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Characters

Albert Kropp

Character Analysis

Kropp is painted as the "hungriest" along with Tjaden. So what are all these young boys hungry for? Is it just food? A rationale for fighting this war? Fairness? A voice? Kropp is the first to notice the rank injustices: at Kemmerich's hospital intervention, he points out how the nurses and attendants quickly respond to officers' pain, but are slow to take care of enlisted men. Kropp bonded with Paul under Himmelstoss's boot camp regime, scrubbing the Mess with a toothbrush, hand-shoveling snow, standing at attention for hours. And Kropp had cojones – when Himmelstoss walks beneath him and Paul, who are carrying a large bucket from the toilets, he "slips" and dumps it on him. The guy has no fear of authority.

Remarque uses Albert as his musing mouthpiece for reasons the war was just a bad, ill-conceived idea. Kropp proposes that a declaration of war should be a kind of popular festival with entrance-tickets and bands like a bullfight. Then, in the arena, the ministers and generals of the two countries, dressed in bathing drawers and armed with clubs, can have it out among themselves. The survivor's country wins.

Albert's death is less poetic. He is shot in the leg above the knee. He determines that if they have to amputate the leg, he will find his revolver and air out his skull. In the hospital he gets an infection and fever – his leg is gone.

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