The film, which won the Academy Award for best director, sparked unrest in Germany, where Nazi gangs released stink bombs and mice in movie theatres. His agonizingly painful death lasts half an hour. All Quiet on the Western Front tells the story of a group of young men, narrated by Paul, who get caught up in fancy speeches and sign up to be soldiers. Soon the artillery attacks them. Inexperienced recruits fail as reinforcements and die because they have no survival skills. They make the most of the village's possessions, decorating and stocking with food the concrete cellar in which they shelter. Paul sees glimpses of carnage as he rushes to capture enemy positions.
While the causes of the war were complex and are still debated by historians today, the spark that ignited the conflict was the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo in June of 1914. The men learn Himmelstoss is coming up to the front. He dies, and Paul runs home and gives Müller the boots. Stations of the Cross a series of fourteen crosses, as along the walls of a church, typically placed above representations of the stages of Jesus' final sufferings and of his death and burial, visited in succession as a devotional exercise. He despairs at his mother's weakness but enjoys the humor of Mittelstaedt tormenting Kantorek, now a member of the home guard and a poor specimen of a soldier. But then he realizes that he has no one to talk to.
But when people take the time to listen and try to comprehend stories of war, it's beneficial both for veterans because they need to be heard and civilians because listening to other people's experiences makes you, at the very least, a more empathetic person. Kropp points out that the young soldiers who did not have jobs before will have difficulty getting used to a new one after having fought in the war. The new recruits are younger than ever before and have no training. He spends most of his time alone. Haie's injury, which bares a quivering lung, denies Paul the opportunity to bandage and rescue his friend.
Muller is sorry for Kemmerich, but in the hard reality of war, he needs new boots as do so many other soldiers, and he knows that if he leaves without them, someone else will get them after Kemmerich dies. Gas shells are deployed, and the men scramble to put on their masks. Paul receives additional training at a camp on the moors, where he observes the sufferings of Russian prisoners of war, who must barter and scavenge garbage in order to stave off hunger. Survival requires their complete, unquestioning loyalty to one another. His friend torments Kantorek in military exercises, much to Paul's amusement.
Take your understanding of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque to a whole new level, anywhere you go: on a plane, on a mountain, in a canoe, under a tree. New recruits are brought in, but they die at high rates from foolish mistakes. Müller is killed, and Paul gets Kemmerich's boots. They realize, as have many individuals, that war is not all about glory. They have had to enter a crucible of unbelievable violence in order to form and solidify these friendships. Joseph Goebbels, who later became the Nazi propaganda minister, denounced the movie as anti-German. The repugnant motif of rat-hunting replicates the human image of men living in foxholes and scrabbling for food.
Paul goes on convalescent leave, and his mother, sicker than before, does not want to let him go again. Paul recovers and goes on leave, but sorry to leave his friend behind, he returns to front-line duty. Paul's unit, which includes some inexperienced recruits, lays wire at the front. After the shelling ends, Paul returns to camp, and is sent with his friends to guard an abandoned village. Many friends perish on the French battle fields or in the trenches: hellholes under shell - and toxic gas-threat, full of mud and corps-picking rats, where veteran Stanislaus 'Kat' Katczinsky tries to teach the ever younger recruits practical survival skills, although often too late. Second Company spends the summer near the front, fighting savagely with grenades, bayonets, and sharpened shovels. Food for the Whole Company Paul introduces himself by being happy about the amount of food and rations that he and his fellow soldiers have been able to get from the cook for their company, a group of soldiers of around one hundred to two hundred people.
The law of averages seems to work against the men's chances of survival. That would be When Harry Met Sally, btw. Days pass with no major attacks. Few people outside of veterans, however, think of the particulars. Exhausted by the lengthy bombardment, lack of sleep, and inadequate food, the men battle insurgent rats, which scream in terror.
Paul is recalled to his regiment. The reality of war is that it is brutal. The Germans are losing the war at this point; and because of rapid technological advances that the leaders of the war are slow to properly respond to, people are dying in higher numbers than in any previous war. Paul painstakingly carries him to the dressing station while shells crash around him. This might be the most devastating loss in Paul Bäumer's life: the loss of a feeling of home. In 1938, Remarque lost his German citizenship, eventually moving to Switzerland. He gets to sleep in a soft, clean bed instead of a trench or barracks, he gets home-cooked meals, he gets to enjoy the tranquillity of civilian life.