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All Quiet on the Western Front is an anti-war novel from the opening chapters Many critics of the novel in the early days after the publication of the novel blamed Remarque for writing for shock value They did not want to believe his novel represented the truth about World War I In many ways such people were like Pauls schoolmaster Kantorek They wanted to cling to classical romantic notions of war However Remarque wrote his novel specifically to shatter those idealistic illusions Yes he wrote to shock but he also wrote to educate The young teenage men who enlisted in the army on both sides often never recovered from their horrific experiences They returned home with shattered minds and shattered bodies to an impoverished ravaged civilian population that often regarded them as unpleasant reminders of a war they wanted to forget Many civilians were unable to believe that the soldiers suffered horrors far greater than what they had suffered Many veterans could not talk about their experiences because they were so unspeakable They were the victims but they were also the killers What had been done to them they had done to others as well There are a lot of reasons that the generation of men who entered their young adulthood during the war is called the lost generation The Great War seemed utterly senseless Countries slid unknowingly into a conflict they thought would end quickly They thought the conflict would follow the classical concept of warfare They were utterly wrong There was a strict disjunction between the romance of fighting for honor and pride and the nasty unbelievable wholesale butchery that actually happened Hundreds and thousands of men died to win a few yards of land only to lose it again in another battle Once the death toll neared unbelievable proportions the war continued because civilians and soldiers demanded some justification for the slaughter and the suffering The stalemate lasted over four
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