All Quiet On The Western Front

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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World War I was supposedly "The War to End All Wars". It was such a terrible conflict, a war so great it affected the entire globe. This is how we today, in the year 2000, view World War I; from an overall perspective. However, the theme of All Quiet on the Western Front gives us the war from the perspective of one individual enemy soldier. His life was destroyed at such a young age because he was forced to fight for the problems caused by past generations.

Experiences reflecting Theme The experiences, actions, and statements of Paul Baumer tie into this theme. Baumer, a German front line soldier and the narrator and main character of the novel, begins with his seven friends during the first year of the war. At the tender age of 19, they were drafted to fight. Paul says "We are alone fighting for the tribulations of our fathers.

They caused these problems, but where are they now?" (page 7). Paul clearly states his opinion of the war here, and throughout the novel many experiences reinforce it.

Being with these seven men for so long naturally gives them a feeling of comradeship. In just about every chapter in the novel, someone Paul knows is killed. Chapters one through six describe the warfare and battles, and shows how many of Paul's friends are lose their lives. Such events are a shock to Paul, and cause him to resent past generations who brought about this war. In chapter seven, Paul and his friends are moved further behind the front lines for a rest. For the next seventeen days, Paul is given time to spend at home. During his experience, however, he is disappointed because he feels that he does not fit in, and that the war has destroyed his...