All Quiet on the Western Front



All Quiet on the Western Front is a fictional account of a German soldier’s experience in World War I. Although written and marketed as fiction, the novella relies heavily on the wartime experience of the author, Erich Maria Remarque. Remarque, a German veteran of World War I, wrote the novella to show how war can suppress the ability of an individual to cope with the drama and stress of battle. Remarque completed the novella in 1927, nearly ten years after he joined the German army at the tender age of 18. While in the army, Remarque was badly wounded by shrapnel in his neck, left leg, and right arm. Unable to continue fighting, Remarque recovered in an army hospital for the remainder of the war.

Often, the hazards of war are discussed as influential on the identity of a region or country; however, Remarque’s work reveals the horror and discontent that war can have on the individual soldier. Told from the first-person point of view, All Quiet on the Western Front highlights the struggle of soldiers to cope with war and its aftermath. Instead of glorifying war as a satisfyingly patriotic endeavor, All Quiet on the Western Front provides a realistic portrayal of war’s negative influence on young soldiers.

The novella is also unique because the story provides a sympathetic viewpoint of the German soldier in World War I. Despite growing tensions between Germany and England/United States, All Quiet on the Western Front was successfully received by English and American readers. The reception owes much to Remarque’s ability to personalize war and devalue the grandeur of fighting. Through the story, readers were able to recognize how in addition to British and American soldiers, many German soldiers and their families also endured the horrors of war. The novella showed that far too often, war leaves no winners in its midst.

Although now considered an undisputed classic, All Quiet on the Western Front endured a complex publication history. First published in the German newspaper

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