Inhumanity of War
In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, one follows the life of Paul Baumer, a private in the German military in World War 1. He and his friends try to survive as the people around them get slaughtered. Slowly one by one his friends die while the others fight for their own lives. This is a war with many inhumane actions that lead to unnecessary death or injury. In the story many inhumane actions spark guilt within a character, causing a humane action to be done in response.
The slow inhumane death of Kemmerich, Paul’s best friend, lead him to lie to Kemmerich’s mom about his death due to the guilt he would feel for her reaction and sadness. Kemmerich’s death was slow and painful. It involved getting his leg amputated, “‘He has a flesh wound in his thigh; a good blighty…’ Kemmerich raises himself off the pillow with his elbow, ‘They’ve amputated my leg (6, 27).’” He had been shot and had his leg amputated when it wasn’t his war to fight. He should not have had to suffer with the hundreds of other innocent lives. The leaders of the countries should be fighting their argument out themselves; not put thousands of men’s lives at risk. Kemmerich should not have to die for something he didn’t start. Also what was meant to save him killed him. He died in the hospital, not on the front. He died in the place where he should be mended, not killed. When Paul goes home on leave he visits Kemmerich’s mom to give details of how he had died so she could have some closure and know he went with dignity: “I tell her he was shot through the heart and died instantaneously…I will never tell her, she can make mincemeat out of me first (180-181).” If Paul had told her the truth he would feel exceptionally guilty because Kemmerich is his best friend, and Paul was not there when Kemmerich was shot. He also could not tell his mom that he died in the hospital because he should have been saved there, and then she would know...
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