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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque-Barron's Booknotes
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A classmate, volunteer, and special friend of Paul, Kropp is a small man. Since he is regarded as the best thinker in the class, no one is surprised that he is the first to make lance-corporal. In group discussions he is the one who offers profound solutions and comments. It is Kropp, for instance, who suggests turning war into a public festival, with the generals fighting it out in an arena while the common people sit and watch. It is also Kropp who sums up their youth, their disillusionment, and their lack of training for the future by observing, "The war has ruined us for everything." With Paul he is sent to a Catholic hospital behind the lines because of wounds suffered during the evacuation of a village. Scheduled to receive an artificial limb after a leg amputation, he withdraws into long periods of sober silence.


Westhus is a 19-year-old peat digger with hands so huge that in one he can conceal a loaf of bread. He operates as Katczinsky's executive on foraging expeditions, and, on the whole, prefers army life to cutting sod. The army gives him food and a place to sleep, and in peacetime would offer what he considers nice, clean work. He is the one member of Paul's group who plans to reenlist after the war but dies of a back wound after being rescued by Himmelstoss.



The fat First Company cook, he is willing to trundle his pots right up to the front lines for his men. He provides a contrast with Ginger.


The red-headed Second Company cook is more concerned with his personal safety and regulations than with feeding the men. His pettiness contrasts with Bulcke's courage and generosity.


One of Paul's classmates, Behm is a plump, homely volunteer who dies two months before he would have been drafted. Wounded in the eye, he is shot down while blindly attempting to return to safety. His death greatly affects his classmates.

Later, Mittelstaedt upbraids Kantorek with the fact that had it not been for his marching the whole class down to enlist, Behm would have had at least two more months to live.


Paul's company commander, Bertinck is a fine officer who came up through the ranks. He bears Himmelstoss's complaint and treats Tjaden and Kropp as fairly as possible. He dies saving his companions from an approaching enemy team using a flamethrower.


Bredemeyer is a soldier and fellow townsman of Paul who tells Paul's mother about the increasing dangers in the front lines. His tactlessness makes Paul's first leave more miserable than it might otherwise have been.


Paul's mother is a courageous woman who is dying of cancer. She is the most comforting person Paul finds at home. She alone does not pretend to understand what it is like at the front. Paul is in agony over her illness and is overwhelmed by the love she shows him by preparing his favorite foods and depriving herself in order to buy him fine underwear.


Unlike Paul's quiet mother, Franz Kemmerich's mother tends to weep and wail. She had unreasonably expected Paul to watch out for her son, Franz, and blames him for surviving while Franz died. The two mothers show different reactions to the brutality of war.


This classmate of Paul takes revenge on schoolmaster Kantorek when the latter is assigned to the home guard unit Mittelstaedt commands. Once Kantorek had held Mittelstaedt's future in his hands by his potential influence in connection with examinations. Aware now that survival is more important than any test, Mittelstaedt ridicules Kantorek, even using the schoolmaster's favorite phrases.

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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque-Barron's Booknotes

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