All Quiet On The Western Front

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The First World War was labeled the “War to end all Wars” since it was impossible to envision a more deadly, destructive, and futile war. The pointlessness of the war was so poignant and unbelievable that Hitler used it to rouse German jingoism and militarism: “It cannot be that two million Germans have fallen in vain”. (Keegan 3) It was a war in which mechanization lead to insurmountable defensive advantages resulting in a bloody stalemate. It was a war of horrifying proportions that made many unquestionably chose peace over war. Erich Maria Remarque, a veteran of World War One, is one of many who joined the interwar period pacifist movement. His bestseller, All Quiet on the Western Front, is an honest non-patriotic account of the Great War and its miseries. The book became the most famous anti-war novel of all time; however, his prolific work was quickly censured and burned in Nazi Germany. Remarque’s work, All Quiet on the Western Front, significantly altered the public perception of war by revealing the harsh reality of human conflict. The following paragraphs will discuss Remarque’s purpose of writing the novel, his methods of revealing his beliefs, and finally the impact of the book. Remarque had one purpose in writing the novel: to display and recount the horrors and sufferings or war, in Remarque’s words, “to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.”(Remarque prologue) In the novel, his characters often question the genesis of war to which the answer is always the same: rampant nationalism. Remarque argues that patriotism blinds politicians and entices them to wage war for prestige with no regard to the people. However, though Remarque rightfully blames it for... ... middle of paper ... ...irst World War and as young men, they followed their advice. “The first bombardment showed us our mistake” says Baumer; “while they taught that duties to one’s country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-thoes are stronger.” (Remarque 12, 13) As the casualties rise and the novel progresses, the characters become more philosophical. While observing Russian prisoners, Baumer finds their faces “kindly” and “honest” and compares them to peasants in Friesland. This humane observation leads him and his comrades into more questions. Kropp asks how there could be a war if both belligerents are claiming to be protecting their own nation from invasion and wonders why a simple French laborer would want to attack Germany. (Remarque 203) Meanwhile Tjaden and Kat determine that only the emperor and his generals gain fame from war while the rest of the population must

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