All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel written by Enrich Maria Remarque and was published in 1928. The book describes the physical and mental stress the German soldiers went through at the time of war, and the feeling of detachment they felt from the civilian life. It captures all of the existential terror faced by the men who fought in the great war.
The novel revolves around the views of Paul Baumer, a young German soldier that fights against the French army in WW1. Their trench experience involves the terror of shellfire, diseases, and death. In chapter 9, the German soldiers were discussing how wars exactly benefit them.
“I think it is more of a kind of fever,” says Albert. “No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing- and yet half the world is in it all the same.” (9.206)
In this quotation, Albert is using fever as a symbol to explain how war is contagious and spreads without anyone actually wanting it. It also tells us how Albert believes that war is spreading like a disease and killing everything in its path. Wars usually start by one country badly offending the other. The effects of war are devastating and can have physical and psychological effects for a lifetime.
This scene is significantly important to me because the citizens and the government of a particular country must try and maintain peace throughout their land. Wars are capable of destroying cities and having long-lasting effects on a country’s economy, public health, social order, etc.