“This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession… It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war” states Erich Maria Remarque in the very beginning of his most known novel All Quiet on the Western Front.
This book blames the war on damaging young people and states how they will never adapt back to normal life and accuses people who don’t even fight in the war of starting it for no reason.
The narrator of the story, Paul, talks about his experience with the war turning these sane men into heaps of madness, and how the war was completely unnecessary and does not do the country any good. Paul says while on leave, “Out there I was indifferent and often hopeless– I will never be able to be so again.
I was a soldier, and now I am nothing but an agony for myself, my mother, for everything that is so comfortless and without end”.(p. 185) This evidence shows that the war causes the soldiers to feel uncomfortable with the world outside after the war. The war changes the soldiers into people who teach others to kill and don’t even know the reason.
For example, one night while Paul volunteered for patrol, shelling started so he got into a shell hole to take cover. A Frenchman later jumps into the hole with Paul but Paul has to stab him.
While in the hole with the Frenchman’s lifeless body Paul talks to him he says, “Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”(p.223) this shows that even the soldiers don’t like the fact that they fight these people for no reason, that they all have rights as people and they all show fear so why would they fight each other.
While on leave Paul speaks to two gentlemen who offer him cigars, while talking to the gentlemen one says, “but this relates to the whole. And of that, you are not able to judge. You see only your little sector and so cannot have any general survey. You do your duty, you risk your lives, that deserves the highest honor–every man.”, this shows that people who don’t even fight in the war think that they know more about what goes on than the soldiers who actually fight in the battle.
Another way the book shows that the soldiers don’t want the war and that it only helps a select few takes place on page 206. One quote on this page reads ” every full-grown emperor requires at least one war otherwise he would not be famous… there are other people back behind there who profit from the war, that’s for certain.” this blames the government for needing a war because they believe it would make them go down in history as a great nation and that the war’s only purpose consisted of a government wanting too much power.
“I think it is more of a kind of fever no one, in particular, wants it, and then all at once there, it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing– and yet half the world’s in it all the same.”(p.206) this quote comes up when Paul and his comrades talked about the significance of the war and why they fought the war.
It states that the people never wanted or needed the war in the first place the government wanted to show that they had power. Remarque accuses the government with this statement because he writes about the people and the soldiers not wanting the war for many reasons such as food, materials, and money, but yet the war still took place. All in all this book accuses the war and the government of the death of these young men and for ruining their lives.
The war did not need to take place and many people did not like the war. The war caused young men to get drafted and not have proper training on the battlefield causing more casualties. All of these things make All Quiet on the Western Front what remarque said it wouldn’t turn into, an accusation.
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