All Quiet on the Western Front is a story of a German soldier involved with World War One. The soldiers" name is Paul Baumer, a nineteen-year-old student who is convinced to join the German army by his schoolmaster, Kantorek. Some of his classmates are also convinced to join by Kantorek. While in the service, Paul meets many others who play an important part in his life. The time frame of this story is from 1915-1918. .
Kantorek is a small man who is said to be stern. Kantorek believes in nationalism and patriotism. Paul refers to Kantorek as being of similar stature as Corporal Himmelstoss, "the terror of Klosterberg". He finds men Kantoreks size to be the cause of a lot of unhappiness in the world. Although Kantorek preaches patriotism to all of his students, he never would enlist. As Paul receives letters throughout the story, he and his classmates laugh at the irony of the man who writes letter about the "Iron Youth", yet stays safe enough to write letters from home. .
Corporal Himmelstoss is Paul's commander. He is very strict and finds Paul as well as his comrades to be defiant. He does not treat Paul very well as is seen by the drills they are made to do in the mud and cold. Himmelstoss is not a deep thinker. He once tried to cure two men who wet the bed by placing one over the other in a hammock style bunk. The result was one would lay in filth and the other would stay dry. The next night they would swap. Eventually one man would sleep on the floor and the other in the hammock. Paul and a couple of others planned revenge for the night before they were sent to the front. Paul, Tjaden, and Haie ambush Himmelstoss that night after the Corporal has left the bar. They inflict not only a painful blow to Himmelstoss, but also an embarrassing revenge. The Corporal is stripped of his britches and whipped; yet the only remorse from the attackers is that he got away with a bed sheet.