Blog: How does Paul’s experience with the Russian soldiers demonstrate an internal conflict? Does it demonstrate another kind of conflict as well?
Paul encounters an internal conflict with the Russian soldiers. He feels like there is no difference between them and Paul. He comments, “How little we understand on another” (Remarque 192). This shows how they do not understand each others’ situation and that each man are equal. At the bottom of page 193, there is a whole paragraph commenting on how Paul looks at the individual and how they are no different or less human than anyone else. This demonstrates an internal conflict in Paul because he does not know which way to look at them; the Germans are commanded to think of the Russians as enemies and vice versa with the Russians. He says, “A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends” (Remarque 193,194). Their relationship can be so easily changed and he feels like there is not reason to be in a conflict. They can become friends as quickly as they became enemies. All he has been told is that the Russians are bad and this makes Paul feel confused. There is also a societal conflict with Paul and his higher officials in this quote. It is only the high officials who make decisions who have problems with the Russians; Paul and his comrades have no problem with the Russians. On page 194, Paul says, “They comfort me… are rooms full of peace” (Remarque 194). This connotes that, despite Paul’s higher commands, he finds comfort in the Russian men.