March 13, 2013
“All Quiet On the Western Front” Book Review
“All quiet on the western front” was a war story of a young man’s life during World War 1. The book was told from a different perspective then war books I have previously read before; it showed the German soldiers life and how they perceived the war. It explained harsh events that happened and brutal situations that the Germans endured.
This book takes in the western front where Paul, the main character is stationed. He was convinced by his school teacher to enlist in the German army. He and classmates were all accepted and were now a part of the German army at the age of twenty. Most of the book takes place in the terrifying trenches that everyone feared during this time period. Paul was living the trenches throughout the book except when he was able to go on leave, which is when he went to visit his family. When the battles occurred they were small and didn’t mention the name. Paul didn’t mention the names of battles so there is no truth to what could happen or not have happened.
Reading through Paul’s description of what was occurring the Germans where not winning the war. The Germans were constantly bombarded with mortars and starving unlike the opposing American Army. The Americans were the dominant military force, constantly making the Germans retreat.
The book allowed for understanding how situations occurred during World War 1 but did not allow for actual facts about situations just one man’s point of view, which could have been real or fake. I think the book was based on actual events based on what was written and how it did occur during World War 1.
Paul, a young man was convinced to join the German army. He was a troop of the frontline who was scared at first but became a battled hard veteran who didn’t spook as easy as the new recruits. He realized that being in the terrifying trenches wasn’t as patriotic as he thought. He realizes that war isn’t as glorious as it was said to be, it was full of death and the constant fear of dying. He spent a majority of his time in the trenches except for when he goes for a leave of absence. He watches people being massacred battle after battle and starts getting accustomed to people being disfigured from mortars and shelling’s. He starts to think that death is to be expected and comes to the conclusion that he is going to die; it’s only the time in which it happens that is unpredictable. He truly experiences the horrors of war and what he has been doing when he fights a man in hand to hand combat. He was patrolling his area when a man jumped into his trench unexpectedly. He was forced to bring out his knife and stab the man, but he did not kill him. He was horrified as he watched the man gag on the blood in his mouth for several hours, never being able to gather the strength to finish the man as he died a slow painful death. He couldn’t get this image out of his mind and it affected his way of thinking. He no longer went into battle fighting with rage and anger, instead he felt compassion and sorrow for what was happening around him. He developed a mindset of fighting with cause and reason instead of anger, which would get the best of a soldier. The war changes Paul drastically; it affected his mindset and personality. When he got a 17 day absence he went back to his hometown to visit his family. He felt like he was a stranger and no longer belonged in his city. He could no longer keep a conversation with the people he used to talk to on a regular basis. People would ask him about the war, thinking that everything was okay and well, but he was unable to share his devastating experiences and they would have only thought he was lying if he told them the truth.
The largest historical significance is World War 1 occurring and the Germans losing the war. This was bound to happen because of the political climate of all the countries and nations. World War 1 would have occurred even if the French Duke Ferdinand wasn’t assonated. Every country in Europe was like dominos just waiting to be knocked over. The assassination of Ferdinand was simply a way for one domino to fall and effect the nearby ones, but these dominos where bound to fall eventually. Bibliography
"World War I." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. "Trench Warfare." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. Remarque, Erich Maria, and A. W. Wheen. All Quiet on the Western Front;. Boston: Little, Brown, and, 1929. Print.