Betrayal of The Youth and The Extinction of a Generation
All Quiet on The Western Front is an autobiographical novel written by German WWI veteran Erich Maria Remarque and was published in 1928. What makes this novel so unique and enticing is Remarque’s personal insight on the war which comes from his experiences in WWI. Remarque wrote All Quiet on the Western Front in order to overcome his own traumas that had set in after the war. Remarque was a militant pacifist after his time serving in the German army and bluntly exposes the horrors of war in hopes that the next generation of German youth may learn from their countries mistakes and lead better leaves without the grievance of war. It is precisely for this reason that Adolf Hitler had Remarque’s book burned and forced him to flee the country under the danger of certain execution. Paul Baumer the main character of the novel is a young, intelligent, enthusiastic patriotic teenager with strong ideals which are vehemently strained upon during the war not only because of the fighting but also because of the social ramifications that came with it. Paul Baumer believes that the people he was taught to trust have betrayed him or let him down. Paul and his class mates feel betrayed by their school master Kantorek. Kantorek incessantly urges all of his students to join the army whether or not they want to fall in line. The unspoken trust between a teacher and his students is broken the moment Joseph Behm, a student who initially refuses to go to war but concedes because of Kantorek’s perpetual speeches and many methods of persuasion, is one of the first killed in war. “During Drill time Kantorek gave us long lectures until the whole of out class went, under his shepherding to the District Commandant and volunteered.” (Remarque 11) this is an example which Paul recalls of Kantorek abusing his authority and trust with his students in order to get them to sign up for the army before the draft. After...
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