All Quiet on the Western Front, one of the most influential novels ever published, depicts the horrific events of World War I. Written around 1929, the author Erich Maria Remarque himself participated in the war therefore enabling him to provide the realistic details to accomplishing his successful book. The story is based on the narration of a German soldier, Paul Baume, who presents the reader with graphic and visual scenes of the actual war. Through illustrating the cruelty and brutality of war, Remarque succeeds in delineating an accurate portrayal of World War I and producing an extremely anti-nationalistic novel, infuriating the Nazis tremendously.
Throughout the book, Remarque aims at showing the unprecedented atrocity and bloodshed of World War I. Whereas war novels in the past presented war as glorifying, romantic and honorable, All Quiet on the Western Front depicts the harsh realities of war with the massive slaughtering and bloodbath of men. In one case, a recruit still alive, laid on the ground with his hip in "one mass of mince-meat and bone splinters (71)," proving war's callousness. Therefore, Paul's debating whether to just take a revolver and end the poor man's misery also demonstrates the ruthlessness of war. Remarque depicts other gruesome scenes including men with noses cut off, their eyes poked out, and mouths and noses "stuffed with sawdust so that they suffocated (103)." Moreover, soldiers living without faces, with their skulls blown open, bulging intestines, and running with their two feet cut off were typical scenes of the battleground. According to Remarque, the "hospital alone show[ed] what war [was] (263)" all about, further depicting the harsh realities associated with trench warfare. Typical wounded patients exhibited "shattered limbs hanging free in the air (263)," intestine wounds full of excreta, and smashed hipbones, knees, and shoulders….