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In War we are all the Same

Originally banned and burned in Germany by the Nazi's in 1933 (five years after it was first published) because of it's antinationalist, pacifist, and dissident sentiment, All Quiet on the Western Front by Enrich Maria Remarque reached acclaim across the world as an intimate portrayal of life during the war from the "enemy's" point of view. It was translated to over twenty-five languages, two movies have been made, and it has sold many million copies. As a result of its popularity across the world and its subsequent distaste to the Nazi's, Enrich Maria Remarque was exiled in 1938, and his citizenship in Germany was revoked.

All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel written from the point of view of a German soldier, Paul Baumer, fighting on the western front during 1917 & 1918 (the last two years of WWI). Through Paul's experiences we can see the similarities between all men in war. From detailed descriptions given by Paul of the food soldiers ate, the boots and clothes they wore, and the conditions under which they lived and fought to the corpse rats, the war field graveyards were the bodies of buried soldiers were unearthed during battle, and life under the rules of the German army, Remarque leaves no stone unturned about the conditions and subsequent effects of war upon it's soldiers.

Closely paralleling Hemingway's "Soldier's Home," an account of the effects of WWI on an American soldier, All Quiet on the Western Front displays the universal effects of the war upon those who fought heroically - disillusionment with war and facing the reality of a country who, upon the soldier's return, cannot identify with his life. Estrangement and distance grows with society as the men realize that "the world they (girls & those in society) were in was not the world that he was in" ("Soldier's Home") and "men will not understand us and ... [they will] push us aside; ... the years will pass by and in the end we shall fall into ruin"(All Quiet on the Western Front 294). The similarity between men on both sides of the war reveals the universal result of war - death (if not physical then social or emotional). When, upon entering the war, Paul Baumer says, " Our early life is cut off from the moment we came here, and that without even lifting a hand" (AQWF 19), he foreshadows...

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