All Quiet on the Western Front

chapter 2 why does himmelstoss especially dislike paul and his friends

Chapter 2

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Paul describes how the boys were different when they enlisted. Twenty young men with no plans for the future proudly and patriotically enlisted. Their ten-week training prepared them for subservience to military authority. Their class was sent out among various platoons; Paul, Kropp, Müller, and Kemmerich joined No. 9 platoon under the disciplinarian Corporal Himmelstoss. The Corporal immediately disliked Paul and some of his friends, recognizing some defiance in them, and punished them with arduous tasks. Still, the training prepared them well; had they not had it so rough, Paul believes they would have gone mad in the trenches. They also developed the "finest thing that arose out of the war--comradeship."