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In 1945, following the defeat of Germany by Allied forces, an international group of women prisoners is being held in a Shanghai hospital that serves as an officers' club. When a sixteen-year-old girl named Helen James is about to be raped by a German officer, she kills him with a broken wine glass. The women are then brought before Nazi Colonel von Meyer for questioning, but no one confesses to the murder. Among the group are American foreign correspondent Claire Adams, French entertainer Yvette Aubert, and Li Lung, the daughter of a wealthy Chinese merchant and a member of the Chinese underground. Von Meyer is expecting the arrival of Japanese Colonel Noyama and Professor Kunioshi in order to hand over plans for a cosmic ray that is one hundred-times more deadly than the atomic bomb. Before they arrive, however, the Allies drop a hydrogen bomb Nagasaki, Japan, and von Meyer, anticipating the imminent defeat of the Japanese, decides to withhold the cosmic ray and use the women as a distraction. The women are given evening gowns and are ordered to look their best for a party that evening. Helen, meanwhile, is reunited with her mother, a washerwoman in the hospital, who has not seen her in two years and has since gone insane. At the party, Kunioshi picks Claire as his companion for the evening, but when the lights go out, she embraces Nazi officer von Arnheim. Helen, meanwhile, is approached by a Japanese man; terrified, she runs to her room, where her mother poisons her to save her virtue. For her crime, Mrs. James is brought before von Meyer, then throws a candelabra at a picture of Hitler and is sentenced to death. Claire, meanwhile, accompanies Kunioshi back to his room, where Li stabs him to death. Claire is then reunited with von Arnheim, who is really her husband Philip, a member of the American Office of Strategic Services. Determined to save herself, Yvette spends the night making love to von Meyer. At dawn, Mrs. James is shot. Later, in the cellar, Li reports Kunioshi's death to her lover Chang, who is a member of the Chinese underground and is in charge of supplies for the club. Chang has smuggled in enough dynamite to blow up the building. Unaware of von Arnheim's real identity, Chang tries to kill him, but Claire intervenes. Meanwhile, the warden, Frau Tyler, finds Kunioshi's body, and the women are again interrogated. The group is surprised to see that Yvette does not turn them in, and she later confesses that her family was butchered before her eyes and that she became a fallen woman in order to survive. Yvette then overhears Noyama tell von Meyer that Von Arnheim is an impostor, and warns him in time for him to escape. Frau Tyler, meanwhile, discovers Li in the cellar with the dynamite and drags her upstairs. The women attack the warden, however, and she falls down the cellar stairs and dies. Claire takes Faur Tyler's warden's key and locates her husband and Chang in an underground meeting place. Meanwhile, at the hospital, the Japanese imprison the women as punishment for Kunioshi's murder. As the Germans shoot the Japanese officers, Chang, Claire and Philip arrive in a truck to save the women. Chang is shot in the mêlée, and Yvette sacrifices herself by lighting the dynamite in the cellar. As they watch the building go up in flames, Claire and Philip embrace.