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Free Study Guide-All Quiet On the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
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Chapter 10

Summary

Baumer's unit is sent to guard a supply depot located in an abandoned village. It is an easy assignment with abundant food and supplies. Baumer and his friends relax for three weeks before the fighting begins again. Kropp and Baumer are wounded when they are trying to evacuate a village. They are taken to a makeshift hospital and roughly examined. Baumer's wounds are minor, but Kropp is more seriously hurt. Both men, however, want to escape and find their friends.

By bribing the sergeant major with cigars, Kropp and Baumer are able to get on a hospital train headed for the rear lines. During the journey, Kropp suffers from a high fever; fearful that they will be separated because of Kropp's condition, Baumer pretends that he too has a fever. When the train stops, both men are placed in the same hospital. There they meet Josef Hammacher, who is proud to have a "shooting license;" this certificate states that Josef cannot be held responsible for his actions, for he is a deranged man.

All the soldiers in the hospital are close to death. Baumer watches as Franz Wachter dies of a septic wound. Then he learns that Kropp's leg has been amputated; he is to be sent to an institute for artificial limbs. Baumer must also have surgery, for his bones are not healing as expected. After he recuperates, Baumer is given a short leave before he must return to the front.

Notes

This chapter again serves as a contrast between living and dying. Baumer's unit has been given the easy assignment of guarding a supply depot. For three weeks, he and his friends enjoy abundant food and supplies. It almost feels like civilian life. Always close by to these scenes of life, the war wages on. It soon catches up with Baumer and his friends. During the shelling, they try to evacuate a nearby village. Kropp and Baumer, however, are hit. Kropp has some serious wounds; Baumer's are more minor.


Baumer's intelligence and compassion are again seen in this chapter. When Kropp runs a high fever on the train, Baumer pretends to have one as well; he heats up a thermometer to make the medical staff think he is seriously hurt, like Kropp. Baumer is determined not to be separated from his friend. The trick works and both soldiers are placed in the hospital together. Kropp's leg is amputated, and Baumer undergoes surgery.

While he is in the hospital, Baumer reflects on his war experiences. He again questions why war is waged. He also wonders what will happen to his generation after suffering the trauma of death and desolation caused by the war. He knows that he will never again be the same man; he will be haunted throughout his life by the brutality and loss he has seen.

During the chapter, Remarque gives a vivid description of the badly wounded patients and the substandard conditions of the hospital. The atmosphere is desolate, cold, and grim; the Doctors are cruel and treat the patients as guinea pigs. Every type of injury imaginable can be seen in the wards. A wartime hospital quickly exposes the brutality of battle.

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Free Study Guide-All Quiet On the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
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