In Chapter Three of All Quiet on the Western Front, Kropp and Kat discuss how wars should be fought. Comment on their philosophies.   

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter Three furthers the theme of comaraderie as salvation from some of the horrors of war. After the reinforcements arrive, Stanislaus Katczinsky, known as Kat, arrives and, soon therafter, he steps out and returns with bread and horsemeat for them to eat in an area where the local residents are starving. The fatherlike Kat not only feeds the young men, he advises them, explaining that men like Himmelstoss, who was just a postman, become overbearing when given authority:

"As sure as they get a stripe or a star they become different men, just as though they'd swallowed concrete.....In himself man is essentially a beast, only he butters it over like a slice of brad with a little decorum."

Concomitant with this thinking, is Kat's theory that if all soldiers, privates and officers alike, were given the same treatment, food, and pay, the war would soon be over. On the other hand, Kropp's proposes another way to quickly end wars.  A declaration of war should be held something like a bull fight where ministers and generals of opposing countries are placed in an arena where, armed with clubs, they would fight each other since they are the ones who have the grievances.  Kropp feels this is a more equitable arrangement rather than having "the wrong people do the fighting."

Both the observations of Kat and Kropp point to the senseless waste of lives involved in wars among countries.  The soldiers like Paul and the others in his troop are simply being used as pawns of the rulers of these countries; they have no grievance against the French that they fight.

Read the study guide:
All Quiet on the Western Front

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question