All Quiet on the Western Front is an autobiographical novel, written by Erich Maria Remarque, and was published in 1928. Remarque had fought for the German army on the Western front in World War I and had become a militant pacifist. From his experiences in World War I, Remarque had written All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel that talks about how young men are tricked into thinking that going to war is a glorious, honorable thing; but in reality it leaves men traumatized, injured, and even dead. And when Remarque had written this novel, he was trying to show the truth and betrayal behind this war, but Hitler banned this book and others that talked about the war being bad in any way because he didn’t want the young German men to get discouraged about going to war. After the book had been banned, Remarque was soon forced to flee his homeland. Paul Baumer is an idealistic, patriotic teenager who is soon disillusioned by his traumatic wartime experiences. Paul Baumer believes that the people he is to rely on, and trust that they are making the best choices for him betray him, and let him down!
Paul and his classmates feel betrayed by their school maser, Kantorek. As young adults, Paul and his classmates rely on major influences in their lives, such as a schoolmaster, to put their trust in and to lead them to make the right choices in life. Kantorek may think that he is leading the boys towards the right way, but he is actually leading them towards society's way of how these young men should grow up. Kantorek pressures his pupils into voluntarily joining the military, and if one strays away from this idea of being in the military then he is called out as a coward by society, and even by his own parents. One of Paul’s pieres did not sign up right away, Joseph Behm, but he was soon persuaded to join in fear of being ostracized. Later, as the men were on the front, Behm was ironically one of the first to fall as he was hit in the eye. The men know that they can’t blame Kantorek, for he truly thinks he is acting for the best “The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief” (Remarque 12).
One of Paul’s dearest friends, Franz Kemmerich, has a flesh wound in his thigh, a highly fatal wound at that! Paul, Muller, and Kropp go to see Kemmerich at St. Joseph’s hospital, where they find out that the flesh wound is spreading and the doctors have to amputate most of Kemmerich’s leg. After staying at the hospital for a while, a doctor pulled Paul aside and told him that Kemmerich is to die soon. The life of the youth and the time they should have gotten is being stolen; no one knows how to get it back, and sometimes will not accept that it’s gone “We ask for Kemmerich. ... While he was unconscious someone had stolen his watch” (Remarque 13). Kemmerich is very disillusioned to the way he is being treated in the hospital, he thinks he should be getting better treatment because he’s serving in the military; but he is very wrong:
Kemmerich groans. He is feverish. We get hold of an orderly outside and ask him to give
Kemmerich a dose of morphia. He refuses. ... I hastily intervene and give him a cigarette.
He takes it. ...I press a few more into his hand. ‘Do us the favor-’ ‘Well, alright,’ [the
orderly] says. Kropp goes in with him. He doesn’t trust him and wants to see. We wait
outside. (Remarque 17)
When Paul goes on leave back to home, he is faced with having to see his father; the one that Paul has out the most faith into and who has let him down the most. Once he has arrived, he greets his eldest sister and she calls for the mother. Paul is in so much shock to be back home, seeing his family, his town, and his house. He stands, leaning against the wall, supporting himself with the butt of his rifle, speechless; he can’t help…