Losing the Touch with Humanity in All Quiet on the Western Front

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Would it be difficult to live in horrible conditions, watch close friends die violently, and have the fear of dying at any moment? In All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque the soldiers living through World War I endured all of those during a very terrifying time period. In All Quiet on the Western Front, the men have to be willing to sacrifice all for nothing. They give up everything for nationalistic ideas. Their great sacrifice proves to have many effects on their lives. In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front numerous connections, literary devices, and elements of the plot show the cost of sacrifice and the effects of war.

First of all, All Quiet on the Western Front presented many central ideas connected with current issues such as the ruinous effect that war has on the soldiers who fight it. Soldiers are constantly indanger, as they could be killed or blown up at any time. This intense danger also serves as an attack on the soldiers’ nerves, forcing them to cope with instinctive fear during every moment. “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how people are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another (Remarque 57).”This quote shows the effect of the soldiers’ conditions as panic filled. The only way for soldiers to live through the war is to disconnect their emotions, suppressing their feelings and accepting the conditions of their lives. Another connection that is present throughout the novel is the depiction of nationalism and political power. All Quiet on the Western Front presents the idea of nationalism to be a hollow ideology, used by those with power to control a nation. Paul and his friends are seduced into becoming soldiers by nationalist ideas, but the experience of fighting quickly schools them in nationalism’s irrelevance in the face of the war’s horrors. “It’s queer, when one thinks about it, goes on Kropp, we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who’s in the right (Remarque 35).” Remarque illustrates that soldiers on the front fight not for the glory of their nation but rather for the love of country. They believe winning the war will make the winner more nationalistic.


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