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Caught in a bloody and seemingly unending offensive after waiting in anticipation and boredom for many days, Paul describes the state of being that characterizes the fighting man in battle conditions.
"We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. It is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us down - now...we can see his face...now...we can destroy and kill, to save ourselves...and be revenged."
Words cannot really express what it is like being in battle. Paul says,
"Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades - words, words, but they hold the horror of the world."
The theme of the displacement of an entire generation is addressed again in this chapter; there will be no going back for Paul and his friends. He reflects,
"To-day we would pass through the scenes of our youth like travellers. We are burnt up by hard facts; like tradesmen we understand distinctions, and like butchers, necessities. We are no longer untroubled - we are indifferent. We might exist there; but should we really live there? We are forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial - I believe we are lost" (Chapter 6).
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