All Quiet on the Western Front

(All Quiet on the Western Front) What does Paul mean when he says that it is not men they are fighting against, but death? (Chapter 6, page 113)

Paul says "We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. It is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us down--now, for the first time in three days we can see his face, now for the first time in three days we can oppose him; we feel a mad anger. No longer do we lie helpless, waiting on the scaffold, we can destroy and kill, to save ourselves, to save ourselves and to be revenged."

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Paul alludes to the fact that there comes a time in battle in which the only thing of any importance is survival. The opposing force is death..... acting is the difference between dying or staying alive.