As part of our War and Remembrance collaboration with Wessex Scene, this is the fourth in a series of Nostalgic News pieces looking at music, TV shows, films and literature that are celebrating big anniversaries this year. Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front was first published on 29th January 1929.
“A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France […] Then I haven’t any business here at all…”
Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front seems to be the butterfly that we left on the shelf of secondary school history. Following the story of seven schoolmates who enlist in the German war effort with the encouragement of their teacher, we see the central character, Paul Bäumer, suffer the true consequences of war, shedding the enthusiastic boyhood that lured him into the grim reality of World War 1.
Remarque not only conveys the simultaneous brutality and futility of war, but also the devastating effects of losing loved ones, body parts, and innocence, commemorating a generation that ‘has been destroyed by war, even though it might have escaped its shells’, as he stated in an interview. Let us remember the side of war that we often do not see or endure, that Remarque describes to us with harsh but poetic frankness.
Watch the trailer for the 1930 film adaptation below: