Having lost his youthful innocence and joie de vivre after being in war, Paul feels alienated from his family when he returns home on furlough. Upon his return to the front, Paul finds himself almost destroyed by a shell. When he jumps into a trench another man leaps into it and Paul stabs him; later, Paul is regretful of his act and apologizes to the enemy. Later, Albert Kropp and Paul find themselves in battle and are wounded; Kropp is hit just above the knee; Paul is injured on his arm and leg. After a shell is removed from his leg, it is put into a cast, but Kropp does not fare so well: his leg is amputated. At first, Albert wants to die, but later he accepts an artificial limb and is resigned.
While he stays at the hospital, Paul becomes increasingly melancholy:
I am young, I am trwenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death ,fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.
In Chapter 11, after Paul's return to the front, his leg having healed, Mueller, who has inherited Kemmerich's boots, takes a fatal shot to the stomach. In the bloody summer of 1918, as the man contemplate "trenches, hospitals, the common grave," Katczinsky is hurt and Paul must carry him to the dressing station. Paul does not want to part from his dear friend and thinks about shooting himself in the leg. Tragically, as he carries his friend, Kat has been hit in the back of the head with a splinter, a splinter which manages to go into his head. Paul is devastated.