It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.
Epigraph means that even though they were not physically destroyed, they were mentally
Paul Baumer and the Second Company were resting after being in the front lines. They spent two weeks in front of constant battle. They started out with 150 men, but only 80 returned.
Leer, Muller, Kropp, and Baumer, all 19 and from the same class in school. They all enlisted voluntarily. Katczinsky is the unofficial leader of the group of friends. He is 40 years old and cunning. The 80 men ate the food that was supposed to feed 150 men.
Paul and friends were embarrassed with using the bathrooms at first, but now found them a luxury.
Kemmerich, a friend of Paul's, has a thigh wound and is in the hospital
Kantorek was the schoolmaster and was very patriotic. He persuaded Paul and his friends to enlist.
Joseph Behm was hesitant join but ultimately did, he was one of the first to die.
His death made Paul and friends lose trust in authority figures like Kantorek.
Kantorek writes to them and calls them "Iron Youth" glorifying their patriotism. The men used to look up to him, but now despise him for pushing them to enlist and exposing them to the horrors of the war.
The boys visit Kemmerich. He doesn't know that his leg has been amputated. Paul assumes that he will not live long because of the condition of his skin.
Muller wants Kemmerich's shoes because he has no need for them. Paul discourages him from pressing the matter.
Chapter focuses on the soldiers' external experience, the physical repulsiveness, violence, and exhaustion of war.
Chapter I Analysis
The novel's theme is the horrors of the war and its effects on the ordinary soldier.
Earlier war novels romanticize the war and emphasize the heroism and the glory on the battlefield, but barely mention the terror and the violence.
Paul and friends would have been