Enrich Maria Remarque: A Militant Pacifist

Enrich Maria Remarque: A Militant Pacifist

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Enrich Maria Remarque: A Militant Pacifist
     The First World War was a horrible experience for all sides involved, no one was immune to the effects of this global conflict, and each country was changed in many ways. Erich Maria Remarque was drafted into World War I at age 18. In 1929 Remarque’s first book All Quiet on the Western Front was published. Throughout the book, the death and destruction caused by battle is clearly shown. Remarque's novel is a statement against war, focusing dramatically on the extreme effects of war on the humanity of soldiers.
Biography
     Erich Paul Remark was born on June 22, 1898 In Western Germany. In 1913 Remark began to attend a teachers college called Osnabruck’s Lehrerseminar. During his third year when he was eighteen he was drafted into the war. After finishing basic training in the war he was assigned to a reserve battalion. His mother became very ill, so he was often allowed to visit her. In June 1917 he was reassigned to a trench unit. Remark was soon injured by grenade splinters and rushed to St. Vincenz hospital in Duisburg during 1917-1918. His mother died while he was in the hospital. After a year in the hospital he returned to Osnabruck for further training. The war had ended before

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he returned to active duty. After the war he changed his middle name to Maria after his mother.
     Remark went back to college after the war. He graduated and started his two-year substitute training in 1919. Finally he got bored teaching, and did different odd jobs such as, playing organ on Sundays at an insane asylum, working for a tombstone firm, working as a small town drama critic, and racing sports cars. In 1920 he published a novel that was so bad he changed the spelling of his last name to Remarque. His book All Quiet on the Western Front was published in 1929 and Remarque “became a spokesman of a generation that was destroyed by war”-Kirjas. Many people loved the book, and according to New York Times, All Quiet was “one of the best-known anti-war novels ever, which decepted the horrors of war from the point of view of the ordinary soldiers”. In 1930 the Nazis banned his books and burned them at the famous book burning in 1933; Remarque later stated, “I was only misunderstood where people went out of their way to misunderstand me”.

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In 1931 he was exiled from Germany, “I had to leave Germany because my life was threatened. I was neither Jew nor oriented toward the left policiancy. I was the same then as I am today: a militant pacifist” –Remarque. He moved to the United States, and from 1939-1942 he lived in Hollywood. In 1958 he married an American Actress named Paulette Goddard.
     Remarque continued to write war novels until he could no longer hold a pen. He died in 1970 of a series of heart attacks. He wrote 11 novels, all of them were written in German but immediately translated to English, “He hadn’t even set out to write a best seller but had written instead, to rid himself of the bleak moods that he and his friends
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were still experiencing”- Author. In Remarque’s books, glory and patriotism cease to be rational ideas because whether or not a soldier dies in combat, he clearly states, has nothing to do with a soldiers attitude towards war.
Time Period/Influence
Remarque’s life was centered around World War I. From the time he was in his late teens, he was drafted into the war. He spent the rest of his life writing novels to rid himself of the happenings of war, and to inform the public how horrible the war really was. His first novel was published in 1929, he continued to write, and was in the middle of writing another book when he died. Remarque was born in 1898, and died in 1970.
Analysis/Criticism
In All Quiet on the Western Front, the main character Paul Baumer is a German who, along with his graduating high school classmates, enlists in World War I. This book shows the difference between patriotism and honor, and the actual horror of trench warfare. The matters of acquiring food, shelter, and clothing, in addition to avoiding gunfire and bombs, are their foremost concerns. Nothing in this novel makes the actual experience of war look exciting. Even the intense friendships between Paul and his fellow soldiers are challenged with the reality that their bonds come at the high price of relentless suffering and terror. The mood of the entire novel is grim; for the most
part, the atmosphere reeks of death, with moments of total bleakness and emptiness.
Conclusion
     Erich Maria Remarque’s antiwar novels have sold millions of copies worldwide. During the war he bore many hardships that followed him throughout his life. He spent
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the rest of his life writing books so that people did not think of war as an “adventure”, as most people were often told, but knew the other end of the spectrum. He wanted them to know that while your on the battlefield the “adventure” was no more than bullets whizzing by your face, people dropping dead right next to you (many of them your friends), being forced to kill other human beings, and having little or nothing to eat. Remarque continually stresses that the soldiers are not fighting with the common ideas of a patriotic spirit in mind; they are fighting for their survival.
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