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When Baumer returns to his unit, he finds that they have been assigned to the area of the Western Front where fighting is the heaviest. In spite of this news, he is happy to be reunited with his friends; for the moment, he feels rejuvenated and whole again. His contentment will not last for long.
Soon there is a lot of excitement, for the Kaiser is coming for an inspection of the unit. New uniforms are issued, and everything is cleaned and polished. When the Kaiser arrives, Baumer is disappointed to see that he is a short man with a thin voice; he also resents that the Kaiser claims that war is necessary. Baumer thinks that war is wrong; both sides claim they have a just cause, but neither really does.
Baumer's company is sent to the front. During the fighting, Baumer is pinned in a shell hole and separated from his friends, causing him to panic. As enemy troops pass by, he lies face down, pretending to be dead. A French soldier jumps into the hole with him. In panic, Baumer stabs him. Immediately remorseful for his actions, he tries to bandage the young soldier and give him water. In spite of Baumer's efforts, the soldier, Gerald Duval, dies. He learns that the dead French soldier was a printer with a wife and child. Baumer resents the fact that he has been reduced to the bestiality of murdering a fellow human being. He also resents that the war seems to be fought to satisfy the whims of people in higher authority, like the Kaiser. He again vows to crusade against war in the future.
After dark, Baumer emerges from his hole and returns to his unit. The next day he tells Kat and Kropp about Gerald Duval. They try to comfort him and tell him that he has done the right thing. Baumer tries to calm his own conscience and justify the murder by saying, "War is war."
Baumer is happy to be reunited with his soldier friends; they are the only people to whom he can now relate. He can talk about his feelings with them, and they always understand. When he is separated from them on the battlefield, Baumer panics; but he gains enough self-control to save himself from the enemy troops that are passing by. He lies face down in a shell hole and pretends that he is dead. Unfortunately, a French soldier, Gerald Duval, jumps into the shell hole with him. In total panic about the presence of the enemy, Baumer stabs him. Immediately regretting his action, he tries to bandage Duval's wounds, but he dies anyway. Baumer feels miserable that the war has reduced him to a murderer; he begs for forgiveness from the dead soldier, saying, "Forgive me, comrade, how could you be my enemy?" Suddenly the enemy has become very personal to Baumer, no more a nameless, faceless being.