Illustration of Paul Baumer in a German army uniform with a red background

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Erich Maria Remarque

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Examples of friendship and comradeship in All Quiet on the Western Front


Examples of friendship and comradeship in All Quiet on the Western Front include the strong bonds formed between soldiers like Paul and Kat. Their mutual support, sharing of resources, and emotional reliance on each other highlight the deep connections that help them endure the horrors of war. Additionally, the collective efforts to care for wounded comrades further illustrate their solidarity and loyalty.

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What are some examples of friendship in All Quiet on the Western Front?

Friendship is probably the biggest theme in All Quiet on the Western Front. There are numerous examples of friendship being of paramount importance in the life of a soldier. In chapter five, Paul details how his friendship with Kat is unlike any he has ever felt outside of War and that they are closer than lovers. The irony is that they are cooking a goose in complete silence. He says that they are in complete unison. The are "so intimate that they do not speak."

A very sad commentary on friendship occurs when Paul is forced to kill the Frenchman Gerard Duval. Without thinking, Paul stabs him and causes him to die. As his mind begins to humanize his enemy, he is filled with sorrow at the effect that war has on human camaraderie. He thinks, "If we threw away these rifles and this uniform, you could be my brother just like Kat and Albert."

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What are some examples of friendship in All Quiet on the Western Front?

The importance of friendship and camaraderie during the trying times of war is a key element of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel. Each time Paul Baumer grows close to another soldier, it seems that person is injured or killed. Maintaining emotional connections in those circumstances is one of the character’s strengths.

Helping him to understand how much support and friendship matter is the sergeant nicknamed Kat, for Katczinsky. As his affection encompasses the younger soldiers, Kat shows them many crucial ways to survive, including taking Paul hunting. Most important, they must pull together. The loss of this father figure helps impress on Paul that human connections may matter even more when they are very brief.

Even small kindnesses are important when the soldiers could die at any second. Paul’s friendship with Albert is emphasized when they are wounded and dress each other’s wounds, and Paul bribes a sergeant to put them on a train together. Although his wound is less severe, he worries more about his friend’s suicidal attitude.

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What are some examples of friendship in All Quiet on the Western Front?

In the sixth chapter of All Quiet on the Western Front, specific examples of friendship can be seen in the midst of war.

Friendship is the tie that binds soldiers together. Despite the shelling, attacks, and sheer terror of war, companionship connects many of the young soldiers. This can be seen when Paul comforts his friend, Haie Westhus, in his last moments of life: "Haie Westhus drags off with a great wound in his back through which the lung pulses at every breath. I can only press his hand; 'It's all up, Paul,' he groans and he bites his arm because of the pain." The terror of the war has done much to desensitize soldiers from one another. However, Paul embodies the ethics of friendship in the midst of the war. He holds Haie's hand as he dies. This is a powerful example of friendship in the text.

Another such example is evident at the end of the chapter. After the intense shelling of the night before, the soldiers attend roll call. Paul immediately recognizes familiar faces as havens from the pain of war:

Now someone is calling the number of our company, it is, yes, the Company Commander, he has come through, then; his arm is in a sling. We go over to him and I recognise Kat and Albert, we stand together, lean against each other, and look at one another.

When they "lean against each other" and "stand together," it is clear that friendship is one of the most important elements to the soldiers in fighting off war's brutality. It represents how the soldiers need something, anything, to help them endure the unimaginable. In this way, chapter 6 of All Quiet on the Western Front displays distinct examples of friendship.

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In All Quiet on the Western Front, what are three scenes that show war's resulting comradeship?

Erick Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front is a blistering condemnation of the cruelties of war, but it also demonstrates ways in which comradery can survive in the most difficult of circumstances.

One such friendship can be found between protagonist Paul Bäumer and fellow soldier Kemmerich. Paul stays by Kemmerich's side as he slowly dies from a gangrene leg and other injuries he sustained in war. After Kemmerich passes, Paul visits his friend's mother; he lies to her about her son's death, claiming that he died painlessly. Through this act of comradery and respect, Paul demonstrates the power of friendship to alleviate a small amount of the pain and cruelty of war.

Remarque also describes instances in which comradeship between the soldiers enables them to unite against destructive forces. This occurs when Paul and his peers are put under the control of the notoriously savage Corporal Himmelstoss. The soldiers bond over their shared feeling that war allows power-hungry men such as Himmelstoss to abuse their authority. Soon after, Himmelstoss sends the men on an incredibly dangerous assignment to lay barbed wire; when they return to camp, the soldiers lodge a complaint against Himmelstoss to the field judge, who finds that the Corporal has indeed overstepped his authority. The comradeship of Paul's unit enabled them to push back against unchecked ego and stand up for their rights.

Finally, Remarque demonstrates how comradery can even extend across opposing sides in war. Paul finds himself training right next to a prisoner of war camp for Russian soldiers. He is surprised by the sympathy he feels for them, and he ends up giving them some of the food he brought from home. The comradership and shared humanity between Paul and the Russian prisoners was able to overcome the inhumanity of war.

Through Paul's interactions with Kemmerich, Corporal Himmelstoss, and the Russian prisoners, Remarque is able to show the reader that the only effective antidote to the cruelty of war is comradeship.

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