English 10: Literary Journeys

All Quiet on the Western Front


We will be reading All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque for the next few weeks. It was written in 1928—first in a German magazine and then later in book form in 1929. The original title in German is Im Westen nichts Neues. Remarque himself was a German soldier in WWI and saw battle on the front lines. With this experience in warfare, Remarque wrote the novel as a message against war and all its horrors.

The novel was one of the books burned by Nazi Germany during WWII as it stood against the pro-German, nationalist’s perspective of the Third Reich. Arthur W. Wheen, an Australian soldier during WWI, loved the book so much that he translated the book to share with others. He also translated Remarque’s other books: Der Weg Zurück (The Road Back, 1931) and Drei Kameraden (Three Comrades, 1937). Movie versions were also made of the book, most notably the film made in 1930 which won the Academy Award for best picture.

Our Essential Questions for this unit are:

  • How do the forces of the majority influence the individual?
  • What does it mean to be human in times of extreme conflict and change?

Please keep these questions in mind as you read the novel. How does the novel attempt to answer these questions? Is it successful? And if not, what other perspectives does it attempt to show?


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This article was written on 21 Jan 2013, and is filled under Enrichment Reading, In Class.

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