All Quiet on the Western Front
People go to war for many valid reasons, but many ultimately join because they are ignorant to the horrors that accompany war. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque clarifies that people are immensely patriotic so they feel the need to contribute to their country by serving it in the military. The love for Paul and his friends’ families and their possessions at home lead the men to go to war in an attempt to protect their way of life. Paul and his friends, however, joined the military with a false sense of what war entails. They joined the military to go to war because they are dedicated to their country, want to protect their families, and in many cases, because they do not understand the true nature of war. Remarque emphasizes that Paul and his friends enlist because they were doped by the older generation and they wanted to protect their families and country, but they did not truly understand the horrors they were actually signing up for. Useless wars should be stopped, to avoid killing innocent people.
Paul and his friends enlist because they trusted their elders. They believe the only way to give thanks to their country it is to serve in the war. Paul expresses his contempt for the older generations by saying,
“For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity, to the future. In our hearts we trusted them. The idea of authority was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom” (Remarque 15).
This is Paul’s first and most direct exploration of how the older generation betrays the younger generation by convincing them to sacrifice their lives for the empty ideals of patriotism and honor.
On the other hand, wanting to keep life the way it is at home is another important reason why...