Let’s pretend this was on time…

While both of the texts and the film are about WW1 they all show it in a very different light, each showing the perspective of a German, in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, an American, in Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway, and multiple Brits in They Shall Not Grow Old directed by Peter Jackson. One of the major differences between the works is how each nationality reacts to the end of the war. For the Americans, the end of the war was a cause for celebration, with a “greeting of heroes” and “a great
deal of hysteria” about the fact that the drafted troops were back, one can assume that it was quite similar for the Germans, who were mostly drafted, troops. On the other hand, the English troops were not welcomed back with fanfare and feasts, but rather with a new suit and a silent agreement to not talk about the war, even in the trenches on the 11th of October there was no celebration, just an acceptance of the fact that the Great War was over. While there are large differences between the texts and the film, one thing they all agreed on was that the war was rather useless and just a waste of human life, with Paul Bäumer saying, “A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends.” Paul does not call war a waste directly in this instance, but if just a few words can change enemies to friends what other way is there to describe it?

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