Synopsis by Bruce Eder
A father-son conflict set against the tumultuous background of the First World War lies at the center of this high-class soap opera. S.I. Rupp (Emil Jannings) is a former butcher who has been elevated to the pinnacle of success in postwar Europe, by virtue of having made a few correct decisions about business during the recently ended world war. Now he is one of the wealthiest men on the continent, and beloved of the press and public for his charitable work, his beef company feeding thousands every day who would otherwise starve; and he has in his employ, at his beck-and-call, numerous members of the former aristocracy, reduced to penury by the dissolution of countries and governments. Rupp is a decent man but also a crude man, given to acting on his impulses, and like many a self-made man he also has a tendency to brook no contradiction or interference when he thinks he's right, which is most of the time. The one person in the world whom he loves and respects is his son, Fred (Hermann Thimig), by his first marriage, who, among his other attributes, is a champion-level racing-car driver. Rupp's personal life explodes, however, when he agrees to marry a beautiful former aristocrat; through a misunderstanding, Rupp thinks his son is also interested in his bride-to-be, and father and son end up estranged, just when Rupp's enemies and rivals are preparing to destroy him and his empire.