Almost anyone in the world could agree that people who are willing to fight for their country in a war are making one of the biggest sacrifices possible. From the non-stop bombardments and shelling of the opposing troops, to the always limited supplies necessary for living. Besides the dedication these soldiers display, physical and mental toughness is a requirement they must have to be able to perform at the peak of their abilities. The military prides itself on being able to get people in the best shape of their lives. In the German army’s case, Corporal Himmelstoss is a strict and dictatorial drill sergeant who pushed his trainees to the limit. As ...view middle of the document...
(Washington, George)” This quote pretty much says it all; if the men weren’t ready for war, then why would they even try to bring peace if they will probably just die?
In war, a man will witness many gruesome and horrific events. A soldier must not let these events affect them. The best way a soldier can prevent these things from affecting them and slowing them down is by being strong mentally. Himmelstoss’s training also contributed to the squad’s mental toughness. Throughout the training, Himmelstoss threatened them and mentally tore them apart and got them to change their state of mind. With the transformation of the troops’ minds, they began to focus a lot more on the war and concentrate less on their previous lives that they left behind. Himmelstoss’s physical training was not the only thing that changed the soldiers mentally, but just also the way he treated them got them more in the war state of mind. “What’s that, you muck-rake, you dirty peat-stealer? Stand up there, bring your heels together when your superior officer speaks to you. (Remarque, Erich, pg. 82)” This is just one of the examples of how Himmelstoss never treated the men with respect and ordered them to follow by the guidelines they are supposed to follow. As insolent as it was, that his how an officer should treat his soldiers so he can get them in the right state of mind so they can be more willing to fight. Himmelstoss’s unusual training also involved non-deserved punishment. Paul states, “I have remade his bed fourteen times in morning. Each time he had some fault to find and pulled it to pieces. (Remarque, Erich, pg. 23)” Himmelstoss’s reasoning for this bizarre event: He was an unruly and strict disciplinarian. The author, Erich Remarque, also says in the book, Paul was given the job of cleaning up the Corporal’s “Mess” with a toothbrush. Neither the men nor Himmelstoss realized they were benefiting from the punishments, but it actually helped them greatly.
As any normal person would when being treated unfairly, Paul and some of his other fellow soldiers began to plot revenge on Himmelstoss. One of their actions to get revenge on him was stripping him, covering him with a bed cover, and then beating him up. Their goal of this was to get payback, but little did they know, it ended up helping them in ways other than getting payback. With attempting to get this payback, it just angered Himmelstoss even further, thus resulting in him being stricter and having tougher training. As already mentioned, tougher training results in the soldiers being in better shape and having better success when fighting. This wasn’t the only time the troops tried to get revenge on Himmelstoss. They also would repeatedly call him malicious names, and showing him absolutely no respect. Even these events of name-calling ended up with Himmelstoss becoming angrier, also resulted in harsher punishment and training. The group of men may not have enjoyed the results of the...