountain in background.
Austro-Hungarian soldiers pose with a 77mm Krupp field gun, model 1914, on display in a public square. Several curious civilians take note of them. Another view of the soldiers posing with two such guns, as several civilians walk nearby. In background, across the Danube River (based on information in the film opening slate) are significant large buildings of a major city. Several officers come to stand in front of one of the guns, as a soldier brings a 77mm shell out for all to see. Another soldier also displays a shell up for the camera. Scene shifts back to the initial location and soldiers standing by their gun.
A trench at a battlefield on the Eastern Front during World War 1. A dead Austrian soldier near the trench and a Christian wooden cross planted on the ground. Slate indicates Russian cavalry have succeeded in recapturing lands held by Austria.