Western Front Power

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The Prime Minister, the Senate, the House of Commons—these are people who we Canadian citizens depend on to make educated and reasonable decisions for the future of Canada. Being in such positions of power, such politicians must think on behalf of all Canadians; we trust them not to abuse their authority for selfish personal desires. However, this has not always been the case throughout history. World War I required militaries to appoint many individuals to take power in order to face the sudden state of total war; since these decisions were made rashly, numerous officers proved to be egocentric individuals who abused power for their own desires. Through the use of irony, both Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and Kubrick’s Paths of…show more content…
Kantorek is the sole cause for the boys’ enlistment in the army, giving the boys’ “long lectures until the whole of [Paul’s] class went, under his shepherding, to the District Commandant and volunteered.” According to Kantorek, the war was glorified while the harsh reality of it was kept hidden from the boys. With an ironic twist for the boys, the glorious war was not what they had in mind as their classmates fell one-by-one; it was not until “the first bombardment that showed [the boys’] mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to [the boys] broke in pieces.” This evidently shows how Kantorek, has used manipulative propaganda and speeches to trick these innocent adolescents onto a one-way train to living hell; in turn, the originally respected image of Kantorek is shattered in the boys’ brain along with their hope in their future. As the boys entered the military, they encountered Himmelstoss, “the strictest disciplinarian in the camp.” Himmelstoss forced them to do cruel and near-impossible tasks, such as kneading a pair of boots for twenty hours, cleaning the Corporals’ Mess with a toothbrush, and clearing the barrack-square of snow with a hand-broom and a dust-pan. However, when Himmelstoss was called up to the front line later in the novel, he was found by Paul to be “with a small scratch lying in a corner pretending to be wounded” during battle. The formerly tough and strict Himmelstoss, the formerly known “Terror of Klosterberg,” is now cowering in the backlines of an assault. This incident finishes the character of Himmelstoss: a selfish and apathetic authority who abuses power and cares solely about his life as hovers in fear during battle. Using these two characters,

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