The Invisible Trauma of War Exposed in All Quiet on the Western Front Essay

The Invisible Trauma of War Exposed in All Quiet on the Western Front Essay

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Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, transpires in the trenches of the Nazi Western Front, which is protected by the young German soldiers World War I. Paul Bäumer, the narrator; enters the war under pressure to enlist; goes to the front and learns about the brutality of war. Paul witnesses the extreme violence that defines war during his time spent on the Western Front. Bäumer and his cronies learn to except the war as part of their lives, but the pains of battle which tear the young soldiers apart inside never leave. When these armed men return to normal civilization, disappointment strikes deep in their hearts as the ignorance of those not in the war reveals itself. The now savage killing machines can no longer relate to everyday society. The common populace knows not of the harsh realities of war, and for this reason they innocently talk as though the fighting and killing that characterizes the seemingly eternal siege, possesses some glorifying reward. The people who have not been forced to look into the eyes of a dying comrade, whose legs have torn off due to the shrapnel of a mortar, can not sympathize with the broken hearts of the soldiers. They only visualize a possibly strenuous battle resulting in few casualties and from which their troops emerge elated and victorious. The soldiers on the front lines actually experience events, which scar their minds with thoughts of death and destruction. Remarque displays these ideas of pain and suffering through ignorance, fear, and inhumanity.
Remarque depicts the misconception of war, by capturing the unknowingness that prevents those not fighting the war, from understanding the truth about war’s hideous reality. Ignorance, one of the many facets of the peop...

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... fighting it. All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Remarque, depicts war’s effects on soldiers and how society has great trouble relating to the troops suffering. Clearly, a large wall erects itself between the soldiers and the rest of the world. Without experiencing their own ignorance, the fears of war, and the inhumane treatment the troops receive, the civilians have no idea of how to fathom the traumatic pains of war. In today’s society, this line between soldiers and civilians has thinned, but not erased. Today’s warfare greatly differs from that of the past in that the battlefield doesn’t consist only of hoards of men charging each hoping to escape death. Perhaps war will someday be fought over the phone, without weapons minimizing deaths and suffering, if soldiers were not so traumatized by war the barrier between civilians and troops could erase itself.

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