General of Aviation Harras receives guests at the restaurant Otto. This is the only restaurant in Berlin, where you can hold private banquets in wartime under the special permission of Goering. Accordingly, one of the halls has a newest listening device for the Gestapo.
The general arrives at the restaurant from the Imperial Chancellery with an official reception, which he calls “the Führer’s beer-parties”. But Otto has French champagne, an appetizer from Norway, game from Poland, cheese from Holland and other “fruits of victory” from the occupied countries. Caviar from Moscow, of course, no.
Harras became a legendary pilot in the First World War, but he can not be given more than forty-five years, his open young face is attractive. Among his guests are the culturist Schmidt-Lausitz, the great airman von Morungen, as well as friends and close people. The General marks the fiftieth victory in the air battle of his friend and pupil, Colonel Eilers, This modest officer, embarrassed by the general attention, he hurries to raise a glass for the health of the general. Only one cultuurter out of place drains a glass under the “Heil Hitler”. Eilers got a short vacation, and his wife Anna, daughter of von Morungen, dreams to take him home as soon as possible.
The second daughter of Morungen, Manirchen, self-confident and cheeky person, assures that he does not aspire to marriage. To do this, you need to get a bunch of papers – about the impeccable Aryan pedigree, sexual potency, etc. Using lexicon of the Union of German girls, she authoritatively talks about the problems of race and sex, flirts.
There come four pilots from the Eilers squadron, awarded with the Great Iron Cross. They arrived from the Eastern Front, where they bombed Leningrad. The pilots acknowledge that the Russians will still “pepper”, but in the final victory of Germany they do not doubt.
There are three actresses, one of whom, Olivia Gais, Harras supports a long acquaintance. She brings with her niece Diddo, young and beautiful. Olivia introduces Harras to Diddo, “for which he is a kind of” perfect specimen “- a” monument of antiquity, “as the general admires, admiring the girl.
Meanwhile, the adjutant informs the general of secret information about the “troubles” of the German army near Moscow. The general considers the war with Russia to be Hitler’s mistake, he tried in vain through Goering to stop the expedition to the East.
Such dangerous conversations are conducted in the absence of a cultulete, whom the general calls a secret collaborator of the Gestapo, and where Schmidt-Lausitz directs culture, is a “cesspool”. Alone with Morungen, Harras talks about accidents happening with airplanes just coming off the assembly line. The general is frank with the industrialist, considering him his friend. He doubts the presence at the aircraft factories of underground organizations capable of such impudent sabotage. The general admits even that diversions can be the work of the Gestapo, preparing a trap for him – Harras is personally responsible for control of aircraft.
Harras believes that the Gestapo will not touch him, too keen on language and frank in sympathies and antipathies, he is needed as a professional. The meaning of his life was always flying. War – the element of the general, but he does not like to kill. He confesses to Morungen that perhaps it would be easier for him if he bombed the imperial chancery, not the Kremlin or Buckingham Palace. In general, he lived perfectly: “girls – in plenty,” “wine – even zaleysya”, “flights – as much as necessary.” It seems to Morungen that Harras seems to be taking stock.
The general notices that the young pilot Hartman is taciturn and gloomy, he manages to provoke him to frankness: the bride of Hartman Manirchen said that she is breaking off her engagement with him because he can not get a certificate about the purity of the race. The pilot is now waiting for death on the battlefield. After a long and intimate conversation with him, Harras hopes that he managed to convince the pilot of the value of his own life.
Olivia asks the general to help in the rescue of Professor Bergman, a Jew, a surgeon with magic hands, who has just been released from the concentration camp. The general already has experience in such matters, he can provide the professor with his sports aircraft ready for flight to Switzerland. He will be led by the professor’s wife – a thoroughbred Aryan, a pilot.
Soon between Harras and Schmidt-Lausitz, in the minds of all, there is a sharp conversation in which the culturist shows the strongest hatred for the Jews, and the general – a contempt for such “pigs” as he. The cultural master leaves, and the... general with a sigh of relief continues the banquet.
Kharras receives an important report – vacations to pilots are canceled, they are urgently sent to the front. Eilers gives the order for the morning gathering, he is ready to carry out the orders of the Fuhrer unconditionally. Айлерс believes in itself, in Germany and in a victory, does not doubt, that all becomes for the sake of the future world. A few days later, Harrasa grabs the Gestapo and keeps it for two weeks. According to newspaper reports, which friends do not believe, he is on the Eastern Front.
On the day of Harras’ return home, Schmidt-Lausitz comes to him and dictates the conditions for his rehabilitation for the Gestapo. The general must establish the reasons and take measures to suppress acts of sabotage in the manufacture of military vehicles. He is suspected of assisting “elements hostile to the state”. The culturter establishes a ten-day period for Kharras and says that he himself would not hesitate for ten minutes to neutralize such a person as the general. Harras replies to him the same and understands that he received only a “respite.”
To Kharras comes troubled by his fate Diddo, and between them there is an explanation in love. The general warns that his life is now worthless, “the raid began.” He is still able to defend himself – for Diddo, their happiness.
Olivia tells the shocked general that Bergman and his wife took poison as “the only way to freedom.” Olivia thanks Harras on behalf of the couple. Harras understands that everyone has “his own Jew for conscience”, but this can not be repaid.
Come Morungen and Manirchen. The industrialist, who substituted the general in the case of the aircraft crash, offers him the only way to salvation – to join the party and hand over military aircraft to Himmler, the SS. Harras does not want to be saved at that price.
The newspapers are bringing spetsvshshusk with a mourning frame: Eilers was killed in a crash when the plane dropped over the airfield, the Fuhrer ordered to arrange a funeral at the state level.
Manirchen talks face to face with Harras. She considers him one of the few “real men” and does not want him to ruin himself. The daughter of Morungen admits to him in love and proposes with her help to fight for power and influence in the country. Harras refuses to insult Manirhen form. He already knew that she was a Gestapo agent.
Ends December 6, 1941 – the last day of the period given to Harras. He sits at the technical office of the military airfield, along with engineer Overbrouh, whom he knows for many years. Айлерс has somehow told, that Овербруху it is possible to entrust “all condition without the receipt”. Both make up a report for the investigative commission. Overbrouh signs a report in which the causes of accidents are not indicated – they are not established. They bring two suspected workers who refuse to answer the questions of the general. He pities those people who are to be interrogated by the Gestapo.
Harras looks searchingly at the engineer and says that he can not take advantage of the last chance. He has nothing to say to the Gestapo, and from him, already unnecessary and dangerous, they are probably waiting for the “gentlemanly” departure from life-the gun is left to him. But the general intends to use weapons against the enemy.
Harras asks Overbrook to believe in his decency and tell the truth. The engineer believes the general: the truth is that he and other people, unknown and nameless, who share a common goal and common enemy, are fighting for the defeat of Germany in this war. It is necessary to dodge those who serve as “weapons of the enemy”, a weapon that he can defeat. So died Eilers – a friend of Overbrook. Participants in the Resistance movement do not stop the death of the one they love, nor does it stop their own death.
Overbrook wants to save the general, believing that he can bring help to the movement. He invites him to flee to Switzerland.
Harras refuses – for him, who became a “general of the devil,” it’s too late to join the fight against him. But Overbrouh, behind whom there is a just cause, must stand firm. Harris signs the report – it’s better for the engineer, and quickly goes out.
Overbrook rushes to the window and sees Harras getting into the car, ready for testing, soaring and gaining altitude. Then the noise of the motor suddenly abates.
Schmidt-Lausitz reports to the Fuhrer’s stance that General Harras, in fulfilling his duty, died while testing a combat vehicle. Funerals at the state level.