All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque has made me think differently ever since I finished reading it. It strikes me how connected you can feel to a character – in this case, Paul. It changes the way you think about wars and how they affect the people fighting. Paul’s life is destroyed and ruined by war. When he is finally home, he doesn’t know what to do, who to talk to. It makes me think about war and why it even exists.

The final chapters of All Quiet on The Western Front leave the reader feeling sympathetic towards Paul because the last of Paul’s friend group is killed and he is left with no one at all. He becomes depressed and starts to believe that he won’t know what to do when the war is over. He then ends up being killed as the war ends. An example of this is on page 67. “We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.” This is sad because even though he is on the “wrong” side that being on the German army he has no choice and many of the people like him are just puppets being used and forced to do people in power’s bidding.

We learn something interesting about one of the characters, Kropp, on page 203 where it saysWe are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who’s in the right?” This is typical of how the character acts in the book so far. He often seems to be questioning the morality and justification of war and how there is no such thing as good or bad in war for soldiers, because from their perspective they have to do what they have been told to do. To them they are fulfilling their “duty” to serve their country. This changes the way the reader thinks not just of Kropp, but of war, and I believe that’s why he is such an important character in this book. Most readers wouldn’t want to be friends with him, because a lot of people are against the Central Powers, but I think many would like to have a discussion with him.

After page 203, most readers will probably look forward to reading the rest of this book. The reason I say this is because Kropp and Paul are such complex characters and feel very “human”. What I mean by that is that they seem like real soldiers during World War 1, not like some crazy, over-the-top characters. And by the end of the book they will either be dead or they will return home and be blamed for the failure of the German army. If that happens, they will have all of these built up emotions that they don’t know who to talk to about besides each other. They will be completely lost.

  1. Alexander Tobon 3 months ago

    Dear Diego
    I am stunned by your summary of “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Because it has a summary of what you have been reading and shows the other side of the spectrum on the German army during WWI. The common misconception is they ,the German soldiers, are the worst people because they were the enemy of the allied powers during WWI.
    One sentence that stood out to me in your article was, ” This is sad because even though he is on the “wrong” side that being on the German army he has no choice and many of the people like him are just puppets being used and forced to do people in power’s bidding.” The reason that this stood out to me was because, many of the men that were conscripted into the German army were honest men with good jobs, a family and a life to look forward to.
    Thanks for the writing. I hope this will bring another perspective on WWI to people that read this article.
    #Orange Cove High School

  2. Ronata 7 months ago

    Hi Diego. I agree with you that war overall is a parlous act. There are better ways to handle disputes between nations or even disputes within a single one. War benefits neither side, at the end of the day loses are taken by both ends so a win is never really a win. To often humanity turns to fighting as a way to settle things once and for all but never really take a step back and see the inevitable outcome that is underway. I really enjoyed reading your prompt, I hope to read more of your work. Thank you.

  3. Jonathan 7 months ago

    Hey Diego, That books sounds very interesting. I think I will have to check it out. You said the book changed your views on war. What were your viewpoints it before reading the book. Is there anything you believe about war that was true before reading it and after reading it? I think it is interesting to think about how both sides are fighting for their own country and it is hard sometimes to see who is right and who is wrong. War hurts both sides and causes pain and grief. How do you think the affects of being in a war and fighting would change the characters views on life if they grew up never having to worry about being a soldier and fighting. You have a lot of great stuff here. Your writing helps draw in the reader to want to hear what you have to say and care about the issue. If you had to look at the other side, there are people who glorify war. Video games are a good example. Even though they are not real, a lot of people play games with killing.

  4. Nickolas Sizer 7 months ago

    I agree, war is bad.

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