All Quiet on the Western Front


Erich Maria Remarque

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on All Quiet on the Western... makes teaching easy.

All Quiet on the Western Front Themes

Themes and Colors
The Horror of Modern War Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
Comradeship Theme Icon
The Hypocrisy of the Older Generation Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in All Quiet on the Western Front, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Horror of Modern War

World War I is considered the first modern war, as it was the first conflict in which weapons like poison gas, armored tanks, and shell bombardments were used widely by both sides. Much of the land conflict in WWI was fought in networks of trenches dug throughout Europe, including the infamous “Western Front” in Belgium and France. Set in the final years of the war, the novel All Quiet on the Western Front is famous…

read analysis of The Horror of Modern War


Many of the young soldiers, including Paul, joined the army because they were motivated by romantic ideals like patriotism and honor. On the front, however, they quickly learn that patriotic fervor will not protect them from exploding shells or poison gas. In the trenches, there is only one goal: survival at any cost. Soldiers must be prepared to act unthinkingly in battle, no matter how horrifying these actions might have once seemed. The men…

read analysis of Survival

The Lost Generation

Though Paul often dreams about his life before the war, he knows that he can never return to it. The war has destroyed an entire generation of young men, leaving them “lost”—physically and psychologically maimed and unable to readjust to their past lives. Even if they manage to survive the trenches, the things they have seen and done there have permanently transformed them. Paul experiences the jarring effects of this transformation most clearly when he…

read analysis of The Lost Generation
Get the entire All Quiet on the Western... LitChart as a printable PDF.
All Quiet on the Western Front PDF


For Paul, the one positive aspect of the war experience is that it forges extraordinarily strong bonds between soldiers. The men of the Second Company are comrades-in-arms, closer than family or even lovers. They have seen unspeakable horrors and endured unimaginable suffering together, experiences they will never be able to share with those who did not fight. The war creates sharp distinctions between soldiers and civilians, but it erases other distinctions. Class divisions, for…

read analysis of Comradeship

The Hypocrisy of the Older Generation

When war broke out in 1914, many Germans viewed the conflict as an opportunity for Germany to prove her superior military strength. Young men were expected to support the national cause by signing up for active duty. These soldiers were volunteers in theory only, Paul says. The reality was that most had no say in the matter. Under immense pressure from parents, teachers, and politicians, young men had to enlist or risk being accused of…

read analysis of The Hypocrisy of the Older Generation