All Quiet on the Western Front | Summary, Characters, Analysis and Facts (2023)

nothing new in the west,romanoby a German writerNote from Erich Maria, published in 1929 asnothing new in the westE noUSAlike thenothing new in the west🇧🇷 An anti-war novel set duringFirst World War, draws on Remarque's personal wartime experience to portray the general disillusionment of the era. The book is an account of Paul Baumer's experiences in combat and his short career as a soldier, and deals primarily with the effects of war on young people. Its title, in the language of routine communiqués, is typical of its succinct, light-hearted style, which vividly captures the everyday horrors of war.laconicamenteEuphemism. His refusal to speak explicitly about the war was in stark contrast to the patriotic sentimentrhetorictypical of the time, especially in Germany. The book was an instant international success, although it received wide criticism.

plot summary

nothing new in the westtells the story of a group of young Germans who, after dying, enter the First World WarCharmedthrough slogans of patriotism and honor. The narrator is the protagonist Paul Baumer, 20 years old. Young people quickly discover that the romanticized version of warfare described to them has nothing to do with the battlefields they encounter. The novel begins with the group fresh out of their position at the front. Kemmerich, one of Paul's classmates, suffered a thigh injury as a result.Amputation, and some of the soldiers visit him at St. Joseph. They quickly realize that Kemmerich is going to die there, and Müller, another of the soldiers, asks Kemmerich for his boots, a moment that is awkward but perfectly logical. Paul visits Kemmerich alone again, and during this visit Kemmerich dies; Paul asks for help and a doctor refers him to a nurse. However, no one offers help, because the staff is busier preparing the bed that will soon be empty for a new patient. Kemmerich is the 17th soldier to die that day and his body is quickly removed.


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Hungry and tired, Paul and his friends rejoice when their friend Katczinsky ("Kat") returns from scavenging for food with two loaves of bread and a bag of raw horsemeat. Kat, explains Paul, has always been incredibly imaginative. Paul also introduces the cruel Sergeant Himmelstoss, a former postman with whom Paul and his friends often clash. After some time substituted at the front, his regiment is called up again. When night falls, they fall asleep to the sound of exploding bombs. Upon awakening, they hear sounds of an imminent attack. The howl of wounded horses pierces the silence between explosions, and the bloody sight of their wounds deeply disturbs everyone. Shortly thereafter, an attack is launched, andChaoshe follows. Poison gas and grenades penetrate the group. When the fighting finally stops, the carnage is horrific. The trenches are bombed several times throughout the novel, until finally the soldiers are dismissed to take a break while they wait for reinforcements. Himmelstoss, who recently made his debut in Trench, is trying to get along with the group. While bathing in a canal, Paul and some of his friends meet three French women whom they sneak out at night to find. Then Paul discovers that he has been given 17 days of vacation. Upon arriving home, he discovers that his mother has cancer. He feels separated from the people he was once close to and cannot understand the things in their minds. He visits Kemmerich's mother, who asks him about her son's death. After a difficult conversation with his own mother, Paul wishes he never went on vacation because he believes he has changed too much to live like he used to.

Then Paul spends four weeks in a training camp before returning to the front lines. Opposite the base there is a camp for Russian prisoners; Paul testifies andlittershow your enemies look like your neighbors. He eventually returns to his regiment. He and his friends are given new clothes to prepare for a visit from a supposed German emperor.William II, called the Emperor in the novel, who will make an inspection. After the Kaiser leaves, Paul is lost during a battle at night and, while hiding in a shell hole during a bombardment, stabs a French soldier who falls into it. He watches the man die and desperately tries to help him by giving him water and clothes.injuryhe inflicted. When the man dies, Paul is mad with shame. In his shirt pocket, he finds letters and a photo of the man's wife and child. He waits with the dead man in the hole for hours until he feels safe enough to return to his regiment's trenches.

When Paul returns, he, Kat and six others are sent to protect a village where they find a lot of food. Later they are sent to another village to help evacuate the civilians. However, during the evacuation, the French bomb the city and Paul and his friend Albert Kropp are injured. Albert's leg is amputated. Paul is operated on and sent back to the front. Paul's friends start to die one by one. Kat is run over while looking for food and, afraid of not having time to wait, Paul carries him to the dressing room. However, when they arrive, Kat has already died. Paul becomes the last of his seven classmates. The novel then moves away from Paul's first-person perspective and ends with the announcement that Paul has died. The army report released the day he died said only: All quiet on the western front.

context and analysis

Remarque used his personal experience as a German soldier to writenothing new in the west🇧🇷 He was drafted at age 18 and fought on the Western Front of World War I, witnessing many of the atrocities he later portrayed in the novel.nothing new in the westit functions as a vehicle for extremely realistic and graphic depictions of war and as a means of emphasizing the disillusionment of the era. Remarque linked his individual experience to something much larger and more abstract: the novel articulates the Franco-German conflict of World War I.feelingsabout the contemporary nature of war itself. In Paul's self-reflection and conversations among soldiers, there are not only ghostly images, but also ghostly truths about the effects of war on young soldiers. For example, during one of these conversations, one of the soldiers says:

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…almost all of us are simple people. And in France too, most men are blue-collar workers, factory workers or poor employees. Well, why would a French blacksmith or shoemaker want to attack us? No, it's just the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and neither will most French people here. They weren't asked about it any more than we were.

This notion of an abyss between those who declare war and those who fight it is widespreadnothing new in the west, but the gulf between those fighting on opposing sides narrows as the novel progresses. Paul begins to see his enemies as people rather than faceless targets, a transformation that culminates in an intense confrontation.intimateScene of delusional guilt as he watches a French soldier slowly die from a wound he inflicted.

nothing new in the westit also addresses the disillusionment of the public, especially German citizens. Paul and his colleagues entered the war because their former teacher, Herr Kantorek, had spoken patriotically.Propagandawhen they were students and begged them to introduce themselves. Paul also remembers how the newspapers sometimes reported that the troops were in such a good mood that they organized balls before going to the front. Paul explains that he and his comrades did not behave like this out of genuine good humor, but "because we would be separated". Remarque won thenuancesthe separation Paul experiences, especially when interacting with non-soldiers or new recruits. Paul's laconic way of describing the carnage he witnesses serves as a method of distancing himself from the horrors. The unflinching realism of the novelnothing new in the westit is among the most accurate written accounts of World War I, but its philosophical views are applicable to any war. The novel's disclaimer insists that it is not an accusation, but the entire novel blames war as an institution for robbing boys of their lives, whether they died on the battlefield or survived forever changed.

Front desk

nothing new in the westwas a smashing success and the most intense goalcriticism🇧🇷 It sold over a million copies in Germany in its first year, but many Germans were angry with the novel, claiming that Remarque's protagonist was too narrow in perspective and that the novel was getting publicity.pacifismnaive. Others argued that suchcriticismit only highlighted the realism of the novel and Remarque's own intent: many young soldiers who enlisted in the German army during World War I were as limited in their perspective as Paul was, and the novel hinges on revealing that truth through the eyes of a teenager. . intermediate soldiers. Others claimed that Remarque's laconic style was too dull and that the novel had little literary merit beyond its initial shock. Still others argued that the novel's sober approach to war only highlighted Paul's attitude.adjustmentto the emotional trauma of war. Some critics even used Remarque's personal life, particularly his many love affairs, as grounds for distrusting the novel.

nothing new in the westit was also popular in English: approximately 800,000 copies in English were sold in its first year. With its popularity, similar concerns were raised in Britain and the United States that it was pacifist propaganda, although reactions were less violent than in Germany. English-speaking critics shared some of their German counterparts' views, particularly those of the novel.quietlyThe sound was dull and flat at times.nothing new in the westit was eventually translated into some 50 languages ​​and continues to evoke polarized reactions.

The political effect ofnothing new in the westwas important all over the world, but especially in Germany within theNSDAP🇧🇷 In 1930, the novel was adapted asthe film, directed bylewis frame, who wonAcademy Awardsfor best film and best director. When the film was shown in Germany, Nazi Party members used the film as an excuse to viciously attack viewers, particularly those believed to be of Jewish descent. The film was then banned.nothing new in the westwas one of many books that the NSDAP burnedhitlertook power because of its depiction of German soldiers asdisappointedand its perceived negative portrayal of Germany. The book was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Remarque credited a sequelnothing new in the westcalledthe way back(the way back), which was published in 1931 and later also banned by the NSDAP.

Kate LohnesThe editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica
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