All Quiet on the Western Front

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Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front very much achieves its goal to “try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.” Remarque goes to great lengths to show how the men in his novel came from ordinary backgrounds. These were men who were for the most part around 18-20 years old. The majority of Paul Bäumer’s group were his own classmates in school. Further, these men joined the German Army for patriotic and nationalist reasons. After spending some time in the trenches, they realized the true brutality of war, including the humiliation the soldiers must endure, such as using outdoor toilets in the open. During the progression of the novel, Paul is given leave to visit his family. While there, he feels truly disconnected from everyone around him. There is a point in time where Paul reflects that at the end of the war, he would be unable to reintegrate into society, as all he knows is war. All Quiet on the Western Front very strongly achieves its goal of showing how a generation was destroyed by the war through its intense use of showing how the men have gone from everyday boys in school to almost less-than-human soldiers. It shows that these men were patriotic, proud people and became somewhat petty scavengers; and it shows that these men were unable to go back to their homes ‘intact.’ I think one of the most crucial parts of showing lost innocence is when Bäumer discusses his when he joined the army to fight in the war. He mentions his schoolmaster named Kantorek as someone who very strongly pushed for his students to enlist, going so far as to give them long lectures, to the point where all of Paul Bäumer’s classmates signed up. (11) Paul goes on to admit that he felt betrayed by Kantorek and the older generation. Paul later hears from Mittelstaedt that has been
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