Exhausted and overworked, when Death (Der Tod) hears Kaiser Overall’s decree that everyone must fight until there is no one left, he quits. He breaks his sword and removes the power of death. Try as they might, mortally wounded soldiers everywhere can no longer die. Without the power of death, Kaiser Overall begins to lose his grip over the people; Soldiers and Maidens can fall in love rather than shoot each other.
But this cannot continue. Men and women everywhere are left suspended between life and death; unable to die, but too injured to continue living. Kaiser Overall faces Death himself, and asks him to take up his sword again. Death agrees, on the condition that Kaiser Overall is sacrificed in exchange.
Der Kaiser von Atlantis is a skillfully worked parable, and a plea for Death to be allowed to happen at its set time, rather than according to the schedule of war.
Der Kaiser von Atlantis guide sections