Historically, it can be seen as a precursor to Joseph Heller's Catch-22.
The book takes place in France during World War I and stretches through the course of one week. It tells the stories of "Corporal Stephan", who is representative of Jesus. The Corporal orders 3,000 troops to disobey orders to attack in the brutally repetitive trench warfare. In return, the Germans do not attack, and the war is simply stopped when the soldiers realize that it takes two sides to fight a war. The Generalissimo has the corporal arrested and executed; he is representative of leaders who use war solely to make themselves stronger (he invites the German general over to discuss how to start the war again). Before he has him shot, the Generalissimo tries to convince the Corporal that war can never be stopped because it is the essence of humanity.