The frailty and value of life is a giant theme in All Quiet on the Western Front. The author highlights the shallow attitude of observers who think of soldiers as toys that can be lost and easily replaced. The author spends great amounts of time describing the process of dying. Eventually, Death becomes the greatest enemy of all. In the novel, the bravest of the brave men die, while the weakest of men survive.
Though he lets himself grow cold and indifferent to the deaths he witnesses, Paul manages to remain human throughout the war.
The soldiers fight to save their lives, not to protect their country.