All Quiet On The Western Front Analysis

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The book “All Quiet on the Western Front”, written by Erich Maria Remarque, follows the horrific experience of war through the eyes of Paul Baumer, a young German soldier. Paul and his classmates enlist in the army after listening to the patriotic lectures of their teacher Kantorek. The book follows their journey through the war as one by one, they all die. Early on they realize that the ideals of nationalism and patriotism put forth by their teacher and others is useless in the face of war. Unlike previous novels and propaganda attempts, this story showed war as gruesome and horrid. It did not glorify acts of war but showed it as it was. Throughout the book, Paul becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the justifications for war. He feels cheated and betrayed by those who had influence over him and were in charge of the war. Paul…show more content…
He and his friends wonder what makes them any different from the men they are fighting against. Kropp puts it this way saying, “It's queer, when one thinks about it, we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?” (203). Kropp wonders what makes them and their cause so different from the French that it requires a war. Paul’s critique of nationalism addresses the underlying cause of why they are all there. Nationalism and patriotism are used by those in power and those in the older generations to convince men to go and die in a war the young men have no say in. Paul reflects on this saying, “ A word of command has made these silent figures out enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends” (194). When he guards the Russian prisoners of war, they remind him of the Friesian peasants that he fights with. He sees them as other humans. It is only because the people in charge have decided that they are the enemy that they are treated as
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