Understanding All Quiet on the Western Front

This Web page has been designed to assist students to:

  • Explore the war boom of the early 20th century.
  • Develop perspective on war literature.
  • Deepen appreciation for the effects of the brutality on the World War I soldiers who fought, died, and lived through its battles.

For ease of study, topics have been divided into 4 categories

  1. Erich Maria Remarque
  2. The World before All Quiet on the Western Front
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front: (i) Overview (ii) Themes in Focus
    1. Overview
    2. Themes in focus

Note: Some of these categories will naturally overlap.

Erich Maria Remarque (1898 - 1970)

As Germany’s most widely read author of the 20th century, Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front altered the way people thought about soldiers returning home from war and unleashed a fierce debate on the war experience.

Erich Maria Remarque Biographical information is coupled with links for further historical details about major world events.

Erich Maria Remarque Biographical essay which includes a bibliography for further reading and selected works from Remarque’s writing and the films based on his books.

Erich Maria Remarque Slideshow biographical essay by Thomas Thorton (12 slides) which highlight Remarque’s transition from a young soldier eager to be on the battlefield to a weary veteran dismayed with the lack of respect from his countrymen for his and his fellow soldiers’ sacrifice in the war.

Eric Maria Remarque Photo slideshow of Remarque’s childhood, young adult and married life.

Erich Maria Remarque Wikipedia essay about Remarque’s life and writing career.

A Different German Short biographical information from the Peace Center Osnabrück with a focus on Remarque as a representing a “different Germany” and critically examining German experiences.

Timeline Short biography by date from the Peace Center Osnabrück.

The World before All Quiet on the Western Front

Although All Quiet on the Western Front is not a book about specific war events, it is a book which must be read with an understanding of World War I from which the story emerges.

Remembrance Day  A 2011 photographical essay showing before and after pictures of European landscapes and how radically it was altered by the war. The photograph of the grave of French soldier Edouard Ivaldi is particularly poignant.

World War I A multimedia site dedicated to WWI. It includes a summary of how the war began, telegrams between world leaders, and how the Allies and the Central Powers used observation balloons.

World War I  Wikipedia essay on the origins and events of World War I.

World War I YouTube video (6:34) summarizing the major battles of World War I using maps and narration.

World War I Battlefield maps of the Western Front explaining the location and movement of the troops.

The Western Front Wikipedia essay about the significance of the Western Front in World War I.

The Western Front A comprehensive website created by the Western Front Association which includes articles, photographs, and videos about The Great War and specifically about the Western Front.

The Western Front An essay and photographs about trench life at the Western Front during World War I.

All Quiet on the Western Front Overview

All Quiet on the Western Front A lesson plan for teaching All Quiet on the Western Front with thought-provoking open ended questions towards the bottom of the document as well as information and background about the term “total war” and how it applies to World War I.

All Quiet on the Western Front Free full text of All Quiet on the Western Front.

All Quiet on the Western Front Wikipedia summary of All Quiet on the Western Front with links to author page and World War I information.

All Quiet on the Western Front Book review and summary of All Quiet on the Western Front.

All Quiet on the Western Front An overview article about the effect of All Quiet on the Western Front as being one of the first anti-war books published after The Great War.

All Quiet on the Western Front Plot overview of the All Quiet on the Western Front.

 

Theme in Focus: the Effects of War

It has been written that All Quiet on the Western Front was not a book about the events of World War I or a memoir, but “an angry postwar statement about the effects of the war on the young generation which lived through it.”

The Folly of War A short article about the effects of war and the anti-war message in All Quiet on the Western Front.

The Fate of a War From the Journal of Contemporary History, Modris Eksteins writes about the “conspiracy of silence” immediately following WWI and then the “war boom” which took off with the publication of All Quiet on the Western Front.

The Effects of War An essay focused on how WWI soldiers grew indifferent to death and brutality and felt a sense of futility after the war ended.

 

Theme in Focus: Veterans in Post-War Life

WWI soldiers were not expected to wallow in tragedy or discuss what happened to them during the war, but instead to build a better future and pretend as if the war never happened. It is this wall of silence which Erich Maria Remarque pierced with All Quiet on the Western Front.

What is owed to Veterans? A series of short articles about the movie All Quiet on the Western Front which includes information about the difficulty soldiers faced when returning to civilian life.

Post-War Life  A blog review which explores the book and movie and how veterans are treated after WWI.

Post-War Life  An academic article about the contributions of All Quiet on the Western Front to our understanding of psychological trauma.