All Quiet on the Western Front: Top Ten Quotes

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  1. "We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through."

    Paul expresses how his generation feels cut off from the older generation. Ch.1, p. 12. (All references are to the edition translated by A. W. Wheen and published by Little, Brown & Company, 1929.)

  2. "The 'Iron Youth.'"

    Kantorek's expression for the young soldiers. Ch. 2, p. 18.

  3. "To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and security; she shelters him and gives him a new lease of ten seconds of life, receives him again and often for ever."

    Paul's thoughts. Ch. 4, p. 54.

  4. "It's unendurable. It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning."

    Paul's comments about the sounds made by the wounded horses. Ch. 4, p. 62.

  5. "We have lost all feeling for one another. We can hardly control ourselves when our hunted glance lights on the form of some other man. We are insensible, dead men, who through some trick, some dreadful magic, are still able to run and to kill."

    Paul's thoughts as his men counter-attack during a long battle. Ch. 6, p. 115.

  6. "A terrible feeling of foreignness suddenly rises up in me. I cannot find my way back, I am shut out though I entreat earnestly and put forth all my strength."

    Paul, on leave, sits in his own room, but cannot relate to all the things of his past. Ch. 7, p. 176.

  7. "A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends."

    Paul's reflections about the Russian prisoners. Ch. 8, p. 195.

  8. "Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy? If we threw away these rifles and this uniform you could be my brother just like Kat and Albert."

    Paul speaks to the French soldier he has just killed in the shell-hole. Ch. 9, p. 226.

  9. "A hospital alone shows what war is."

    Paul's observation after seeing the terrible wounds the men in the hospital suffer from, which is still only one of hundreds of thousands of hospitals that care for the victims of the war. Ch. 10, p. 266.

  10. "All quiet on the Western Front."

    The army report on the day in October, 1918, when Paul was killed. Ch. 12, p. 291.

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