Paul is the narrator of the story who, together with some of his classmates,
volunteers for military service. He provides us with a first-hand description of his suffering on the Western Front and also documents the views of those around him.
Kat as he is known becomes Paul’s best friend.
He is the unofficial leader of Paul’s group of soldiers and is aged around forty. He is the scrounger of the group and miraculously produces food and soft jobs for those around him.
One of Paul’s young classmates, Leer is admired by the other young soldiers,
as he is the first in the group to have had a sexual experience with a woman.
Another school chum of Paul, Kemmerich, dies early on in the story following
a leg amputation. His fine leather boots are to travel through the story and live as long as Paul.
Another of Paul’s schoolmates, Muller vainly clings onto the past by keeping
his school books with him and dreams about school examinations. He is the first to inherit Kemmerich’s boots.
Regarded by the other students as the best in Paul’s class, Kropp is the
first to be promoted to Lance Corporal. He too loses a leg, but survives and is discharged.
Formerly a farmer, Deterring is a soldier in the same group as Paul.
He fondly thinks of his farm and wife waiting for him when the war is over.
Paul’s school master who urges his students to enlist in order to help the
Fatherland. He is to become the object of hate from those that volunteered, but ironically he too is called up and ends up under the authority of a former pupil.
He is the Drill Master for Paul and the other volunteers at the training
He was a former postman, but relishes the power given to him as a result of the war. He is a sadist and treats the students badly, but they confess that his attitude helped them prepare for the worst horrors at the Front.
A young thin soldier, Tjaden is slightly older than Paul and his classmates.
He was a locksmith in civilian life and although he is very thin, has an immense appetite.
A French soldier who shares the same shell-hole as Paul.
Paul stabs the French soldier and he dies. Paul discovers the identity of the French soldier and realizes that he is more than just an enemy; he is a victim like himself, who is married with a child.