After a year or so of running from trench to trench, shell-hole to shell-hole, the men were worn and tired.
Nothing phases them, they are constantly watching more of their friends being gunned down by the low flying planes that hunted them down like rabbits. Nearly all of his childhood friends were killed, almost duped into joining the army by their schoolmaster.
At around 1917, while sneaking into French lines to report to his platoon the positioning of the machine guns and where they could sweep; if low, they would almost rip the men’s feet off, he was caught in a shell hole while his companions were launching a ground attack at the very base he was scouting. While the French launched a counter attack, he thought about what he would do if a Frenchman fell in the hole. He thought, “If someone were to fall in this very shell-hole, I would have to be first to attack.
While he heard the Frenchman’s cries of war, he knew the counter-attack was beginning. Suddenly a man fell in “his” hole and, ” I do not think at all, I make no decision,-I strike madly at home, and feel only how the body convulses, then becomes limp, and collapses. When I recover myself, my hand is sticky and wet.” He had to stay in the shell hole with the dying man, being constantly reminded that he was there by a continuous gurgling in the corner of the shell hole. The man died, a day and a half later.
It was after this horrible event that Paul realized that he should hold on to a single vow in his life, and that was to fight against the hate involving men of the same generation with the same ambitions and dreams as them fighting against each other simply because they wore different uniforms.
He was killed in October, 1918,. It was said to be so quiet that the army report confined itself to a single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front.