In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, the French girl's remark, "the war- great sadness- poor boys" is true of the events described in the novel in many respects because of the future hopes and dreams the men lost, the youth and innocence that was taken away from them, and the families and friends that were removed from their lives for good.
First, the young soldiers in World War I were a lost generation. They were sent off to war at a young age wasting their youthful years. In the preface of the novel, Remarque maintains that, "a generation of men.were destroyed" (Insight 202). Most of the young soldiers were angry that they were coaxed into war before experiencing life to their fullest. In the novel, Paul notes that teachers and parents persuaded he and other young men to enlist in the war effort. It also angered Paul that he did not have anything to go back to after the war. Early in the novel, Paul stated, "we young men of twenty.have only our parents and some, perhaps a girl.some enthusiasm, a few hobbies and our school. And of this nothing remains" (Insight 210). As the novel continued, Paul realized that he had to accept the war. He recognized that he must stop pitying himself in saying, ".all my generation is experiencing these things" (Insight 320). He and the other soldiers were forced to become ruthless killers in order to survive. They were considered a lost generation of men because their knowledge of life is limited to death (Insight 320). .
Second, her remark proves to be truthful in that the soldiers lost their youth and innocence during the war. They entered the war as premature, hopeful youth and came to maturity with the war, their only home. Everything they were taught, "the world of work, duty, culture, and progress" were of no practical use to them now (Insight 207). The war took a heavy toll on the soldiers who fought in it. the terror of death infested the minds of the soldiers until they broke down.