Transgressions are made aplenty in All Quiet on the Western Front, usually in the form of an officer or teacher abusing the trust of younger soldiers or students. Himmelstoss the postman-turned-cruel-drill-sergeant is the most visible recipient of revenge as he was the commandant for most of the main characters in the novel. As the story unfolds, the young soldiers see the many ways in which is "discipline" is useless and meaningless. More broadly, the novel connotes a feeling of revenge against Death – each day a soldier continues to live marks another tick against Death. The playing field for revenge is complex, however, for there are times when a soldier is better off letting Death take him.
The soldiers are sustained mentally and emotionally by the revenge they are able to seek on Himmelstoss.
The way in which the soldiers beat Himmelstoss is excessive.