Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front: Review

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All Quiet on the Western Front
“The first bombs, the first explosion, burst into our hearts.” (Remarque 88) This is what the soldiers felt like in Erich Maria Remarque novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer, a young man serving in the German army during World War One, is constantly being faced with the horrible and terrifying aspects of war. From seeing, his fellow soldiers lying dead on the battle field, to learning how to survive on the western front of the war. With his rifle by his side and his comrade’s right next to him, he knew what his job was to do in the war and that was to serve his country. Although Paul fought for his country in the War, Corrie Ten Boom a member of the Dutch reformed church was faced with the horrific scenes of seeing innocent Jews being put into Concentration Camps. Although, Paul enlisted inWorld War I to help his country and then realized what war really about, Corrie helped her country in World War II in a different way by helping the Jews hide in her house and even surviving a concentration camp herself . Paul Baumer and Corrie Ten Boom both had different influences and experiences before the start of the war. Paul was eager to join the war and wanted to what he could for his country and even Paul’s friend Katczinky said, “It would not be such a bad war if only one can get a little more sleep”(Remarque 2), this leads up to Paul’s friend volunteering for the war. Paul and his friends Leer, Muller and Kropp all enlisted in the war voluntarily “All four are nineteen years in age, and all four joined up from the same class as volunteers for the war .In the line we have had next to none, and fourteen days is a long time at one stretch” (Remarque 2). Propaganda also had a major part on influencing Paul Baumers to join the war “Enforced publicity has in our eyes restored the character of complete innocence to all these things” [war] (Remarque 8). Paul was also being pressured into joining the war by his teacher; a patriotic professor gave the students “long lectures until the whole of their class went, under his shepherding, to the district commandant and volunteered” (Remarque 11). His teacher always had the dream of transforming high school students into being a strong one’s self and he believed that joining the military was the way to do that and turning the students into strong “Iron Youth”(Remarque 19). Those who did not join the war would “have been ostracized ….but no one would ever stand out because at the time even one’s parents were ready with the word “coward””(Remarque 11). The young students did not want to be thought of being disobedient to a higher authority because “the idea of authority….was a greater insight and a more humane wisdom” (Remarque 12) and because of that Paul and the class volunteered their service in the war. Paul also felt like it was his oneself duty to join the war and fight for his country because “We loved our country” (Remarque 13) and wanted to serve it” [the] duty to ones country is the greatest thing” (Remarque 13) Although, Paul wanted to serve his country on the war front Corrie Ten boom had a different start to World War II. Prior to the Holland’s involvement the country, was still at peace. Corrie Ten Booms family waited anxiously and gathered around the radio, for the Prime Minister of Holland’s announcement about the countries involvement in the war. On May 10th, 1940 at 9:30 P.M., the announcement came through on the families radio the Prime minister announced there would be no war, and Holland would remain neutral. The voice stopped, and Corrie Ten Boom and her sister looked over at their father and saw a fire they had never seen before. Corries Ten Boom father said, “It is wrong to give people hope when there is no hope, there will be war. The Germans will attack and we will fall” ( Boom 78) Corrie Ten Boom felt that if father was so skilled at being optimistic, and so slow to believe in evil. Then there would be no other choice...
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