All Quiet on the Western Front

Describe the horrors of war in chapter 6.

Chapter 6. 

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This chapter is divided into two graphic, minutely detailed portraits of war: life in the trenches, and life--or, rather, death--during battle.

The trench section is unrelenting in its description of the death that gradually creeps in on the men. Before they even directly face the enemy, the men have to contend for days with rats, claustrophobia, strained nerves, and hunger. The long-range capabilities of improved artillery and the advent of the airplane for reconnaissance created this new kind of fighting, or pre-fighting. Neither side could advance while under constant artillery bombardment, so the trenches, or dug-outs, became their only ally.


Paul's eye frequently roves over missing limbs and open gashes, but he cannot allow these sights to affect him too deeply. Rather, he must embrace his bloodlust along with the others and kill mercilessly. When he sees the Frenchman's face up close, he only momentarily refuses to kill before coming to his senses and hurling a grenade.