The adversities of World War I are shown in the novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque. He expresses the fights and difficulties that a World War I soldier had to undergo to keep his sanity and to stay alive. There were several characteristics to the difficulties the soldiers had to face in the line of duty. First, there was the indignation of emotions felt by the soldiers from what they were told in the beginning about war to the actual reality of it. Another aspect that made the war traumatic for the soldiers was the horrid battle conditions in which they had to fight in. Lastly and the most wretched aspect was the despair the soldiers had to endure when they saw friends and fellow members of their company being executed on the front line. World War I had emotions, horrid battle conditions and many horrendous deaths.
There was an abundant amount of emotions throughout the war, from the beginning to the end. In the beginning they felt proud and patriotic they would be fighting in honor of their country, as they were told and encouraged by their older generation. As Paul Baumer stated “For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity, the world of work, of duty, of culture, of progress-to the future. We often made fun of them and played jokes on them, but in our hearts we trusted them. The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognize that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs. They surpassed us only in phrases and in cleverness. The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces”(12-13). This was Paul’s as well as the other young men’s first discovery that they were basically tricked into joining the military. The older generation led the younger generation to believe that it was their “duty” to join. Their feelings of being proud and patriotic quickly changed to fear and despair as well as the loss of their sense of humanity. These emotions caused a great deal of misery along with the aspect that brought misery was the horrid battle conditions.
The soldiers battle conditions on the front was hell. When they would go on nightly missions they would get pounded by artillery that would force them to hide in trenches. Which were swamp like and filled with buried corpses, human feces and was lice infested. Upon returning from days of being stuck in the trenches, some would return with the loss of their sanity. The trenches were hard to tolerate for any soldier on the front line, but a very wretchedly aspect of World War I was the loss of soldiers friends and fellow company members in battle on the front lines.
Lastly and the most dreadful aspect of World War I was the many deaths that was afflicted by the sides of war. Death in the line of duty was gruesome. It would range from artillery, poison gases and blowing one another into pieces. Battle was extreme brutal violence and bloody deaths. Soldiers would walk around and see bodies of the deceased so of which were friends and have to endure the feelings of heartache. Also the deceased would become filthy and become infested with maggots creating unhealthy conditions for the living soldiers. Death was treated with impersonal efficiency within the war. This shows how wretchedly the deaths were in World War I.
The war was filled with indignation of emotions, horrid battle conditions and horrendous deaths. This sums up in my opinion of how the war was depicted to soldiers fighting in the fronts of World War I. Paul Baumer along with the other young men that enlisted to serve in the military we under the assumption that they would be risking their lives for patriotism and honor, except they were unaware of the brutality and death that they had to face in the horror of war.