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The First World War became for its contemporaries and all humankind more than a global war. It turned into a tremendous disaster. Many studies have repeatedly noted that World War I turned out to be so terrible and catastrophic because it was an unusual war, which was fought according to new, unknown rules. The novel reads the realization that war cuts people's lives before and after, eliminating its participants. Furthermore, most likely, this feeling appeared during the hostilities, approximately when the war became trench warfare.

Of course, any war makes people change something in their outlook on life. For example, in war, it is not a crime to kill the enemy, and any soldier is ready to die himself if he knows what he sacrifices his life for. However, when the wars end, life, as history shows, does not return to its former course, especially after such bloody massacres as the First World War. For four years, the soldiers fought without seeing the point. Yes, they defended their homeland, although it was clear to few from whom and from what. This war brought about fundamental changes in world politics in distributing forces and roles among the world powers. It became a catalyst for revolution and the collapse of empires. However, what matters most is that the wars affect regular people's lives and change them drastically. Remarque was among the first authors to develop this idea, being further followed by other well-known authors. However, among all of them, Remarque remains to be especially valued for his brutal yet honest description of the war and its consequences.

Description of War 

Erich Maria Remarque volunteered for the front in 1916; he experienced everything that his literary heroes experienced7. Hence the realism with which the author describes the war, the soldier's life, his seemingly tired, unhurried as if indifferent narration. It all helps the reader "All Quiet on the Western Front" to imagine the pictures of war, hospitals, simple soldier's life described in the novel.

In his subsequent novels, such as Return, Three Comrades, which can, in principle, be considered a continuation of the novel All Quiet on the Western Front considered here, Remarque tried to tell about the fate of the soldiers who survived the war and returned home. The voice of the author, the voice of the narrator. Moreover, the one who narrates all this seems to be deeply unhappy, physically, and mentally wounded, hardened, but at the same time kind and amazingly human.

Suppose he speaks in the same, even, almost indifferent voice about how people without feet, on only stumps, ran into the attack for another dozen meters and about how best to deal with a soldier, linen lice. In that case, this is only because of his emotions, personal grief, and personal tragedy, which have reached their highest point, invisible to the layman. This is akin to grief without tears - the most grievous grief. The author conveys the soldiers' thoughts called up to the army - peasants, artisans, workers, and they do not care about geopolitics; they just need to know what they are risking their lives for, and they cannot find an answer to this question. The war dealt with the significant blow to young people who did not yet have "roots". They felt unnecessary even to themselves8.

The war seems to these young soldiers to be utterly meaningless because no one can explain why it is going on, what are its reasons. The novel's heroes are led to a conversation about the meaning of the war by meeting with Kaiser Wilhelm II, who came to the regiment to award soldiers with "Iron Crosses". The Kaiser does not seem as majestic as a ruler responsible for unleashing a world war; he is seen as a person the same as the soldiers, only occupying a different social niche. The soldiers do not want to believe that the Kaiser could want this war. Why are the soldiers at the front? They defend the fatherland, and their enemies defend the fatherland, but everyone understands that there are no rightists in this war, and there cannot be. So why sit in a dirty trench and endanger the life after all? Remarque's heroes are trying their best to remain human, but during the battle, the soldiers become "automats", "wild beasts", which allows them to save themselves and their lives.

The First World War claimed a vast number of lives, more than any war before. Remarque depicts many deaths in his novel. Here we can again trace the pacifist tendencies of this work. Before our eyes, the hero's childhood friends, recruits, are dying, we see deaths on the battlefield, in a hospital, deaths from gas. Death in war is taken for granted, and it seems that it is impossible to mourn everyone, but from unbearable grief or fear, one can get off the mind. Death becomes familiar to the heroes of the novel. This is one of the most terrible outcomes of the World War. A person who continually sees mutilated corpses sees how loved ones die unlikely to live in peace after the end of the war. Therefore, for many, the fear of a peaceful life becomes even stronger than the fear of death. Remarque did not leave any of his heroes alive; perhaps because from the very first pages, he declared the generation of participants in the war lost, denied him the right to the future as people whose "knowledge about life is reduced to death."


World War I had no idea to die for. It did not live up to politicians' hopes for a quick outcome, but became only "the collapse of everything human." The only good thing that the author finds in this war is front-line comradeship. A partnership of people devoted to each other, but at the same time knowing that they can lose each other at any moment, resigned to this thought; people who do not understand what they are fighting for, but who understand the dear cost of each battle. The last pages of the novel show that nothing kept a person in that war; desertion did not seem a shame - after all, it is much more natural to yearn for the home than to wait for his own Death. It is much more patriotic to cultivate one's native land than to sit in a trench and carry out senseless orders from commanders.

Remarque's novel provides the opportunity to learn about how people themselves thought of themselves in this war. In the literature of the Soviet period, the opinion is often encountered that the novel's heroes are marked with the stamp of passivity, doom, that they are victims and passion-bearers, and not fighters. However, perhaps, Remarque's heroes can still be called fighters, fighters not for some high ideals, but for their own lives, for returning home as people capable of living on. A man in war is not a German, a Frenchman, an Englishman or a Russian, not a peasant, artisan, teacher, or student, a man here is his friend or a stranger, this is a commander or a private. frIt is in fiction that the concept of an army that is familiar to us breaks down into specific people-personalities.

According to Remarque, every person plays a role in a war, he needs it, even though this war's justice and its meaning are in doubt. However, at the same time, war depersonalizes, and behind each character depicted by Remarque, there are thousands more like him. One person is hardly capable of influencing the course of hostilities. A man performs his social function in war, he is obliged to defend his fatherland, and no one doubts this. Although departing from the generally accepted ideas about the honor of a soldier, Remarque seeks to assert every person's right to choose and, as already mentioned, does not condemn desertion. Apparently, according to the author, war is that necessary evil, without which man and life itself on Earth are impossible.

Wars were, are, and will be. Moreover, the next world war may wipe out all of humanity from the face of the Earth. Cruel, predatory, with a lot of blood, fear, horror, Death. Moreover, there is no more potent drug because it enters not through a vein, lungs, or some other organ, but directly through the soul, powerfully absorbing the whole person. Forever and ever. This is how people of war are born. This is how entire generations of people are born for whom the topic of love and Death is not abstract.