AllQuiet On The Western Front

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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Erich Maria Remarque, considered to be one of the most important war novelist, began his highly praised novel "All Quiet on The Western Front" with an introductory paragraph that foreshadows one of the main themes. "This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they have may have escaped the shells, were destroyed by the war". While some readers may view death as an adventure, to those soldiers fighting at the front line it is anything but. These men are faced with the possibility of the loss of life, at any given moment. This novel deals with effect war has on those who fought in them, proving war to be an altering force that not only injures but traumatizes all directly, and indirectly involved in it.

With many of the earlier war novels emphasized on the heroism, romance, and glory of war, Remarque gives the readers a glimpse of the true horror and dehumanizing violence war is infamously characterized by. Until Remarque's book, "no convincing revelation has been made of the heroism, the treachery, the foul intimacies, the brutality and coarseness, the gradual moral, social, and emotional decay, which made up, with a myriad other factors, the story of the soldier's life in the trenches" (Church). Few other war novels create the feeling inside the reader that they too are at the front line, alongside their fellow countrymen fighting for what they believe in (Church).

Since the beginning of time war has been a solution to the problems faced in everyday life, for what reasons one may never know. "War is an interminable, exhausting and nightmarish business without alleviation or purpose." (Krutch)