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Word Count: 1,515
In his novel All Quiet On The Western Front- first published in German as Im Westen nichts Neues in January 1929 - German Author Erich Maria Remarque purposefully destroys the nationalistic ideas readers at the time would have had about the war He claims in his epigraph - This book is intended neither as an accusation nor as a confession but simply as an attempt to give an account of a generation that was destroyed by the war - even those who survived the shelling He presents the brutality of the First World War in which he took part through vivid descriptions of trench warfare and the changes it makes to the minds of the group of young German soldiers he concentrates on The novel centres around the experiences of narrator Paul B and his company as one by one they lose the lives which were already ruined by war Most of Germanys youth were pushed into war by nationalistic elders In the novel this theme is shown through Pauls teacher Kantorek As schoolboys Paul and his friends were under the impression that Kantorek was a knowledgeable man whose authority was derived from his wisdom As soldiers they quickly learn to see through Kantoreks nationalistic rhetoric and soon grow to despise him The fact that Kantorek is eventually drafted and makes a terrible soldier reflects the uselessness of the ideals that he preaches There were thousands of Kantoreks all of them convinced that they were acting for the best in the way that was most comfortable for themselves But as far as Im concerned that was the very root of moral bankruptcy They were supposed to be the ones who would help us but the first dead man I saw shattered this conviction The first time we are introduced to Pauls company they go on a harrowing mission to lay barbed wire at the front Pounded by artillery they hide in a graveyard
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