The Horror of Modern War World War I is considered the first modern war, as it was the first conflict in which weapons like poison gas, armored tanks, and shell bombardments were used widely by both sides. Set in the final years of the war, the novel All Quiet on the Western Front is famous… Survival Many of the young soldiers, including Paul, joined the army because they were motivated by romantic ideals like patriotism and honor. On the front, however, they quickly learn that patriotic fervor will not protect them from exploding shells or poison gas. In the trenches, there is only one goal:
The Hypocrisy of the Older Generation Summary Analysis When the novel begins, the Second Company of the German army has just returned to their camp after two weeks of fighting on the frontlines.
Their unit has sustained heavy casualties. Apparently they are used to such catastrophic losses. Because so many men have died, there are enough extra rations for the soldiers to have double portions. Initially, the cook refuses to give the men the surplus food, saying it is against regulations.
The men argue heatedly until the company commander intervenes, telling the cook to distribute the extras. The deaths of other soldiers offer meager benefits for those who survive, like the chance for more food.
Such practical, physical concerns are all the surviving soldiers have. The cook, meanwhile, blindly follows the rules—rules set by those running the war, which show no compassion for those fighting on the front lines.
Active Themes After eating, Paul and his fellow soldiers pay a visit to the group latrines together.
Paul recalls how, when he first joined the army, he was embarrassed about using the latrines in front of the other soldiers. Now, however, such behavior has come to seem completely natural, even enjoyable. Before the war, Paul saw the group latrines as disgusting and embarrassing.
The fact that he doesn't any longer shows how much worse life in the trenches must be. It also reveals his comradeship with his fellow soldiers. He is comfortable with what he once would have considered animalistic.
Active Themes Paul and his friends spend their first afternoon back relaxing, playing cards, and reading letters from home. One of the soldiers, Albert Kropp, has received a letter from his former teacher, Kantorek. We learn that four of the men were schoolmates back in Germany: A fifth classmate, Joseph Behm, had resisted at first; finally, under pressure from Kantorek and his community, he reluctantly enlisted as well.
Behm was killed horrifically in an early battle. A teacher, an authority figure whom the boys respected, urged them to join the war effort.
Though his students volunteered for active duty, they were under immense pressure to do so. It also illustrates the randomness of who lives and who dies in the trenches.
LitChart as a printable PDF. As students, Paul and his friends looked to Kantorek for guidance. Now, however, their eyes have been opened to the harsh truth.
For Paul and his friends, the war has revealed how empty concepts like patriotism and valor really are. The war brings men from all walks of life together. Before the war, a well educated, middle-class student like Paul would likely never have even known a simple peasant like Detering.
Active Themes Later that day, the soldiers go to visit their wounded friend Kemmerich in the hospital. Though he does not seem to realize it yet, his leg has been amputated and he is obviously dying. His friends try to cheer him up, but they are already planning to divide up his possessions.
The visit with Kemmerich highlights how the war has forced the soldiers to temper any sympathy they feel with the practical need to survive. They visit Kemmerich to comfort him, but when they see that he's likely to die, they also want his boots. The men walk back through the camp to their huts, preoccupied and mostly silent.
Only Kropp becomes visibly upset, tossing away his cigarette and swearing. Though the men are clearly disturbed by what they saw in the hospital, they avoid openly discussing it.
Paul says that while most of them are under twenty years of age, they do not feel young or strong anymore. Their horrific experiences in the war have made them old before their time.
Retrieved November 28, All Quiet on the Western Front displays all of the angst central to any story about war, but it also exposes the horrors of a new kind of war, one that allows for mass death.
Erich Maria Remarque's 'All Quiet on the Western Front' sold millions of copies worldwide. It portrays German soldiers' experiences during WWI, but many say it relates to all soldiers, describing the horrors of war, which transcend time and place. "All Quiet on the Western Front” is the first novel of Erich Maria Remarque, a deliberate, sincere and emotional narration of a young soldier of the World War I.
A 19 years old Paul Bäumer is the author’s voice, telling the reader about feelings, thoughts and spiritual evolution of people trapped in one of the greatest onslaught in the world’s history. Erich Maria Remarque was born in Osnabrück, Germany, in into a lower-middle-class family.
In , he was drafted into the German army to fight in World War I, in which he was badly wounded. Ten years after the war ended, he published Im Westen Nichts Neues, translated into English a year later as All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel about the experiences of ordinary German soldiers during the .
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (Book Analysis) Detailed Summary, Analysis and Reading Guide 28 EBook Plurilingua Publishing This practical and insightful reading guide offers a complete summary and analysis of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
All five incorporate at least one of the themes in “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement.