The Reality of War Essay examples

Submitted By amack777
Words: 812
Pages: 4

Everyone generally knows what war is, right? Each person has their own unique perspective of war. How they see it may be completely distorted or it may be very accurate. Soldiers, pre WWI, had this mindset where they believed that was war glorious. They believed that one would go to war expecting to be treated well and come home as a hero of their country. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Being in the war on the front line meant certain death. The front is described by soldiers as “a cage in which [they] must await fearfully whatever may happen” (Remarque, 101). This theme of the war going from a dream to a real nightmare in the eyes of the soldiers is reoccurring throughout the novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Remarque describes the pain that the soldiers go through along with their environmental condition and emotions. In the beginning of chapter four, the men of the Second Company are sent to barbwire the front line which is a deadly mission. Not only are the men sent out on suicide missions against the enemy, they also have to worry about treacherous weather, the shortage of food, and going through the deadliest of all the fighting land – no man’s land which lies between enemy trenches. Paul describes the front as “a mysterious whirlpool” (Remarque, 55). He explains that the middle of the whirlpool is the front and even when he is “in calm waters” that he can still feel the center of it pulling him in. A good example of how the war changed these men is in the beginning when Kemmerich is in St. Joseph’s with a leg wound. Once Kemmerich dies, Muller insists on having Kemmerich’s boots since they are of no use to him any longer. This suggests that the men are desperate enough to take from their dying friend in order to get better things, therefore gaining status among the community of soldiers. Another aspect to WWI that made it such a living hell for the soldiers was the new arsenal techniques that had never before been used. Trench warfare was no longer being used. The new forms of assault in this war included tanks, heavily loaded machine guns, accurate artillery bombing methods, airplanes, and last but not least; poisonous gas. These factors made war much more difficult for the soldiers to survive. To make this nightmare worse for Paul, he has to watch as his friends and those around him are blown to bits by the enemy. On their way back to the front line, the Second Company passes a schoolhouse that has been totally demolished by a bomb. Off to the side, the men spot at least a hundred coffins. Kat and Detering get into an argument about who they’re for. Detering says that the coffins are for the men of the Second Front when Tjaden chimes in and says “you’ll be thankful if you get so much as a coffin… They’ll slip you a waterproof sheet for your old Aunt Sally of a carcase” (Remarque, 99). This indirectly describes how awful and often the deaths of the soldiers were. The soldiers fighting in the