Before the war what did Paul think of the civilians?In Erich Maria Remarque's book, All Quiet on the Western Front, what does the protagonist Paul Baumer think about civilians compared to soldiers?

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thewritingteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Baumer's schoolmaster, Kantorek, rallied his students with a compelling call to courage and patriotism. He convinced Baumer and most of his classmates that those who didn't serve in the military were weak cowards whose upbringing made them stupid. The generation of adults who applauded those who volunteered to fight truly believed that "duty to one's country is the greatest thing." Baumer agreed with them, until the first actual bombardment.

Before the end of the second chapter in the book, Baumer has already revised his opinions about civilians, saying:

We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but we also distinguished the false from true, we had suddenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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