All Quiet on the Western Front Quotes

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We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.

331

It is very queer that the unhappiness of the world is so often brought on by small men.

268

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

254

We are forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial—I believe we are lost.

230

We are little flames poorly sheltered by frail walls against the storm of dissolution and madness, in which we flicker and sometimes almost go out…we creep in upon ourselves and with big eyes stare into the night…and thus we wait for morning.

147

We came to realise - first with astonishment, then bitterness, and finally with indifference - that intellect apparently wasn't the most important thing...not ideas, but the system; not freedom, but drill. We had joined up with enthusiasm and with good will; but they did everything to knock that out of us.

119

We have so much to say, and we shall never say it.

109

Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades - words, words, but they hold the horror of the world.

89

Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony—Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?

87

At school nobody ever taught us how to light a cigarette in a storm of rain, nor how a fire could be made with wet wood-nor that it is best to stick a bayonet in the belly because there it doesn't get jammed, as it does in the ribs.

70

They are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades.

68

It's all rot that they put in the war-news about the good humour of the troops, how they are arranging dances almost before they are out of the front-line. We don't act like that because we are in a good humour: we are in a good humour because otherwise we should go to pieces.

43

Sweet dreams though the guns are booming.

39

The things men did or felt they had to do.

37

You take it from me, we are losing the war because we can salute too well.

36

Our thoughts are clay, they are moulded with the changes of the days;--when we are resting they are good; under fire, they are dead. Fields of craters within and without.

34

I am no longer a shuddering speck of existence, alone in the darkness;--I belong to them and they to me; we all share the same fear and the same life...I could bury my face in them, in these voices, these words that have saved me and will stand by me.

34

Katczinsky says it is all to do with education - it softens the brain.

32

It is too dangerous for me to put these things into words. I am afraid they might then become gigantic and I be no longer able to master them.

28

For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity, the world of work, of duty, of culture, of progress -- to the future.

26

The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom.

24

We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.

24

The wisest were just the poor and simple people. They knew the war to be a misfortune, whereas those who were better off, and should have been able to see more clearly what the consequences would be, were beside themselves with joy.

17

What is leave? – a pause that only makes everything after it so much worse.

14

We know only that in some strange and melancholy way we have become a waste land. All the same, we are not often sad.

14

No soldier outlives a thousand chances.

14

The train goes slowly. From time to time it stops, so that the dead can be taken off. It stops a lot.

12

Beside us lies a fair-headed recruit in utter terror. He has buried his face in his hands, his helmet has fallen off. I fish hold of it and try to put it back on his head. He looks up, pushes the helmet off and like a child creeps under my arm, his head close to my breast. The little shoulders heave. Shoulders just like Kemmerich's. I let him be.

11

Through the years our business has been killing;-it was our first calling in life. Our knowledge of lif eis limited to death.

10

What use is it to him now that he was such a good mathematician at school?

10

I am no longer a shuddering speck of existence, alone in the darkness; - I belong to them and they to me; we all share the same fear and the same life, we are nearer than lovers, in a simpler, a harder way; I could bury my face in them, in these voices, these words that have saved me and will stand by me.

10

I love him, his shoulders, his angular, stooping figure – and at the same time I see behind him woods and stars, and a clear voice utters words that bring me peace, to me, a soldier in big boots, belt, and a knapsack, taking the road that lies before him under the high heaven, quickly forgetting and seldom sorrowful, for ever pressing on under the wide night sky.

8

I stand there and wonder whether, when I am twenty, I shall have experienced the bewildering emotions of love.

6

A hospital alone shows what war is.

6

I tell you this: it is the most despicable thing of all to drag animals into a war.

6

With our young, awakened eyes, we saw that the classical conception of the fatherland held by our teachers resolved itself here into a renunciation of personality such as one would not ask of the meanest servants.

6

The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces.

5

This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.

4

Give 'em all the same grub and all the same pay and the war would be over and done in a day.

4

Iron Youth! Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk.

4

In himself man is essentially a beast, only he butters it over like a slice of bread with a little decorum.

4

We are forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial – I believe we are lost.

3

Beyond this our life did not extend. And of this nothing remains.

3

The soldier is on friendlier terms than other men with his stomach and intestines. Three-quarters of his vocabulary is derived from these regions, and they give an intimate flavor to expressions of his greatest joy as well as of his deepest indignation. It is impossible to express oneself in any other way so clearly and pithily.

3

Please let the wind of desire that rose from the multi-coloured spines of those books catch me up again, let it melt the heavy, lifeless lead weight that is there somewhere inside me, and awaken in me once again the impatience of the future, the soaring delight in the world of the intellect – let it carry me back into the ready-for-anything lost world of my youth.

3

I cannot bear to look at his hands, they are like wax. Under the nails is the dirt of the trenches, it shows through blue-black like poison.

3

The trucks roll monotonously onwards, the shouts are monotonous, the falling rain is monotonous. It falls on our heads and on the heads of the dead men up at the front of the truck, on the body of the little recruit with a wound that is far too big for his hip, it’s falling on Kemmerich’s grave, and it’s falling in our hearts.

3

Those are for us,’ growls Detering. ‘Don’t talk rubbish,’ Kat snaps back at him. ‘You’ll be lucky to get a coffin at all,’ grins Tjaden, ‘they’ll just use a tarpaulin to wrap up that target-practice dummy you call a body, you wait and see.

3

we developed a firm, practical feeling of solidarity, which grew, on the battlefield, into the best thing that the war produced - comradeship in arms.

3

Take twenty years of my life, comrade, and stand up—take more, for I do not know what I can even attempt to do with it now.

3