“We live in the trenches out there. We fight. We try not to be killed, but sometimes we are. That’s all. ” Paul Baumer, the main protagonist of the movie, “All Quiet on the Western Front. ” Existence on this earth has turned out to be one of the worst decisions that human kind has ever grasped on. We take a glimpse of the world around us and see nothing but hatred, detestation and greed surrounding our human lives. The main factor for revulsion to be brought up is the power that leaders want to take hold of today and so they create a diversion, such as an example like the World War I and in this case, the rivalry between Germany and France.
However, war isn’t about a battle being won through force or cupidity, to regain a land such as Alsace and Lorraine; but fighting for your country with your own right and having the respect being returned back to you with honor. The feelings of each individual that were involved in a war in explanatory but the stories should be shared with you and me. We as individuals have to make a global change to spread the message about our feelings about the name known as ‘war. ‘ Through this reflection, I wish to conduct and show you how the world reacts to war; how I and the others around me become aware of this blooming situation.
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Watching “All Quiet on the Western Front,” felt like a sword gushing into your body as when you eye the pain humans went through, you ask yourself WHY? War is a ‘kind of material’ that should not be used for forestage of power but instead to associate countries together to establish peace. We may not have been involved in the WWI but the words that popped into my mind were the feelings of being depressed, hated, confused, shocked and most of all bankrupted of confidence by my own country.
War is a shameful factor that should be abolished immediately because innocent lives have been killed for no reason at all. Katczinsky quotes, “Mother of God, you take away lives. You take away our hope. Bring us back some light…” The officer named Katczinsky spoke his words while the French blazed their bombs from above. They crouched down to safety while his fellow men died and the staunched horses were killed. “When do they stop? ” Paul asked while his officer tried to console him by patting him on the back and staring out into the wilderness because he didn’t know the answer to the question.
The exuberance of youth on their faces, the daydreams of what they envisioned to be, and the assured attitudes they own will eventually betray them and deposit them into the inferno of hell that only knows two things on the battlefield — life and death. The smiles and thoughts of glory will be erased from their faces at the first fatality they witness and, even then, they will deny it exists at all. Like cold, hard punches to the face, death will not be denied. “Paul, you keep him safe, you keep him away from the French.
You promised me! ” Words from a mother who ultimately lost her son waved goodbye as the young soldiers boarded the train at 8:00 in the morning. Tears filled her eyes and question filled her mind. Why would her son want to be involved in such a battle? Young men from the age of 18 and above join the military as they believe that they could make a change for their own country; but on the other hand the conservative claim that most youth enlist due to patriotism and the desire to “serve one’s country” may be misleading.
A good number of the soldiers may have been persuaded and convinced by the brutal propaganda posters, from peer pressure from their parents to ‘keep’ their name; or even earn a living to then send back to their family. Whatever the reason may be, their lives changed forever when they started to live in the environment of war. “We’ve been in the front for a year. We know this place well. We duck when the bomb explodes and we run toward our enemies. But the place we live our surrounded by rats who eat our rotten bread. They have evil faces, which bring us sadness.
Our food is what we find on the road; whether it is unguarded geese to starvation for weeks. Our training is severe to doing marches, to holding the gun, to going on patrols while the enemy planes are above us. Our trenches are deep and at regular intervals along the trench a firing step would be positioned so that the soldiers could stand on it to see over the top of the trench and fire a weapon into “no-man’s land”. Some would ‘go over the top’ and sacrifice their life because the trenches were regularly flooded, and we sleep in such inhospitable conditions.
Corpses of colleagues once living, scattered around the trench, would pass on diseases as well as bring parasites such as lice, maggots, fleas etc. But even though our life is in ruins, it is better to take your chances in the open than stay barricaded inside. If you’re blown up, you’re blown up. But, its better to die than be like inexperienced new recruits who get amputated legs, shot, and are thrown in a ditch. ” A young soldier wrote this extract in his diary hoping that one day it would reach his family. He talked nothing but torture about how the way war life was treating him. The dead were unburied as the shells covered hem; the honor they were suppose to receive was all talk; the cigars they had all ran out; and most of all, the feeling of returning home never left a soldiers mind. Catholic hospitals were filled with men with amputated legs, lost hands and even sicknesses that were obtained from the war trenches. While the cross lay above them, another bunch of solders were left on the railway tracks, as there was no space to withhold them. What kind of treatment is this? When people are fighting for your country, you must have the right to give them opportunities to live a life of integrity and decency.
Leaving soldiers to bathe in rivers, flirt with French ladies and take decisions for themselves doesn’t show a disciplined country. But literally speaking was any country disciplined at that time? Germany being a new power and already stolen lands has a better opportunity to win this battle. They had a growing military, a more equipped mind in technology (battling with Britain); but did they have unity within soldiers? From heaven to hell, the right answer is YES, they did. “We are brothers. We came from the same father. We feel the same pain, the same.
We are all going to die at some point, all of us. I will write to your family (glances at pictures); I will explain your heroism. I wish this was different…I have killed the printer. ” When Paul held his enemy brother in his hands in the ditch, he felt the blood tinkling down his fingertips. This was a gold medal for him in his war career, but he ain’t feeling the triumph. This particular scene may be the most dramatic episodes but it is my favorite. Why? It shows that no matter what race you are, what blood you have, what country you may be from, humans are humans and they feel for each other.
When Paul stabbed the German solider, the realization of murder hit him like the feeling of a bomb. While the fire exploded inside him, he knew he couldn’t turn back time but he still wanted to help. He stayed with him all night, watching him die a painful death; and to me, that’s love…that’s support. Yes, we can support the soldiers within our army; we go to the hospitals to check them, we make them feel better! During the war, we carry them on our backs if they’re wounded; we shed a tear for them when they’re gone. But, supporting an outsider and holding his blood for many hours is the support we need in this world.
Paul finally realized at that moment that this war is just outrageous. He realized that he just destroyed a family, that the father is not coming anymore cause he killed him; and so he pondered and returned home. When my brother leaves to return back to Singapore, I am devastated. The relationships we share are so strong that we are disappointed when we are not together. However, I know 100% that I will see him again in a short while; but the mothers’ of the soldiers don’t have that full confidence. It’s either they will see their son with an injured leg or in a form of corpse.
Some mothers die, get cancer, and lose their minds because they know their children are under grave danger. The feeling is so indescribable that I don’t know what it is and so I asked my own mother. “It feels like your heart get’s smaller and smaller day by day because you lose your hope quickly. You can’t sleep because you know your child is not sleeping as well. Your body shivers from the cold cause your son has no jacket to keep him warm in the night; and of course you cry, you shout, scream, quiver everyday and curse each and everyone who took your son away from you. But it’s always the mothers that feel the pain. What about the fathers? Well, they took their son fighting in a war as honor and pride and that the name such as ” Baumer” was held high. They took war as a serious matter because they believed that their country was “no 1,” and as they were so inexperienced in the world (when speaking technology wise), they didn’t care about the lives that were lost, the blood that was shed; they only wanted redemption. But today, it is different.
The view of war has changed dramatically due to the fact that it has not only become a greedy, powerful situation but a battle where many lives are lost. We know the effects of war and how the future looks for our children; it ain’t looking good at all. I’m worried, my parents are worried, and the political leaders who actually care for their countries are worried. Yet, what makes us hate war is that even though people ‘talk about stopping it’ they never do. It’s WWI over again but in small phases, with more deaths, more murders, less caring.
The older generation was mainly into the factors of war: technology (dreadnoughts, gunpowder), wealth (lands, the Schlieffen Plan), power (colonization of countries) and victory. War is not a solution! War is not a factor that will solve the problem and establish peace! It is instead a death sentence to many that doesn’t establish a strong wall of honor and integrity to a soldier. Yes, we write their names on a wall, and have a ceremony commemorate them; but out of 10 ceremonies, how many people attended them with a true heart those 10 years?
None! Because we don’t know what real war feels like… We children can’t do anything right now, we couldn’t turn back time and insert sense into Germany and France; we just watched; and that’s wrong. Our punishment is so severe that none of us have been able to solve it yet; it is answering this question ‘what should we do to end war? ‘ When you have solved this question…that’s the day peace will be brought into this world.