March 20, 2001
The Movie All Quiet on the Western Front occurs during the two years just before the Armistice ended World War I in November 1918. By 1916 when the story begins, World War I had already been underway for two years. From the beginning, World War I was fought in two areas, named for their geographical relationship to Germany. The Eastern Front extended into Russia, and the Western Front extended through Belgium into Northern France. The main character is a young man named Paul Baumer who is a 19 year-old private in the German army. The movie follows Paul trough the horrors of World War I. Paul joins the army after a recruiter named Kantorek pumps him and his friends full of glory and honour. Glory and honour they can get by joining up. Paul is excited that he is going off to war.
Once he arrives at the front he begins to understand the terrible thing called war. He realizes that war isnt all glory; there is death and destruction. Paul learns to deal with the deaths of all his friends and how to keep his mind clear without turning into an animal. One of the big issues in the book was Kemmerichs leather boots. At his death everybody was squabbling over who would get them. Remarque, in my opinion, shows you the pettiness between good friends because of war. Remarque kind of slips in these themes, some others are how terrible war really is, friendship is a must to stay alive on the battlefield, and World War I destroyed a generation.
During the time period of All Quiet on the Western Front the Russian were rebelling against Czar Nicholas II. Eventually him and his entire family were killed, and so began communist Russia. Also during this time European countries were colonizing Asia and Africa, which was one of the causes of World War I. If there was one thing that I learned from this book it is that war is not pretty. Despite what the recruiters and military personnel say, if there is a war you can die. Most Movies glorify battles and the deaths of the enemy, but All Quiet does the exact opposite. For example, when Paul mortally wounds Duval in a ditch he spends the night watching him die and begging his forgiveness, thats the reality of war.
Personally, I thought it was a good, realistic Movie that showed courageous young men defending their country at all costs. It showed the reality of war and death. With Remarques descriptions you could see the trenches and the men huddled inside in the worst possible conditions. Grown men were crying for their families and wanting to go home. The German soldiers had great hopes before the schlieffen plan failed. After that you could feel the mens pain just from watching the movie.