All Quiet On The Western Front (1266 words) Essay

All Quiet on the Western FrontAll Quiet
on the Western Front
Nationalism can be defined as having a
sense of belonging and loyalty to ones country or nation state. Of all
the European nations, France was the first to sport the idea of nationalism.

Many countries became influenced by the French’s ideas of nationalism.

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As a result nationalism had spread throughout out Europe by the nineteenth
and twentieth century. One result that nationalism had on Europe was, the
wanting of unification. The people of nation states wanted their country
to belong to. This wanting lea d to the unifying of Italy and Germany.

Soon nationalism had increased the people’s confidence, and a feeling of
imperialism ran through the unified countries. Unified countries such as
France, Germany, Russia wanted to extend their empires. But this Imperialism
in Europe led to many conflicts between countries. All this Conflict eventually
resulted in the beginning of World War I The causes of World War I were
the intense nationalism that dominated Europe throughout the 19th and into
the 20th century, and the establishment of large armies in Europe after
1871. Imperialism created a rivalry between nations and empires. The build
up of armies and navies created fear between nations. France feared Germany,
Germany feared Russia, Austria-Hungary and Russia rivalled around Balkans,
Britain feared German’s expanding navy, Slovakia wanted to free Slavian
land from Astria-Hungary’s oppression. Italy was jealous of French and
English colonies in Africa. Ottoman Empire struggled to survive in a hostile
climate. Germany signed a secret alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy,
thus creating a Triple Alliance. France and Russia signed an Entente agreement
which was later signed by Britain, thus creating Triple Entante. Then Europe
was divided into hostile camps. During this time nationalism had caused
a glorified view of the war. These views showed how inexperienced the people
of Europe were in warfare. In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on
the Western Front, we can see that even though this glorious view contradicted
the Germans soldiers’ expectations, they still stayed loyal.

In the Beginning of the novel we read that
Paul Baumer and his classmates had volunteered to enlist in the war. But
they were forced in to volunteering. Their school master Kantorek had filled
their heads up with views of nationalism which glorified the war. Some
students were even under the pressure of their parents to enlist. Not enlisting
would be like turning your back on your country. To the teachers and school
masters, going to war was the best thing a man could do for his country.

When Baumer and his friends get to boot camp, they find out all is not
what they expected it to be. In boot camp Baumer and his classmates are
taught to be soldiers. They Find out that everything that was learned in
school, has no meaning in the war. It was also in the front line, were
Baumer and his friends see the contradictions made by the people at home.

Paul and his comrades all experienced the true horror of the war in the
front. Each one of the classmates and German soldiers experienced death
of other soldiers, the agony of the wounded. Baumer’s group also faced
hunger, fear, the destructiveness of the new war technology. These technologies
included the use of machine guns, gas, flamethrowers, bombing planes, and
the tanks used by the British. Despite al l these contradictions Baumer’s
group and the German soldiers seen, they stilled continued to stay loyal
to the war. One reason why the German soldiers continued to fight in the
war was the training they received. In All Quiet on the Western Front,
Baumer and his group had one of the strictness drill instructors, Corporal
Himmelstoss. Despite what seemed like abuse, Himmelstoss’ training actually
benefited the soldiers. Himmelstoss training, made the soldiers bitter,
and their senses were sharpened. They soldiers needed to be bitter, and
more sharp, it they were to survive the war. The will to survive is another
reason why the German soldiers kept fighting. During a counter attack,
Baumer explains that the soldiers undergo transformation. Baumer says that
they become wild beasts in the field. Baumers says that their objective
is to fight, but to defend themselves against annihilation. The solders
also feel an anger from within, which allows them to kill, and to then
save them selves. Paul also goes on to say that when they are in this rage,
they kill. If the soldiers don’t k ill, their enemies will kill them. The
German soldiers have no choice; you either kill or be killed by you foe.

Comradeship is another reason the Germans soldiers keep fighting. In the
story, Baumer’s group is made up of a variety of people. There is a peasant,
farmer, locksmith, peatdigger, and students. In the war these diverse people,
who would not normally meet in civilian life, are struggling to keep their
country together. Also near the end of the story, two flamethrowers are
getting closer to Baumer and his companions. One of the junior officers
then gets up and shoots the flamethrowers. In the process, the junior officer
gets killed. This act shows how close the comradeship was in the German

Another reason why the German soldiers
kept fighting was that was all they knew what to do. In the story, Paul
Baumer tells us that all the older soldiers are stilled linked to their
present lives. These older soldiers have wives, children, jobs and interests
to come back to. According to Baumer, all the younger soldiers have to
come back to is their parents and maybe a girlfriend. The young soldiers
have no jobs and no idea on what life beyond the war will be like for them.

All the young soldiers know how to do is fight in the war. And that is
what they do till they are injured, or killed. This war has totally ruined
the lives of Baumer, his friends, and all the young German soldiers who
fought in this war.

The fact that the German soldiers are forced
to fight this war is anther reason they continue to stay loyal to the war
cause. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Baumer and his group had a discussion
on why is there war, who started the war, and why must they be there. During
this discussion we find out that none of them actually wants to be at war.

If they had the chance would leave the war to go home. Baumer’s group concluded
that the cause of the war is because of some general or ruler wanting to
gain fame. They are stuck fighting for this cause none of them wants to
fight for.

The most important reason why the German
soldiers stayed loyal to the war was the bit of nationalism still left
inside of them. The fact alone that they were continuing war that they
couldn’t win, was a sign of the loyalty to their country. Throughout t
he entire novel, there was not one indication of mutiny. The German soldiers
kept fighting and never turned their back on the war or their country.

Even in the end of the novel, Baumer shows his nationalism. Near the end
Baumer tells us that the German soldiers are not beaten, because they are
better and more experience than the other soldiers. It was just they were
driven back by overwhelming superior forces. This statement by Paul showed
that the German soldiers sill nationalism, despite the contradict ions
made by their people at home.

In conclusion, because of the strong feelings
of nationalism in Europe, many conflicts broke out between the countries
and empires of Europe. The results of these conflicts eventually lead to
World War I. During the war, the people’s view of nationalism of ten contradicted
what the soldiers had to face in the war. These views showed how inexperienced
the people were in modern warfare. In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All
Quiet on the Western Front, we can see despite all these contradicting
views, that the German soldiers continued to fight a war they could not


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