Main Themes in Remarque’s 'All Quiet on The Western Front'

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Words: 951 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Feb 18, 2022

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Words: 951|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Feb 18, 2022

Main Themes In Remarque’s ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’
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The essay discusses the novel "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque, highlighting three key themes and ideas portrayed in the book. First, it addresses the theme of lies and deception, emphasizing the role of propaganda in manipulating the perception of war. The government used propaganda and posters to encourage German youth to enlist in World War I, painting a misleading picture of heroism and glory. The disillusionment experienced by the soldiers upon witnessing the brutal realities of war is evident.

Secondly, the essay explores the horrific sights and merciless nature of the war depicted in the novel. It delves into the psychological impact of constant bombardment and exposure to unbearable images, which led some soldiers to insanity or self-inflicted injuries in desperation to escape the front lines.

Lastly, the essay touches upon the effects of WWI on young soldiers, emphasizing the unimaginable horrors they endured. As Germany ran low on troops, the youth were sent to the front lines, exposed to terrible conditions and suffering. The novel portrays their gradual realization that the enemy soldiers were also ordinary people, challenging their preconceived notions.

Prompt Examples for "All Quiet on The Western Front'" Essay

  • The Horrors of War: Examine how the theme of the horrors of war is portrayed in the novel, and discuss the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of combat on the soldiers.
  • Loss of Innocence: Analyze the theme of the loss of innocence among the young soldiers in the story, and explore how their experiences on the battlefield transform their outlook on life.
  • Comradeship and Camaraderie: Discuss the theme of comradeship and camaraderie among the soldiers, considering how their bonds and friendships provide solace and support amidst the brutality of war.
  • Anti-War Message: Explore the novel's anti-war message and how it criticizes the glorification of war, nationalism, and the institutions that perpetuate conflicts.
  • Isolation and Alienation: Analyze the theme of isolation and alienation experienced by the soldiers, both on the battlefield and when they return home, and discuss the impact of this theme on their lives.

"All Quiet on The Western Front'" Essay Example

On the 28th June 1914, no one could have predicted that the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand, would be assassinated (Royde-Smith and Showalter, 2020), which would ignite a flame that could never be stopped, World War 1 (WW1). World War One was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, with estimates ranging from 18 to 22 million deaths and about 20 to 22 million wounded military personnel. World War One veteran Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front was one of the first books that the Nazis burned in public in 1933. The book follows a young soldier’s journey, whose name is Paul Baumer. He tells his story on the front line with his group of friends. There are three key themes and ideas that were explored in the book being i) the lies and deception, ii) the horrific sights that were brutal and merciless, and iii) the effects of WW1 on youth. The novel All Quiet on the Western Front is important in its ability to teach readers the horific events that took place in WW1 on the western front in a first-person perspective, which presented the world to be a dark and terrifying place at the time.

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Propaganda and posters were used on the people by the government to create the perception of lies and deception. Propaganda was first used at the start of WW1 and continued through the years 1914 to 1918 to sway the general population of Germany to sign up for the war effort (Propaganda, Gale 2016). Some of the propaganda was aimed at youth and the elderly because at the time the Germans didn’t have enough troops to fight against the allies, which resulted in large amounts of youth and elderly bodies scattered around the battlefield. The German population were not given accurate accounts of the realities of the battlefield before they enlisted, and so became disillusioned once they experienced the brutalities of war. As quoted by Kropp, one of Paul’s comrades “Yes, that's the way they think, these hundred thousand Kantoreks! Iron Youth. Youth! None of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk” (Remarque, 1929). In the quote it tells about Kropp, one of Paul’s friends nagging about the iron youth, the iron youth was used in WW1 which symbolised a “strong German man” to make more youth to enlist, as it was a form of propaganda to the war, making it sound better for the youth, Kropp disliked the saying the iron youth as It is what made him join, and witness the horrors of war (Propaganda, Gale 2016). The novel has shown that the use of propaganda to perceive lies and deception, which represented the world to be dark and terrifying place at the time.

In the novel Quiet on the Western Front the writer describes the horrific sights that were brutal and merciless. During the time at the western front some of the solders at the time would go crazy due to constant bombardment and horrific images that were unbearable. Some soldiers would even shoot themselves in the hand or leg just to get a ticket home, but in some cases, they were just sent back to the front line and endure even more horrors that resulted in some of them taking their own life. “He won't listen to anything and hits out, his mouth is wet and pours out words, half choked, meaningless words. It is a case of claustrophobia, he feels as though he is suffocating here and wants to get out at any price. If we let him go, he would run about everywhere regardless of cover. He is not the first” (Remarque, 1929).

The effect on the young soldiers was horrible and unimaginable. Towards the end of WW1, Germany were running low on troops, this resulted them to turn their attention to youth, many of the youth that were shipped to the front-line during WW1 were subjected to terrible things, which took many youths lives. These poor young men knew nothing else, with one of the soldiers saying, “…almost all of us are simple folk. And in France, too, the majority of men are laborer’s, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us. No, it is merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of Frenchmen as regards us. They weren’t asked about it anymore than we were” (Remarque, 1929). The quote shows that the soldiers knew nothing of the opposing forces and throughout the novel this gap in knowledge diminishes. The realization that the enemies were people too become intensely obvious. Watching a French soldier slowly succumb to his wounds of battle becomes too much for the young soldiers to bare. The propaganda, the graphic images permanently imprinted on these impressionable minds and influential age of these blue-eyed young men left them following a path that was not as it seemed. Watching the French soldier die was a reality check for Paul. The novel clearly shows that young solider were subjected to graphic images that made some even go crazy, making the world to be a dark and terrifying place.

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World War One veteran Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front has successfully captures the life of soldiers during the war. Overall, Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front has shown through these three key themes and ideas that in the end represented the world to be a dark and terrifying place at the time which is explored through first-person perspective of Paul Baumer.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Main Themes In Remarque’s ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’. (2022, February 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Main Themes In Remarque’s ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’.” GradesFixer, 18 Feb. 2022,
Main Themes In Remarque’s ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Main Themes In Remarque’s ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:
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