The novel All Quiet on the Western Front was published in 1929. Erich Maria Remarque, who went to war as a volunteer in 1916, showed in his work what he had witnessed on the European battlefields. Honestly, simply, without unnecessary emotions, but with ruthless brutality the author described the horrors of war that forever destroyed his generation. The novel is not about heroes, but about the victims, to which Remarque includes both the victims and survivors.
The main characters of the novel are yesterday’s students, like the author, who went to the front as volunteers (students of one class – Paul Bäumer, Albert Kropp, Müller, Leer, Franz Kemmerich), and their senior comrades (mechanic Tjaden, a working-peat Haie Westhus, farmer Detering, and Stanislaus Katczinsky, who knows how to get out of any situation). The characters don’t really live and fight, but try to escape from death. Young people who listened to the teacher’s propaganda soon realized that the war is not an opportunity to bravely serve the country, but the most common slaughter, in which there is nothing heroic and humane.
The first shelling immediately put everything in its place - the authority of the teachers fell, as well as the worldview they were talking about. On the battlefield, everything the characters learned at school turned out to be useless: the laws of physics were replaced by the laws of life.
The First World War not only divided nations, but it tore the inner connection between the two generations: while the parents were writing articles and speeches about heroism, children were passing through hospitals and death; while parents still considered the service to the state as the most important virtue, children already knew that there was nothing stronger than the fear of death.
Internal changes in the heroes started to happen during the barrack drill, which consisted of senseless saluting, standing at attention, marching exercises, taking on guard, turning right and left, clicking with heels, and constant abusive language and chicanery. The preparation for war made the boys hard-hearted, incredulous, ruthless, vindictive, and rude. The war showed them that these were the qualities they needed in order to survive. Barracks study developed in the future soldiers strong sense of mutual cohesion, which was the only good thing the war could give; it could give mankind comradeship. Remarque left on the battlefield everybody, including his main character – Paul Bäumer, whose philosophical arguments were constantly breaking into the fabric of the narrative to explain what was going on to the reader.
The novel All Quiet on the Western Front was published in 1929. Erich Maria Remarque, who went to war as a volunteer in 1916, showed in his work what he had witnessed on the European battlefields. Honestly, simply, without unnecessary emotions, but with ruthless brutality the author described the horrors of war that forever destroyed his generation.