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Krebs is reacting to the less than warm welcome he received after returning to his hometown after serving in the Army during World War I.
Most of his fellow soldiers had returned home long before he was able to do so. The town had already heard all the horror stories and had grown weary of the tales of pain and suffering. Krebs soon learns to not tell any of his own experiences to anyone. His inability to express himself causes what we now know as depression.
The line that you are inquiring about, wanting to "live without consequences" comes when Krebs is contemplating becoming involved with a woman. He decides that he "did not want to get into the intrigue and politics." The whole idea of having to form another human relationship is too painful. The horrors of war combined with the callousness he percieves in his hometown causes Krebs to lose hope in life.
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