Erich Maria Remarque’s Anti-war Novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

Jenny Farrell

People’s World | September 21, 2020

Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

Universal Pictures lobby card for the 1930 American film ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (public domain)

World War I was termed the war that would end all wars, so great was the horror of this new, diabolical stage of industrial annihilation. We know today that without seriously addressing the causes of war, the greed for new markets and spheres of power, wars will continue, no matter what. However, WWI gave birth to an anti-war literature hitherto unknown.

Mainstream cultural life in the 21st century largely ignores wars, nor has it embraced its 20th-century anti-war cultural heritage. Yet anybody who reads the novels and poetry, listens to the music, watches the plays, looks at the paintings, or hears the songs of those who lived through the horrors of WWI and WWII cannot fail to be profoundly shocked and motivated to truly put an end to war. Perhaps that is why they are as good as absent from mainstream culture.Read More »