| Quote #7
"Couldn't you polish him up a bit?" I ask.
Do you agree with the way Mittelstaedt takes revenge on Kantorek? Paul seems to suggest that his friend should take pity on and try to improve their old school teacher. In many ways it seems that these soldiers have so little joy in their lives that revenge-seeking must be executed in only the most harsh and satisfying ways.
| Quote #8
Any non-commissioned officer is more of an enemy to a recruit, any school-master to a pupil than they are to us. And yet we would shoot at them again and they at us if they were free. (8.22)
In this war the real enemies go unaccused, and the soldiers must bring about their own form of justice. As soldiers, however, they must follow the rules of their country and kill upon command.
| Quote #9
"Heathen," she chirps, but shuts the door all the same. We have won. (10.140)
The soldiers find another pseudo-enemy in the nurses/nuns at the Catholic hospital where Paul and Kropp are detained. Again, we see an example of authority members who are more concerned with the appearances and rules than with the reality of the situation. The nuns pray loudly in the hall, refusing to close the door to the room where sick soldiers sleep.