This blog talks about the comparisons of Paul Baumer and Harold Kerbs and the similarities and differences between them, plus the side effects of the war. Both fought in WW1 but fought for opposing sides, Paul fought for Germany and Harold fought for the allies this is irrelevant to the blog. Whilst All Quiet on the Western Front talks about Paul’s experience in the war and at home. Soldiers home only talks about Harolds time back at home. Therefore, I will mostly be talking about the about the before and after of the two soldiers.
Harold went to a college in Kansas and Paul also went to school “Krebs went to… Methodist college in Kansas” (p. 1) of Soldier’s Home. What separates the two is how they were enlisted into fighting WW1. What differs the two is how they were enlisted in the war. “He enlisted in the Marines in 1917” (p. 1) Harold who volunteered for the war and Paul who was allegedly forced.
Arriving home traumatized and incapable of comfortably reattaching themselves to society is what makes their case depressing. Fortunately for Harold, he didn’t have to go back to war unlike Paul who returns to battle again “Shall I meet all these fellows again?” (p. 152) finds out all his friends died. That’s not even the worst part “He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front.” (p. 296) Though maybe it was best for Paul to end his agony, never having to live another die in isolation from the rest of the world, I doubt that he wanted life to end at such a young age of 31.
Overall, both soldiers ended up realizing how disconnected they feel from their homes after coming back from the war. It makes me wonder how many other cases like this occurred after the war. I’m grateful none of my existing family members went through war and dealt with that type of trauma.