All quiet on the western front is a very realistic, fiction (but based on true story) novel about a soldier’s experience fighting on the war front. It used complex language, yet it felt simple to read and understand. Although it is the German’s perspective, I’m sure most soldiers would have a similar experience regardless of what country they were fighting for. With the war going on in Ukraine at the moment, I’m glad I got to read this book to get a glimpse of what some men(and some women) are currently experiencing so that I can empathize and understand more about what is going on.
On page 99, it talks about how they have to go back to the front earlier than expected, and they weren’t expecting to have to leave so soon. Then I compared it to how many of the soldiers in Ukraine, and even some from Russia, were not expecting to be fighting in a war this year. No one did until the rumors started that Russia would attack. There are many young soldiers in “All Quiet” who were just graduated, or in their 20’s, as well as many “older” men who had to leave their life, school, jobs, and families behind. This is a lot like what many dads, and some brothers and grandpa’s are doing in Ukraine; as many of their families leave and go to safety they have to stay and fight a very dangerous, tiring, and deadly, never-ending battle.
Then in chapter nine it talks about how Paul directly killed someone for the first time. It continues to talk about how this makes Paul feel guilty and start to question why there’s even a war and why he’s killing a man, just like him. And later on in the chapter it mentions that Paul, and his other friends were saying how its only beneficial to the “higher ups” who want to fight for power and land. Otherwise, it’s just an excuse for bunch of people, killing people just like one another. After reading that I reflected on how that’s how many soldiers from Russia must be feeling too. They are forced to do something they don’t want to do; destroy other people’s lives when they are no different than themselves and it’s all because their “leader” wants more power. Which when you think about it, is really unfortunate, that someone they are supposed to see as a role model, is choosing war over kindness.
In conclusion, this novel was truly an amazing read; it was challenging yet understandable; eye opening but not completely disturbing; and most of all informational. It made me very thankful for what I have and where I’m from, and I will not take that, for granted.