All Quiet on the Western Front

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One of Paul’s classmates. Müller is practical and unsentimental about what it takes to survive in war. When he visits Kemmerich, he pesters Kemmerich to give him his good boots even though this is a rather rude thing to do to a dying man who has just lost a leg.

Müller Quotes in All Quiet on the Western Front

The All Quiet on the Western Front quotes below are all either spoken by Müller or refer to Müller. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ballantine Books edition of All Quiet on the Western Front published in 1987.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Though Müller would be delighted to have Kemmerich's boots, he is really quite as sympathetic as another who could not bear to think of such a thing for grief. He merely sees things clearly…We have lost all sense of other considerations, because they are artificial. Only the facts are real and important for us. And good boots are scarce.

Related Characters: Paul Bäumer (speaker), Müller, Franz Kemmerich
Related Symbols: Kemmerich’s Boots
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

When Paul goes to the hospital to see Kemmerich, he is told to take the dying man’s boots for Müller. Paul observes that this is not cruel but rather a reasonable and pragmatic response given the soldiers’ circumstances.

Once more, Paul preempts the reader’s potential criticism of the soldiers’ actions. By focusing on the boots, Müller would seem to be violating an important cultural norm of having deference toward the recently-deceased—but Paul contends that he experiences emotions just as much as anyone else. Turning the apparent fault into a virtue, he continues, “He merely sees things clearly”—implying that the pragmatic approach to the boots is in fact better than an overly-sentimental one. Similarly, he casts “considerations” like reverence for the dead as “artificial” and in contrast with “the facts.”

Though one might read this passage as evidence of how extensively a war experience can alter one’s psychology, the language actually presents the soldiers as more aware and more intelligent than those who have not experienced such trauma. Juxtaposing “facts” and “artificial” considerations presents normal social rituals as false constructions—indeed the exact type of lie that initiated the war in the first place. Thus Remarque actually rehabilitates the image of being a soldier, contending that it grants a painful clarity into reality of the world.

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Chapter 9 Quotes

This is the first time I have killed with my hands, whom I can see close at hand, whose death is my doing. Kat and Kropp and Müller have experienced it already, when they have hit someone; it happens to many, in hand-to-hand fighting especially— But every gasp lays my heart bare. This dying man has time with him, he has an invisible dagger with which he stabs me: Time and my thoughts.

Related Characters: Paul Bäumer (speaker), Stanislaus Katczinsky, Müller, Albert Kropp
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

While a cohort of enemy soldiers retreats, Paul stabs one instinctively. He notes that this is the first man he has killed with his own hands.

This experience forces Paul to confront the violence inherent in the war for the first time. Nesting the clause, “whose death is my doing” under the statement “this is the first time” may strike the reader as odd—for Paul has certainly been responsible for death before. Yet this is the first time that that action has taken place directly in front of his eyes. Previous acts on the front have not required direct confrontation with another human. In this way, Paul realizes that he associates culpability not with actual violence but instead with perceived and proximal violence.

Beyond emphasizing the distancing, desensitizing effects of this anonymous and horrifying war, this passage affirms Paul’s deep capacity for empathy. He feels a reciprocal emotional pain for the dying man: His “gasp” affects Paul’s heart; his “invisible dagger” is a parallel weapon applied to his mental state (“thoughts”) and temporal existence (“time”). In this way, Remarque verifies the way that Paul feels an intense emotional response to the other soldiers. Though he may seek to repress this impulse in order to be an operational soldier and stay sane amidst the violence of war, the moments in which it arises are deeply affecting.

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Müller Character Timeline in All Quiet on the Western Front

The timeline below shows where the character Müller appears in All Quiet on the Western Front. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Comradeship Theme Icon
The Hypocrisy of the Older Generation Theme Icon
...the men were schoolmates back in Germany: Paul; the clear-headed Kropp; the brainy but practical Müller; and Leer, the most worldly of the bunch. All of the students had originally joined... (full context)
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
...try to cheer him up, but they are already planning to divide up his possessions. Müller tries to persuade Kemmerich to give them his beautiful leather boots, but Kemmerich resists. Eventually,... (full context)
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
The Hypocrisy of the Older Generation Theme Icon
...preoccupied and mostly silent. Only Kropp becomes visibly upset, tossing away his cigarette and swearing. Müller tries to distract him by asking about the contents of Kantorek’s letter. (full context)
Chapter 2
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
...first experiences of army life as a young recruit. He and his former classmates Kropp, Müller, and Kemmerich trained under the command of Corporal Himmelstoss, who forced them to do humiliating... (full context)
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
...village to recover. But his friend simply tells Paul to give his precious boots to Müller, indicating that Kemmerich has realized the truth about his condition. (full context)
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
When Paul reaches the hut, his friend Müller is waiting outside for him. Paul doesn’t say anything about watching Kemmerich die. He simply... (full context)
Chapter 4
Survival Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
...the guts” and may even allow them to return home to recover. The usually moody Muller is in particularly good spirits, as he is wearing the new boots he has inherited... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
Muller suddenly turns to Kropp and asks him what he would do if there were peace... (full context)
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
Müller won’t let the subject drop. He wakes up Haie and asks him the same question.... (full context)
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
Müller and Kropp tally up the casualties their school class has suffered: twelve out of twenty... (full context)
Chapter 9
Comradeship Theme Icon
...travels back to the frontlines to rejoin his regiment, and is pleased to find Tjaden, Müller, Kat, and Kropp all alive and well. (full context)
Chapter 10
Comradeship Theme Icon
Paul, Kat, Albert, Müller, Tjaden, and Detering are sent to guard an abandoned village. They find a suitable position... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
Müller dies after being shot from point-blank range in the stomach. He agonizes for half an... (full context)