Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel that addresses the generation gap that existed between older and younger generations during World War I. The older generation, represented by Paul Baumer’s school teachers and other authority figures, was eager to enlist in the war effort and support their country.
The younger generation, including Paul Baumer and his friends, was much more hesitant about the war and did not want to fight. This generational divide is highlighted early in the novel when Paul Baumer’s class visits a cemetery and his teacher delivers a patriotic speech encouraging them to fight for their country. Paul Baumer and his friends are unimpressed by the speech and find it unrealistic.
This difference in perspective continues throughout the novel, with the older generation pushing the younger generation to fight while the younger generation resists. The generational gap is ultimately responsible for the deaths of many young soldiers, including Paul Baumer, who are unable to reconcile the differences between their elders and themselves.
A group of young German soldiers fighting to survive the horrors of World War One in Erich Remarque’s A Stillness Heard Round The World, by contrast, is a classic anti-war novel about the personal struggles and experiences encountered by a group of young German soldiers as they fight to survive the horrors of World War One.
Through the eyes of Paul Bumer, a young German soldier, Remarque illustrates how the war destroyed an entire generation of men by making them unable to reintegrate into society because they could no longer relate to older generations, only to fellow soldiers.
The generation gap, or the disconnect between generations, becomes very evident in the novel as Remarque illustrates how difficult it was for the young soldiers to communicate with those who had not experienced the horrors of war. The older generations were unable to understand what the young soldiers had been through and, as a result, the young soldiers felt alienated and alone. This significant gap in understanding led to immense frustration and isolation for the young soldiers and contributed to the development of a generation that was lost forever.
Paul felt that the older generation “should be mediators and guides to the future.” / The notion of command, which they personified, was linked in their minds to greater insight and a more humane wisdom in [their] minds. Paul, his classmates, and a vast number of their vulnerable generation completely trusted their so-called role models.
Erich Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, captures the attitudes and events of a generation gap during World War I. The novel follows the life of a young German soldier, Paul Baumer, as he goes from idealistic teenager to disillusioned veteran. In addition to the horrors of war, Paul and his classmates are forced to confront the hypocrisy of those they once believed in.
The older generation represents authority, stability, and wisdom; however, they are not immune to making mistakes. The characters in Remarque’s novel must come to terms with the fact that the people they once trusted were just as fallible as anyone else. The generation gap explored in All Quiet on the Western Front is emblematic of the conflict between youth and experience that can be found in any era. It is a conflict that is still relevant today.
The soldiers’ experience of seeing the dead caused them to realize that the notions of their era were more in line with reality than those of the previous generation, which created a divide between the two. “While [the older generation] continued to write and speak, [Paul’s generation] observed wounded and dying men. / While [the older generation] taught that service to one’s country is the greatest thing, Paul’s people already knew that death-throes are stronger.”
Erich Remarque accurately portrays the generation gap through the experiences of Paul Baumer and his comrades. Erich Remarque, born Erich Maria Remark on June 22, 1898, in Osnabruck, Westphalia, Germany was drafted into World War I in 1917 at the age of nineteen. He fought in the German army on the Western Front until he was wounded in 1918 and taken as a prisoner of war by the Americans. Released in 1919, he decided to become a writer and published All Quiet on the Western Front , based on his experiences as a soldier, that same year.
Paul’s generation, in particular, felt alienated and cut off from society outside of the battlefield as a result of this distinction. When Paul returns home on leave, he feels alienated from society. When he is reunited with his mother, they “say very little,” but when she asks if it was “very bad out there,” Paul tells a lie. In order to protect her by lying, Paul creates a division between himself and his mother. As Paul sees it, war’s tragedies and terrors are not for the faint-hearted. War sadly deepens the gap between the two generations even further.
Erich Remarque poignantly describes the generation gap in All Quiet on the Western Front when he writes: “We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We flee from ourselves, from our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world, and we had to shoot it to pieces.”
The First World War was a watershed moment for society as a whole. It was the first time that an entire generation of young people experienced such horrific events firsthand. Previous wars were fought by adults, who then returned to their families and lives after the fighting stopped. The horrors of trench warfare, however, were so great that an entire generation of young people was permanently changed. This change is most evident in the way that these young people related to their parents and other adults.
Previously, there had been a noticeable generation gap between parents and children, with each group typically following its own set of social norms. However, the war widened this gap to an unprecedented degree. This was due in part to the fact that young people were now exposed to things that their parents could not understand, such as death and violence. Additionally, the soldiers returned home with a different worldview, which often clashed with that of their parents. Erich Remarque captures this sentiment when he writes: “We no longer have fathers. We despise them.”
This generation gap was most pronounced in Germany, where Erich Remarque was from. The reason for this is that Germany was on the losing side of the war, and as a result, the country was in disarray. There was great social upheaval, and the traditional values that had been held up by society were crumbling. This created a vacuum that was filled by young people, who were looking for something new to believe in. They turned to their peers for guidance instead of adults, and this led to a dramatic shift in social norms.