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Quotes

Quote #1

"It's queer, when one thinks about it," goes on Kropp, "we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?" (9.35)

Kropp asks in a sense, "What is love?" or at least "What is love of country?" Does it come from the ideals put forth by intellectuals or people who fight because, if they don't, they die? Is it possible to love a country? Or hate one? Are the French more or less patriotic than the Germans? Does winning this war make the winner more or less patriotic?

Quote #2

While they continued to write and talk, we saw the wounded dying. While they taught that duty to one's country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger. (1.64)

If the soldiers don't buy the arguments and the words of their superiors, of the older generation, then why do they fight? If the "death-throes" are stronger than duty to one's country, then what does this war mean to the young men who fight in it? What are they fighting for?

Quote #3

We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but also we distinguished the false from the true, we had suddenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. (1.64)

How do these different generations love their country? What examples of this love do we see? Paul seems to be indicating that times have indeed changed, but that the older generation does not recognize this change. Do you think there is a similar rift between generations in today's world? How do these soldiers learn to distinguish the false from the true, and why is it important that they learn this skill?

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