The narrator and protagonist of the novel. Paul and a number of friends enlist in the army at the onset of World War I after being inspired (and pressured) by the nationalist rhetoric of their… (read full character analysis)
The former schoolteacher of Paul¸ Albert Kropp, Leer, and Joseph Behm. Kantorek pressured his students to enlist in the army and inspired them with nationalist rhetoric. Paul and his friends had… (read full character analysis)
A postman in civilian life, Corporal Himmelstoss abuses young recruits in his wartime role as a trainer at boot camp. He was particularly cruel to Tjaden, a bedwetter, whom Himmelstoss made share a bed… (read full character analysis)
One of Paul’s closest friends. Katczinsky, or Kat, at 40 years old, is the oldest of Paul’s friends at the front and by far the cleverest. Kat has a knack for rounding up food and supplies in even the most barren conditions.
Another classmate of Paul’s. A bedwetter with a big appetite, Tjaden suffered abuse from Corporal Himmelstoss and longs to get even with him.
A French soldier whom Paul kills after Duval jumps into a shell hole in No Man’s Land where Paul is hiding. As Gérard slowly dies, Paul comes to sympathize with him and tries to comfort him.
A classmate of Paul’s and the most strong-willed and independent of the group. At boot camp, Albert, who is often referred to as “Kropp” in the novel, was the first to stand up to Himmelstoss.
One of Paul’s classmates, a smooth-talker with women, and an excellent math student. He bleeds to death after being hit in the hip towards the end of the war.
One of Paul’s classmates and also the most reluctant to enlist, and he does so only after Kantorek exerts great pressure. He is the first of Paul’s friends to be killed.
A simple peasant farmer with an affection for horses. Near the end of the war the sight of cherry trees makes him homesick for his farm, and he deserts the army, only to be caught and arrested.
A classmate of Paul’s whose leg wound develops into a deadly case of gangrene. His death early in the novel offers a glimpse of the meaningless destruction of life that is to come.
Paul’s father is typical of the older generation in his militarism and ignorance of the horrors of trench warfare.
A member of Paul’s Second Company, Haie was a peat-digger in civilian life. He shocks his friends when he tells them he would re-enlist in the army after the war, if only because it is better than peat-digging.
A bedwetter with whom Himmelstoss forced Tjaden to share a bed in a cruel and misguided attempt to cure both of them of their bedwetting problem.
A wounded soldier from Poland whom Paul and Albert meet while recovering in the hospital. When Lewandowski’s wife, whom he has not seen for two years, visits him, Paul, Albert, and the others watch out for hospital orderlies while Lewandowski and his wife have sex.
Another former classmate of Paul’s. Mittelstaedt advances in the ranks to become a training officer, and torments Kantorek when he is eventually drafted into the army.