Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front

Words: 1083
Pages: 5

Erich Maria Remarque, a World War I veteran, took his own personal war experience to paper, which resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed anti-war movement novels of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front. The voice of the novel, Paul Baumer, describes his daily life as a soldier during the First World War. Through the characters he creates in the novel, Remarque addresses his own issues with the war. Specifically, Remarque brings to light the idea of the “Iron Youth,” the living conditions in the trenches, and the sense of detachment soldiers feel, among other things. Therefore, All Quiet on the Western Front criticizes the sense of nationalism, which war tends to create among citizens by quickly diminishing any belief regarding …show more content…
These men were exposed to a completely different world compared to the one they had previously known, making the return to their civilian lives extremely difficult. Because the majority of the population did not experience the tragedies these soldiers have been through, these men feel foreign to their old lives. As a result of their traumatic occurrences and sense of detachment, soldiers frequently suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health problem in which people develop after experiencing or witnessing life-threatening events, including combat (VA Citation). Although this serious mental health illness is highly prevalent in today’s society, the diagnosis for PTSD did not exist until the Vietnam War (Battle Citation). This being said, soldiers throughout both World Wars suffered from this illness without being administered the correct treatment; without a formal PTSD diagnosis, there was not a protocol for doctors to follow. Instead, the term “Shell Shock” was used throughout the First World War. However, medical and military attitudes towards this health issue were ambiguous and treatment was haphazard. Fewer than twenty percent of the soldiers diagnosed during and in the aftermath of the war were able to return to normal lives (Racket and Fear). Once these young men sign to fight in the war, they are signing their lives away; any sense of normalcy or happiness is forfeited in their