Chapter One

Nineteen-year-old Paul Bäumer and his fellow German soldiers rest from the front lines. Paul enlisted in World War I at the urging of his fiercely patriotic schoolmaster. Having lost their fervor for fighting and their trust in authority figures, the soldiers spend their time thinking about how much their lives have changed.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter One

Chapter Two

Paul makes a distinction between young soldiers whose lives will be meaningless even if they survive the war, and older, married soldiers who will be able to move past their wartime experiences and return to their normal lives. Paul thinks back to the humiliating training that he received from Corporal Himmelstoss, but he admits to himself that it toughened them and probably helped them survive.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Two

Chapter Three

New recruits arrive, making Paul and his friends feel like grizzled veterans as they recall their own days as recruits in training. Some soldiers, like Kat, have personalities or skills that allow them to cope with the war better than others. When they learn from Tjaden that Himmelstoss will be with them when they return to the front, Paul recalls how he, Tjaden, Haie, and Kropp blindsided and beat up Himmelstoss on a dark road one night.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Paul and the Company are assigned the dangerous task of laying barbed wire. Almost immediately, the Company is caught in a horrific bombardment by the English as Paul and the other experienced soldiers try to help the recruits cope with tactics that include hiding under an exposed coffin in a bombed-out graveyard. Many horses are killed in the attack, which horrifies a soldier named Detering.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Four

Chapter Five

The soldiers take turns discussing what they will do after the war. Himmelstoss appears and finds that things are different at the front when Tjaden and Kropp insult him and receive only light punishment as a result. Paul and Kat go to a farmhouse and steal a goose, which they cook and eat to their fill, then take the rest to Tjaden and Kropp in their makeshift jail.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Five

Chapter Six

The men are disheartened as they wait for enemy forces to come to the front. The bombing starts before the first direct hit. The poorly trained recruits suffer the worst casualties, but even the more experienced soldiers are affected, including Haie, who is killed. Paul dwells on how the war has robbed him not only of his youth, but of any hopes he might have had for the future.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Paul, Leer, and Kropp sneak out of camp for a rendezvous with three French women and Paul has sex with one of them, hoping to regain some of his lost youthfulness. On a seventeen-day leave, Paul returns to his hometown and feels disoriented, especially around his sick mother. Paul learns from a former classmate that the despised schoolmaster, Kantorek, has been conscripted. Paul wishes he could die with his mother.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Before heading back to the front, Paul spends time training next to a camp for Russian prisoners of war, who pick through the German soldiers’ garbage. Paul is moved by the honest faces of these men and ponders the absurdity of the fact that the German and Russian soldiers are supposed to consider each other mortal enemies. Paul’s father and sister visit, and the only topic they can find to talk about is his mother’s worsening illness.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Paul arrives back at the front just in time to find Kat, Müller, Tjaden, and Kropp excited due to the imminent visit of the German Kaiser, an event that leaves Paul pondering the illogicality of a small group of rich men deciding when wars should occur. Paul volunteers for a covert mission into No Man’s Land in which he encounters a French soldier in a hole whom he stabs. Paul tries to comfort the man as he slowly dies.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Paul, Tjaden, Müller, Kropp, Detering, and Kat are assigned to guard a supply dump in an abandoned village, a task that turns into an unexpected source of camaraderie for the men as they take advantage of the food, provision, and isolation. Paul and Kropp receive injuries and are transported to a hospital where Kropp’s leg is amputated. Paul receives leave to go home and recover, but when he parts from his mother it is even more difficult than before.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

The war drags on and becomes more desperate for the broken German army as equipment breaks down, food is even scarcer, recruits are younger and less trained, and rumors of an end to the war make fighting seem even more senseless. Paul’s comrades are reduced one by one, as Detering deserts and is presumably executed and Müller, Leer, and Kat are killed in combat, with Kat dying in Paul’s arms.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Paul is the only surviving member of his original group of classmates as the war grinds on and the defeat of Germany is inevitable. Paul is given fourteen days leave to recuperate after inhaling poison gas, but he realizes he cannot go home since he believes that the war has reduced him and the other survivors into living corpses. Death finally comes for Paul, likely as a relief, on an unusually quiet day.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Chapter Twelve