Introduction an example Paul goes home, a sergeant-


“All quiet on the Western Front” is a novel that was written by Erich Maria Remarque. Remarque was a German war novelist born in 1898 in Osnabruck, Germany. This novel was published in 1929. It depicts Remarque’s experience in the World War 1. The main aim of the novel was to explain and bring out the generation that was negatively affected by the war. Paul Baumer is the narrator of the story. He narrates his part in the war in episode form as the war advanced and taking new ways and directions day after day.

Baumer was a 20-year-old German soldier who took part in the war and ended up seeing how the war was disastrous to the youth. He had just completed high school and had joined the military in Germany. Baumer and other young men end up been hopeless about the future. The aim of this essay is to analyze what led German youths to war and how they ended up been affected by the same war. In addition, I will examine at the lessons that were learned from the war.[1]

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There are many reasons that led the youth in Germany into joining the war. One of the reasons that made the youth take part in the war was betrayal by their parents, teachers and the government. The parents as it is put are always accusing young people who do not participate in some things such as war. They even call them cowards and so they find it very painful. The parents’ knew very well that the war would be a misfortune but did not care at all.

They pressurized the youth to take part in the war and this was very wrong, as the role of parents is always to guide and help young people. In an example Paul goes home, a sergeant- major condemns Paul for not saluting him, and yet he has spent his time in wars killing enemies and trying to survive. The young generation was helpless and it did not receive any positive concern from the older generation.

The young generation did not share any traditional values with the older generation and the joy of the older generation was seeing the young people take part in the war. It became the work of the young people to fight for their country and to protect the older generation. Therefore, it is very clear that betrayal by parents made the young people to engage themselves in the war so that they could prove that they are not cowards.[2]

Teachers also pressurized the young people to engage in the war. The schoolmaster is the one who urged Paul and his classmates Muller, Kropp and Leer to join the military. At the first encounter, many young men were killed and Paul puts the blame on the Head teacher who made them join the military. When Paul is already in the military, the head teacher argues that he knows more about the military and is operations than Paul who is already a member does.

This and other arguments are only intended to provoke the youth to engage in the war. It makes no sense to say that you know more about a profession you have never been in than a person who is already in that profession, so the teachers were only pressurizing the youth to join up in the war. The teachers were also telling the young men that they should put all that they have been taught and trained into practice. This was only aimed at wanting the young men to join up in the war.

With increased inhumanity in the war, the young soldiers were eager to join the military in order to save life. Paul and his friends were keenly observing what was happening day after day. They saw that many people were losing life and this hardened their position in the military hence fighting without looking back. There were mass destructions that were not pleasing such as inured soldiers that had their noses cut and their eyes poked out.

On another occasion, they found men who were hanged and others who were skinned alive. This and many other horrific incidents made the young men furious and they then opted to fight no matter what comes. The feeling of humanity therefore compelled the young people to join in the war. In addition, nature compelled the young soldiers to join up the war. Observing all that was happening, just like any other human being, the young men offered their hand in the war.[3]

Another reason that made the young soldiers join in the war was comradeship. As one of them joined up in the war, others were also compelled to join due to friendship and unity. They could encourage each other even in hopeless situations and they became closer to each other even than they were with their own relatives. Even when some of their friends died, they did not show any signs of getting weak and they opted to fight even more to overcome the feelings of loneliness.

Many of the consequences of the war to the young men were negative. The young soldiers who survived in the war became hopeless and they saw no good in life. This was because of losing friends and the horrific episodes they came across. Incidents such as seeing people die on their sight, other injured soldiers with missing body parts made them hopeless, and they were discouraged of living in such a world.

They remained lonely as many of their friends died in the war and others got lost in due course. The young men also developed negative attitudes towards the profession. Many of them were regretting why they had opted to join the military. They were discouraged by the war and even other young men who were hoping to join the military lost morale to do so.[4]

Many of the young men who survived the war had many injuries. Some had some of their body parts cut off and other internal injuries. These sufferings were very painful to them and their living was threatened. Some ended in active euthanasia to get relieved from the pains that were de-moralizing to live with. The young people also developed negative attitudes towards teachers and parents who had provoked them to join up in the war referring to them as cowards.

They had blamed the government for not taking other options apart from war, which they new very well would have, negative consequences. Since most of the soldiers in Germany were not ready to stop fighting, they were threatened of being reduced and in the process with some losing their jobs. The young jobless ex-soldiers began engaging in other bad things such as street fights that threatened the country’s peace.

After the war, technology experienced a great boost as each country opted to get better machinery for use. These technological advances made the government to invest much in the companies. This meant that much of the country’s money was directed towards technological advancement leading to negative effects on other developmental aspects. The young soldiers’ living standards were lowered as life became expensive. This threatened their living and some were ended up in absolute poverty.

From the novel, we learn that war should not come in as a way of solving conflicts. Parties who are involved in a conflict should mediate and negotiate to come up with solutions. We clearly see the negative consequences of war on the young soldiers who remained hopeless and lonely.

War should never be repeated again in the world. We also learn that it is not good to encourage young people to take part in war such as the teachers and parents did. The military should also be viewed positively as a body of enhancing peace, maintaining order and imposing laws and not as a body to engage in wars.[5]


This novel by Remarque is a good example to reveal the disadvantages of war. The parents in calling the young people cowards when they did not join up in the war were a way of provoking them to join it. In addition, the government and the teachers played part in provoking the young soldiers to engage into the war.

The war made the profession to be viewed negatively as most of the young soldiers were regretting why they had joined the military. Lives of the young men after the war became difficult with injuries and increased living standards. War should never be encouraged but peaceful means should be used to solve conflicts.


Bloon, Harold. Erich Maria Remarque’s all quiet on the western front. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2009.

Wagener, Hans. Understanding Erich Maria Remarque. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991.

Waine, Anthony. Changing cultural tastes: writers and the popular in modern Germany. New York: Berghahn, 2007.

Harold, Bloon. Erich Maria Remarque’s all quiet on the western front. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2009.
Hans, Wagener. Understanding Erich Maria Remarque. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991.
Anthony, Waine. Changing cultural tastes: writers and the popular in modern Germany. New York: Berghahn, 2007.
Anthony, Waine. Changing cultural tastes: writers and the popular in modern Germany. New York: Berghahn, 2007.
Harold, Bloon. Erich Maria Remarque’s all quiet on the western front. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2009.