All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque
All Quiet on the Western Front Warfare Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
A man cannot realize that above such shattered bodies there are still human faces in which life goes its daily round. And this is only one hospital, one single station; there are hundreds of thousands in Germany, hundreds of thousands in France, hundreds of thousands in Russia. How senseless is everything that can ever be written, done, or thought when such things are possible. It must all be lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent this stream of blood being poured out, these torture-chambers in their hundreds of thousands. A hospital alone shows what war is. (10.209)
Note how the author does not just focus on German suffering, but that of the enemy and the enemy's enemies. He looks at the enormity of suffering and war-wrought waste across the world and over the centuries. Hospitals in our mind are places where people go to get better, but this hospital (and other hospitals of the war) only seem to make its patients feel worse about the state of things. Our narrator finds no relief in the hospital.