All Quiet on the Western Front

what does the emphasis on perfecting the art of saluting symbolize?

from chapter 3

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It depends for whom? The soldiers or the generals?

Certainly the generals see it as respect, discipline, German pride....The soldiers see it as a waste of time and offensive.

The troops are drilling "how to salute" on a sunny day because of Tjaden's bad behavior in failing to salute a superior.

The troops joke about how vital it is to salute on the Front.

More absurdities mount when Kat rhymes, "Give 'em all the same grub and all the same pay and the war would be over and done in a day" – that is, uneven compensation between soldiers and officers is to blame for many of the war's issues.