Joachim Mahlke (Lars Brandt) is a high-school student who dreams of being awarded the German Iron Cross so he can wear it to hide his Adam's apple. When he steals one from a war hero, he is expelled from school. He joins the military and eventually earns his own medal, but in spite of his heroism, the older and wiser Joachim (Peter Brandt) is not forgiven by his former school principal. The film received a lot of publicity before it was even shown for having the two sons of West German Mayor Willy Brandt as the principle actors. Brandt would later become Chancellor of West Germany. Many former Nazi war veterans voiced their objections to the alleged "ridicule" of awarded military medals -- and they were in turn eternally ridiculed for being Nazis.
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