All Quiet On The Western Front Patriotism Analysis

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What is Patriotism? Patriotism is the love of one's country over all things. None of the young soldiers in All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Remarque, are painted as patriots. Instead they are instruments of elected or appointed politicians who use their own stilted sense of patriotism to encourage young men to then give their lives to defend the country. In this setting, acts of patriotic heroism are thus made pathetic because they are made for no positive outcome. Remarque’s use of superficiality throughout the novel portrays the confrontation Paul Balmer faces when his patriotism is tested by the cold realities of war.
Paul is faced with the realities of war after a long day on the front line, the life of soldiers in the Great War is a constant avoidance of death. He notes, “Kemmerich is dead, Haie Westhus is dying… Meyer is dead, Max is dead… there are a hundred and twenty wounded men lying somewhere or other” (Remarque 62-63). The dead soldiers symbolize the heartbreak and tribulation the soldiers go through everyday and show how the political officials do not publicize that side of war. Baumer and the others do not forget “the
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Paul notes the politicians “taught that duty to one's country is the greatest thing”,although, the soldiers “saw the wounded and dying” (Remarque 6). It was the young men who give of themselves to war for ideals of patriotism espoused by people who did not actively fight. “We love our country as much as they… but also we distinguished the false from true” (Remarque 6). He chides his former teacher Kantorek for painting a false picture of the war as an honorable way of defending the fatherland. This shows how Remarque and the soldiers tear this ideal of “Iron Youth” apart, feeling it to be useless and empty when compared with the realities of war. (Remarque

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