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All Quiet On The Western Front/Wwi Essay

1073 words - 5 pages

In regards to war, Gandhi once commented, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary, the evil it does is permanent.” In other words, violence masks its potential impairment by seeming innocuous at first; however, the true damage, often permanent, can be seen chronically. The idea reflected by Gandhi’s quote can be proven through an examination of World War I and Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. Although soldiers and governments in both worlds initially saw honor and security of their countries as valid reasons for going to war, what ultimately came of that conflict were both immediate consequences, such as loss of innocence and development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (often referred to as PTSD) among young soldiers, as well as permanent, long-term consequences, like the hatred the war had spurred in Germans which ultimately ensued to Hitler’s rise to power.
Soldiers and their countries believe there were important reasons to fight in World War I because they aspired glorification and feared oppression from other countries, which lead to formation of alliances. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul, the narrator of the novel, and his classmates willingly volunteer in the war war because Kantorek, an authoritarian schoolmaster, established false beliefs in their minds. Kantorek patronizes the war and in a way, he views the war as an opportunity to immortalize himself in history. He strives to become a venerable leader who will lead young men to victory and his country to greatness. He refers the novice soldiers, especially Paul and his classmates, “... [as] the Iron Youth” (Remarque) to epidemically indoctrinate his alter ego upon them. The “iron” symbolizes tenacity and “youth” alludes to indefatigability. With Kantorek’s succession in altering the soldiers’ identities by attributing them false characteristics, the young soldiers blindly venture into the labyrinth of World War I. Furthermore, soldiers and their countries were pressured into the war. Before the Great War erupted, tensions between conflicting countries intensified as powerful countries such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy formed a formidable alliance called the Triple Alliance. Germany had been boasting about its superior navy and army to the rest of the world. Countries such as England, France, and Russia became insecure because Triple Alliance against a single country would be an instant obliteration. Fearing a possible world domination by the Triple Alliance, England, France, and Russia formed the Triple Entente, a powerful alliance which proved formidable against the Triple Alliance. Since the creation of two powerhouse alliances, the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, the war became black and white - the remaining countries were part of the central power (Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary) or the Allies (England, France, and Russia). This black and white segregation eventuated into the...

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