The First World War's events and its effects on those who participated are discussed in the novel without making any accusations or admitting any guilt. One of the best war novels, it conveys the sense of futility, hopelessness, and losses brought on by the conflict and those who participated in it. The soldiers from Germany were extremely young lads who were just entering their teens, and the book details their physical and mental conditions. It demonstrates how the conflict took away their youth and interfered with their mental health, causing them to become estranged from their civilian lives with other people at home. The book does not appreciate the bravery that should be associated with heroism but gives an account of the poor conditions that the soldiers were subjected to with minimal gains. It gives the face-to-face confrontation with death that the young men were subjected to. The overview of the novel is that it presents a blame over the government for the conditions and loss that occurred because of the war where young soldiers were engaged in a war that exposed them to dangers of starvation, cross fire and lack of training. The novel gives an account of what the soldiers were perceived to be; old and dead, emotionally drained and shaken. He refers to tem as not being a youth again but a lot that is fleeing away from itself due to the adversities that they have been exposed to.

Whereas war novels try to emphasize ideas of glory, honor, patriotism, and adventure, this novel portrays the war exactly the way it occurred replacing the romantic picture of glory and heroism with the unromantic vision of fear and meaninglessness. The novel focuses on the relentless carnage that the war caused in its mind-numbing terror and savagery with focus on the physical and psychological damage that it caused on the young fighters. It gives the devastating optimization of the war at its end where all the characters are left dead. The novel presents the devastating conditions ad experiences that the young soldiers have to live through. The relentless occurrence of attacks on the camps, inadequate clothing, starvation and death of their colleagues give the young soldiers traumatizing effects. Their mental state completely interferes with such that they cannot live to enjoy the honor and patriotism that they have shown throughout the war. There is a significant disconnection of their lives and the outside community to the extent that they cannot imagine a future without war.

The author of the novel considers the aspect of nationalism and the ideologies behind it. In this case, nationalism ideologies are critiqued to be a hollow and hypocritical ideological tool used by those in power to control the nation and engage young minds in the war for their gain. The critique of nationalism crosses t the 19th century with significant intensity. This is with the portrayal of the love one has for their nations. The events of the 19th century are greatly symbolized by what is said in the novel in the context that, there is a massive struggle for the recognition and achievement of loyalty to one’s nations just as depicted in the novel. The youths in the novel are drawn from school to join the army and fight for their nation. The critique discerns that the soldiers do not fight for their glory but survival and kill to avoid being killed. These ideologies about being loyal to one’s nation were a major fallback in the 19th century with struggles that aim at keeping nations recognized and respected in their special way. Therefore, the critique extends to the 19th century in the context that there is an emphasis for a call to duty and need to remain loyal and fight for one's nation against external adversities.

The author of the novel shows great understanding to the enlightment theory of progress. From the critique that the author gives about the war, it is clear that he possesses for a better society. He seems to communicate the fact that advances the thought of development in another better way, technology, science and social organization that aims at improving the human condition. He seems to suggest that people can become better regarding quality life that touches on social progress through economic modernization and improvement of other social factors that would generate growth in a way that is not damaging physically, either emotionally or mentally. Remarque, therefore, understand the Enlightenment theory of progress from the perspective of doing away with all dehumanizing approach to life and giving way to better approach to life that will lead to a better society.


Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front. Overlydramatic, August 14, 2012.

Hughes, Diane. 2005. All Quiet on the Western Front. Center for Learning.

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