When the next battle takes place, Paul and Kropp are wounded and forced to bribe a sergeant-major with cigars in order to be placed on the hospital train together. Since Paul cannot leave the hole until the attack is over, he must wait beside the body. With romantic notions of war and idealistic dreams in his head he undergoes training and then is sent off to the Western Front. Of the one hundred and fifty men that they go to war with, few will actually survive. The bombs blow apart trees and smash parts of the trench into pieces.
After this, he feels that he has lost his trust in authority figures like Kantorek. Kat is one of the few soldiers whom Paul associates with that is not a former schoolmate. They divorced again after fleeing to the United States. They decide that they will stay with Kemmerich until he dies and take the boots before the orderlies can steal them. But he's still disrespected, and storms off. He worries that everyone he knew in his town is now gone and that his generation will have no survivors. Remarque adopted this style by using graphic language and gruesome details, while refusing to romanticize the war.
He's contrasted with Himmelstoss a former postman , who is largely incompetent, but has embraced every ounce of power his military rank has given him. As the man slowly dies over the next day, Paul feels regret and does what he can to comfort him. After the shelling stops again, Paul emerges from the ground and finds that the new recruit he had protected earlier has been badly wounded. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through. Their naives romantic illusion starts turning sour during training in Oldenburg under sadistic corporal Himmelstoss, who later proves himself a coward at the front, yet is decorated by Kaiser Wilhelm, unlike many braver boys. But when he arrives, Himmelstoss is deeply humbled by the bloody battles. Kat is a forty-year-old man with a family.
He tries to recapture his childhood but finds that he cannot and that being a soldier is all he knows now. One young man, Joseph Behm was also in the Second Company but was one of the first to die. Kat is a good soldier with a similar outlook to Paul. However, every soldier is stripped of his humanity at some point when animal instincts kick in for the sake of survival. Behm was killed horrifically in an early battle. Paul learns to hide and disconnect his emotions which cause him to feel as though he is not even human anymore.
Paul thinks often about his life before the war and visits a fellow soldier who eventually passes away from his wounds. However, he does share his cigarettes with the prisoners Paul learns that his mother has been taken to the hospital and that his family is struggling to pay for the care she is receiving. Paul, Leer and Kropp go swimming in a French canal and discover three French women. His friends point out the snipers picking off enemy soldiers and point out that, unlike the snipers, Paul had no choice as it was kill or be killed. He didn't want to paint a picture of illustrious heroes. Kropp yells, complaining that the orderlies take care of officers' pains quickly with morphine injections.
The novel begins with 19-year-old Paul already on the front lines, but it includes a bit of backstory about how Paul was inspired to enlist in the German army alongside some of his classmates. Paul feels that it seems likely that the German people will revolt against the kaiser after the war is over because of the torment they have been made to suffer. Initially, the cook refuses to give the men the surplus food, saying it is against regulations. Corporal Himmelstoss — The training sergeant initially in charge of the Second Company, Himmelstoss is sent to the front in punishment for going overboard in his torment of young recruits. An enemy soldier jumps into the shell hole with him and Paul stabs the man. He's down to earth and keeps it real.
A soldier named Detering deserts but is captured. One night Paul and his friends waited for Himmelstoss outside of a pub. These young men were in Paul's school class, and the novel follows their lives. However, countless others have argued that the novel portrays the common soldier's experience and, ultimately, his nationality doesn't matter. Shot in the eye and left for dead, he crawled around No Man's Land until he was shot again and killed.
We are none of us more than twenty years old. Himmelstoss arrives at the front, having been punished for an excessive discipline of his recruits. He is found to have a calm expression, as if he's relieved. He used to enjoy writing poetry but no can no longer find any poetic thoughts within himself. Paul's actions toward the young soldier are an example of how the horror of the war at least bands together the soldiers in friendship. At the hospital, Paul undergoes surgery.