For all the terrible things that can be said about war and the effects that it has on humankind, there was one part of the novel that really touched me:
"But then much brighter, warmer light floods the interior of the V-Million. Bischoff looks back and up, and sees the forward end of hte pressure hull turned into a dome of orange fire, the silhouette of a man centered in it, lines of welds and rivets spreading away from that center like the meridians of a globe. It's bright as day. He turns around and swims easily down the gangway" (906).
So. The U-boat was in deep trouble and pretty much everyone on it realized that they were going to die in the very near future. But Rudy promises Bischoff that he will live. And then Rudy opens the U-boat hatch and lights a match, killing himself but allowing Bischoff to swim out of the boat to safety. Yes, terrible, awful, inhuman things happen during the war, but there are also tiny moments of goodness that occur--like one man giving up his life for that of another.