The Importance Of Good And Bad Leaders In All Quiet On The Western Front

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In the First World War soldiers had experiences with both good and bad leaders. In the book All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque explores the idea that leaders can be competent and kind or clueless and bitter. In this novel, Paul Bäumer deals with many different leaders which he has both positive and negative feelings towards. As the story progresses, Paul begins to realize that there are both good and bad leaders, and he gives them respect only if he feels that they truly deserve it. Paul learns that many leaders in the war are unqualified for the task as they lack the basic understanding how to lead soldiers.
One leader that Paul often has negative encounters with is Himmelstoss, the man who was responsible for the training
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Katczinsky, referred to as Kat by most, is a leader who knows everything that is needed to know on the front. Kat takes good care of his squad like they are his own family, this is seen when Kat demands that the cook serve his men extra rations, because the cook is being stingy with the surplus of beans. Paul and Kat team up later in the novel to get two geese for them to eat as the rations the army provides is not enough to satisfy the appetites of the two men. The roasting of the geese that the two killed together is a very emotional time for Paul, because he learns that even though Kat may not realize it they care about each other like family; "We are brothers"(96). Kat saves Paul 's life many times on the front, such as the time in the graveyard when Kat urges Paul to put his gas mask on. Kat is a man who never leaves a man behind even if it means risking his own life, this is seen when Paul is trapped in a foxhole in the middle of No Man 's Land and Kat goes out with Kropp to go and save him. Kat 's role as a father figure shows after this event when Kat tries to console Paul after the killing of Duval, a man who Paul killed in the foxhole waiting for help to arrive. The death of Kat effects Paul dramatically, he acts as though his own father has died and the orderly even asks, "You are not related, are you?" which shows how strong a bond Kat formed with his …show more content…
Leaders should lead beside the men that follow them, not by telling them to do something that could end up getting them killed without the leader being by the side of their men. Paul feels that leaders like Kantorek who abuse their authority in order to get people to join the army on their behalf are everywhere: "There were thousands of Kantoreks, all of whom were convinced that that were acting for the best- in a way that cost them nothing. That is why they let us down so badly"(12). During the course of the war, Kantorek is eventually drafted into the army as a territorial, a reserve troop, and during his training it was very clear that he was unfit to be a soldier. The training that Kantorek goes through is overseen by Mittelstaedt, a former student of Kantorek, which causes Mittelstaedt to imitate the abusive training that Kantorek used on him: "Mittelstaedt would be a big fool not to make the best of such a good opportunity" (177). Mittelstaedt used many expressions that Kantorek used such as inadequate which was an expression Kantorek used a lot when Mittelstaedt was in school, which is ironic because Mittelstaedt is able to serve his country while Kantorek clearly cannot; "Inadequte, Kantorek, quite inadequate"(175). While teaching the boys, Kantorek would always tell his students that

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