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All Quiet on the Western Front

by Erich Maria Remarque

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Why do the characters in All Quiet on the Western Front hate the observation planes?

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In the book, the men say that they do not hate the fighter airplanes.  In fact, they kind of enjoy them.  They like watching the fighter pilots in their dogfights.  It is like a form of entertainment for the men down in the trenches.

But the observation planes are a different story.  Their purpose is to hurt the men on the ground.  They are in charge of directing the artillery.  They let the people firing the cannons know if they are on target.

So the men in the trenches hate them because they help the artillery aim properly and that is likely to kill the men in the trenches.

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