Journal At the end of the first chapter, Paul says, “Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk’ (Remarque 16).” What does Paul mean by this? In what ways might you consider yourself ‘old?’”
Journal When you hear or think about the word “WAR,” what kinds of things come to mind? If you are having trouble writing, talk about this poster:
All Quiet on the Western Front By Erich Maria Remarque
Erich Maria Remarque • Born in 1898 • Served in World War One • Fought on the side of the Germans • Sustained injuries and spent time in the hospital • His German citizenship was revoked in 1938 as a result of his “anti-war” novel. • Died in 1970
All Quiet on the Western Front • The novel is fictional, but it is based upon Remarque’s personal experiences during the war. • It was first published in 1929. More than one million copies were sold, and it was translated into twenty-three languages. • The Nazis banned and burned All Quiet on the Western Front in 1933 because it was considered an anti-war novel.
World War One • Lasted from 1914-1918 • The “war to end all wars” • Allies: United States (joined in 1917), Britain, France, and Russia • Axis Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey • Total Number Killed: 8.5 – 10 million
The Western Front ran approximately 300 miles across the face of Western Europe, from Belgium to Switzerland. • The front consisted of opposing trenches, sometimes only yards apart. The trench warfare of World War I lasted for three years and took several million lives. • The Battle of the Somme, an attack by the Allies trying to break through the German lines, took more than four months. The allies gained only six miles. British and French casualties were 95,675 Britons killed and 60,729 Frenchmen killed. The defense cost the Germans 164,055 soldiers killed.
The trenches were muddy and often flooded with water. The bodies of dead and wounded men and animals fouled them. • Corpses lay in the “no man's land” between the trenches. Enemy snipers, rats, lice, and stench from the decaying bodies contributed to the misery of the trenches. • Toward the end of the war the German soldiers had little food.
Passchendaele, Belgium, 1917 Before and After
An attack was preceded by bombardments, some lasting for days. • In order to mount an attack, soldiers carrying rifles and packs had to go "over the top” of the trenches. • Once in the no man's land, they faced barbed wire entanglements, machine guns, bombardment (often by their own misdirected guns), grenades, poison gas, and fire from the opposing trenches.
For many historical scholars, WWI is interesting to study because it a moment in military technology when fire power doesn’t match with mobility. • At the beginning of the twentieth century, automatic weapons and new modes of transportation were combining with traditional military routine. • This, on top of the rural locations where many soldiers fought, lead to a dangerous and difficult life on the front.
The Western Front was in stalemate until the United States entered the war. • Fresh troops, along with abundant hardware and supplies, tipped the scales decisively in favor of the Allies. • An armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 and the Treaty of Versailles was imposed on Germany in June 1919. • The conflict was one of the bloodiest in history; ten million soldiers were killed along with an estimated ten million civilians.