All Quiet on the Western Front Chapter 11
The trees are green and spring has come to the front. Death is just another thing to deal with: "Our thoughts are clay, they are moulded with the changes of the days;--when we are resting they are good; under fire, they are dead. Fields of craters within and without." Chapter 11, pg. 271 For the men on the front, nothing exists besides life and death. All other distinctions are gone. They are soldiers, comrades, and that is all. That is what holds them together.
Paul thinks of Detering, who spotted a cherry tree in full bloom near their billets and picked a few blossoms. The men made fun of him. That night, Paul heard him moving around and spoke to him. Detering told him of his own cherry trees back home. Paul, suspecting that he would desert, stayed up all night waiting, but Detering didn't do anything. The next morning, however, he was gone. They later heard that he had been caught by the military police. They heard nothing else.
The men are now fighting crater to crater. The trenches can no longer hold. They are surrounded by the English, but then Berger brings up a machine-gun and the counter-attack frees them. They stay in cover, but Berger leaves again to put a dog out of its misery. Everyone tells him he's mad, but he leaves anyway, and is shot.
Muller is killed. Before he dies he gives Paul Kemmerich's boots. Paul promises them to Tjaden next. They cannot bury Muller because their line is falling back too quickly. Healthy, well-fed English and American troops are overrunning them, while they are sick and starving. Their supplies are almost gone, and their food is terrible. Even so, they don't think that the end is near. They know only two things, fighting and the hospital, where doctors send men who shouldn't fight back to the front to fight. Tanks roll over them, gas burns their lungs. "Trenches, hospitals, the common grave--there are no other possibilities." Chapter 11, pg. 283
Summer comes and it is obvious to everyone that they are losing the war. Airplanes now fly over them and kill at will. They are badly outnumbered. The heat and weather oppress them. On a particularly bad day, Kat is hit in the leg while bringing food. Paul fixes his leg up, but Kat is bleeding badly. Paul grabs him and drags him through the field to the nearest dressing-station. Kat is in a lot of pain. The shelling gets worse and they hide in a hole. Paul, worried, knows that when Kat goes to the hospital, he will have no more friends. They trade addresses, and then they move on. Finally, after a great amount of effort, Paul reaches the dressing station with Kat in his arms. He is exhausted, but overjoyed that Kat is going to be all right. At that moment, however, an orderly walks up and tells Paul that he has wasted his energy--Kat is dead. A splinter from a grenade hit him in the back of his head. Paul cannot believe it at first, but Kat no longer moves or breathes. "Do I walk? Have I feet still? I raise my eyes, I let them move round, and turn myself with them, one circle, one circle, and I stand in the midst. All is as usual. Only the Militiaman Stanislaus Katczinsky has died. Then I know nothing more." Chapter 11, pg. 291