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All Quiet on the Western Front

            Patriotism and honor are the most common words used to capture citizens of a country into enlisting to fight in a war. However, in the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front by Enrich Maria Remarque, these words turned into lies and false promises. The main character, Paul Baumer, one of the many young men part of the German army involved in WWI, questioned the relationship between patriotism and the war. He experienced vigorous training camp, then saw the mutilation of human beings at the front, and the death of a dear friend. “ We were all at once terribly alone, and alone we must see it through.” Everyday was a struggle for food and shelter for Paul and his comrades. The objective in each battle was not to defeat the soldiers on the other side of their trench, but to kill and fight fear. In this novel, Remarque has completely refuted the patriotic and righteous appearance of war, by describing the gruesome scenes in war and the impact it has on the soldiers.
             At such a young age, to be introduced to the horrific reality of war, rapes the soldiers of all desires and hopes of their home. Before they even reached the front, Paul and his comrades were moved to entering the war to express their patriotism by the words of their professor, Kantorek, and their training corporal, Himmelstoss. “The war swept us away, all of us whom Kantorek calls the ‘Iron Youth.’” The author also points out the similarities in the soldiers on both sides of the war. Both pulled into the traps of patriotism, yet both are unsure of who and what they are fighting for. At the same time, they were also ruining themselves and the entire male youth of Germany. “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.” At Paul’s age, he should be turning into a man, understanding responsibilities and learning gradually to accept death.