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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque-Barron's Booknotes
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The former porter at Paul's school becomes a model reserve soldier. Mittelstaedt sends him on errands through town with the former schoolmaster, Kantorek, who is an impossible soldier, so that everyone may enjoy the irony of the reversal of roles: the nobody is now the teacher.


Duval is a French printer with a wife and child. The soldier Paul instinctively stabs after he falls into Paul's shell hole. Paul's horror grows as he waits hours for Duval to die, and then learns the facts of his life from his wallet. Duval is a pleasant- looking man, and now he is dead at Paul's own hand. Guilt nearly drives Paul mad before a slowdown in the firing finally allows him to leave the shell hole.


In contrast to Paul, Oellrich is a sniper who is proud of his ability to pick off enemy soldiers. Katczinsky and Kropp point him out to Paul to shock him back to the reality of front-line warfare after Paul has killed Duval. Oellrich boasts about how his human targets jump when he hits them, and Katczinsky and Kropp remind Paul that the man will probably get a decoration or promotion if he keeps shooting so well.


Hamacher is a popular soldier in Paul and Kropp's hospital ward. He can get away with anything because of a "shooting license," a paper stating that he experiences periods of mental derangement.


Another patient, Peter is small and has black, curly hair. His lung injury is so serious that he is sent to the Dying Room, a room located next to the elevator to the morgue. He vows to return-and does, to everyone's amazement.


Sister Libertine is one of the nurses at the hospital where Paul and Albert are patients. Unlike some of the callous medics and surgeons, and even the other serious-minded nuns, she spreads good cheer throughout her entire wing of the hospital. The men would do anything for her.


Wachter dies in the hospital. Unable to get anyone to take care of his hemorrhaging arm wound, he makes Paul realize that patients can die just from neglect.


Three girls live in a house across the river from a German camp. Paul, Kropp, and Leer swim a closely guarded canal to spend two evenings with them. Leer's favorite is the blond; Paul's girl is the little brunet. She is not particularly concerned that he is going on leave. Considering the shortages, she will welcome any decent soldier, whatever his uniform, if he can also bring food.


Berger is the strongest soldier in Paul's company. At one time he stoically listened while the screaming horses died, but by the end of the war his protective shell has grown as thin as anyone else's. He loses all judgement and insanely tries to rescue a wounded messenger dog two hundred yards off. He dies of a pelvis wound in the attempt.


William II (1859-1941), or Kaiser Wilhelm, who briefly appears to inspect troops, is a figure from world history. Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia from 1888 to 1918, he was the son of Frederick III and a grandson of both William I of Germany and Queen Victoria of England. When he was a young man, his parents rejected his belief in the divine right of kingship and disliked his impulsiveness and love of military display. These traits have often been explained as his attempts to compensate for a withered left arm. His visit to the troops in this novel shows both his love of military display and his lack of an imposing physical appearance.

His goal was to make Germany a major world power, and he was the dominant force in his own government. He loved foreign travel but often spoke impulsively and insulted other heads of state. His actions helped drive Great Britain into an alliance with France. He engaged in the famous "Willy-Nicky" correspondence with Czar Nicholas of Russia, but undermined the friendship by supporting Austria in policies offensive to Russia. He strained relationships with France by interfering in colonial affairs in Morocco. Alarmed at the growing isolation of Germany, he allied his country with Austria, Italy, and Turkey.

His power declined after the outbreak of the First World War. His abdication was one of the peace requirements demanded by the Allies in 1918.

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