Erich Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front

Powerful Essays
The book cover of, All Quiet on The Western Front, quotes to be ‘’the greatest war novel of all time’’. The author, Erich Remarque, experiencing war himself; uses the protagonist, Paul Baumer, to express his own background and horrors of World War One. With this, it alternates between his vividly dying memories of the times before the war and the nightmares of trench warfare; although a first person narrative. Erich served in combat during WW1 in Germany and was wounded five times. The last injury was very severe and kept him out of the war. He published his book in 1929. Although his books are fictionally written; they are inspired by his experience through the mind of a different character like Baumer rather than his own. Being in the mind…show more content…
He demonstrates how the army can simply make you forget about your past life and build a whole new individual more suited for the war. That was the case for a drill-sergeant name Himmelstoss. Describe to be a very different fellow as a postman compares to, now, a ''bully as a drill-sergeant''[1]. He was mean and cold but, was not the only one who went through a change." It is not only Himmelstoss, there are lots of them. As sure they get a stripe or a star they become different men, just as though they'd swallowed concrete... That's the uniform'' [2]The author points out how the uniform simply transforms a man. It gives them this idea of what a soldier should be; hard like concrete both in the outside and inside. Furthermore, the transformation also happens to the protagonist, Paul Baumer and how attached he has become to the uniform and its principals. When Paul and his comrades take off their armor, they feel like, ‘’now nothing remains to recall for me (Paul) the assurance and self-confidence of the soldier; no rifle, no belt, no tunic, no cap. I let myself drop into the unknown.’’[3] This insight gives the reader an idea of what psychological changes happen to the man in the suit. It is the very self-confidence and assurance that keeps the men fighting and hardens them to adapt to the cruel conditions of the war.…show more content…
For so long prior to the war, Paul and his friends from school were told that they are the Iron Youth. They were young and innocent with splendid memories. All to be crushed by the war. ‘’Our early life is cut off the moment we came here.’’[5] All they had prior to the war was just school and hobbies. But beyond that their life did not extend. And of that nothing's remains.[6]It simply crumbled under the war. What happens to these young men who only see violence, despair, death, torture, the suffering of trench warfare and the gruesome detailed image of limbs and bodies dissemble; as described in the novel. They are Broken, burnt out, rootless and without hope. No generations will suffer like them. The older generation will just go back to old occupation. The future generation will simply disregard them as a whole.[7] The choices left for the suffering generation of this great war is, as they grow older, “few will adapt themselves, some others will merely submit, and most will be bewildered; - the years will pass by and in the end we (they) shall fall into ruin’’[8]The significance of that message, given by the main character, was the warning the author tried to proclaim. The German generation of young men of late teens and early twenties, will grow up with only knowing war. Some will be so consumed that they would want the war to never end.
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