The Unglamorous Side of War Depicted in Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front

845 Words2 Pages
Why does the world need to kill two million men just because two countries can’t agree with each other? War is devastating to countries and most indefinitely to individuals and soldiers. A war can ruin families, friendships, education, economy, and the minds of innocent people. Most young men, who were just approaching manhood, were pulled of their innocence of childhood, and thrown into a world of rage and destruction. Soldiers that luckily survive a horrific war often find their lives turned completely upside down since they enlisted, and sometimes it is just impossible to forget the vicious past and start over again as a civilian. Many older men believe that wars being fought are wars of dignity and glory, but truthfully, wars are battles of death and gore. The novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque expresses dramatically the negative effects of war.

One idea that Remarque uses to de-glamorize the magnificence of war is that in a war, many innocent people die needlessly. In the novel, Paul Baumer, the main character and narrator, states that the war is not fun and heroic at all, but horrific and gruesome. “While [teachers] taught that duty to one’s country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger.” (Remarque 13) Wars just kill innocent, youthful men and bring nothing but trouble for the country. Men who led their own pleasant life before the war and held nothing against the enemy, died mercilessly just because Chance was not on their side at that particular moment. Franz Kemmerich, a close friend of Paul, has his foot amputated, and pretty soon afterwards, he dies because of an infection in the leg without the foot. Before joining the war, Kemmerich was an ordinar...

... middle of paper ...

..., they just died.

The third idea that the author uses to un-romanticize the beauty or glory of war is that a war can and will ruin a country’s economy. In World War I, life was unbearable for the soldiers serving in the war, but the citizens suffered too. Citizens had to cut down on their supply of food, fabric, and many other needs to support the troops. Paul Baumer and his mother had a conversation regarding the stock of food during the war. Paul then realized that soldiers were not the only ones not having an abundant supply of food, but that his family and all the other families out there were being tormented as well. ““It is pretty bad for food [for civilians] here?” [Paul] inquires. “Yes, there is not much [anymore].”” (Remarque 160) Not only does war affect negatively on soldiers and the government, but it affects the residents of that country too.
Open Document