The Memoirs of WWI World War I
- Pages: 5
- Word count: 1087
- Category: War
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The Different Memoirs of WWI World War I was an extremely violent and traumatic time for soldiers on the fronts of the war. Even though it was a dramatic time for these men the memoirs from the war was varied on the western front within the German ranks. Two books written by the German men were Storm of Steel, written by Ernest Junger, and All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarsque. They are both well known and were written on the same frontier; however, they were different in certain ways. In Storm of Steel, Junger explains the war through his own journally that he wrote himself during the war.
The events were patriotic and from his own point of view, but they were still realistic. The events were recorded as they happened in history; they are accurate down to the the most minute details that Junger wrote. Meanwhile, Remarsque having written the fictional story All Quiet on the Western Front, allows for less accuracy and more interpretation. A plotline is able to form since it is not a true story, only based on true events. Storm of Steel shows a war that though brutal, was a positive experience due to the comradery. The soldiers learned lessons which were a way for Germany to re-establish patriotism within the country.
The moral standings also rose within the people. Remarsque had a more negative view on the war and criticizes how the war caused a loss of unity in the German army and the creation of a lost generation of men. The novels have radically different views although they are both written from a German perspective. All Quiet on the Western Front is the fictional story of a young German G. I. named Paul Baumer. Paul, along with his fellow classmates, trudge through the war as they see horrendous aspects of death. With the experience of war, they lose their innocence within the ranks.
The story, even though it has a pacifistic view on the war, shows the dread of war and the mindset that led to the future of Nazism in Germany. In the beginning of the story, Remarsque had given the reader a feel of patriotism that is misinterpreted. The patriotism from a young man and his friends allows them to join the cause and fight for their country. Throughout the story though, Baumer and his fellow comrades find themselves giving in to the horrible realities of war and the horrors of death all around the young soldiers. In the end of the story, Paul is admiring a butterfly when he ends up getting shot.
He could not even enjoy the simply beauty of nature without the war ruining this simple pleasure. This type of writing allows for Remarsque to portray sadness and depressing feelings to the audience. Junger on the other hand does not have the freedom to write exactly what he wants to his audience, so the story of his depiction of the war and the story that the audience reads is next to identical. Storm of Steel does not have emotions and it includes a brutal description of the war, almost completely opposite to the way Remarsque wrote All Quiet on the Western Front.
The novel is written about a German soldier who is in the trench throughout the war and witnessed many battles and saw many people die. Battles were described with simplicity that is gut wrenching. Even though casualties and wounds happened on a regular basis there was no emotion in the novel. When Junger’s brother was injured he had ordered his men to escort his brother to the safety of the hospital; this was the only exception to the loss of emotion. This was the only sign of personal humanity that came from his writing other than the occasional conversations and times that required emotion to fully explain the plot to the audience.
Since both books cover the very different views of the war, both of the authors interpret the cause of the war to be different as well. In Storm of Steel, the issue of the author was never truly expressed. He explains the war to be something that he had to do to follow orders because he was not trying to die. Though Remarque approached it another way and used the story to entrap the reader and explain why it was so pointless to lose all of the men that died for their country.
Junger, however, just uses the terrible parts of the battle to glorify the truth. Baumer feels bad about killing the French soldier, but Junger just reloaded his gun as if he was not phased. Even though these men had very different opinions on the subject, they did have similarities. One similarity is the mere fact that they were both German soldiers. This issue is larger than it is portrayed because, in reality, it is hard for someone from the enemy or Allied force to truly understand the perspective of the Germans.
It is also hard to understand how even though there were different fronts to the war, there was disaster within the ranks for people fighting on both sides. Both men describe the atrocities that they face as they happen and allow for detail to catch the heart of the audience to suffer with the soldiers. Even though these books had their significant similarities and the fact that they were on the same war, the authors had very different purposes for writing their version of the story.
Each author having such strong opinions of the war contrasted the other extremely well giving the readers feelings of either patriotism or distaste towards Germany and the Great War. The books had equally strong points to them with Storm of Steel being a strongly worded and factual storyline, packed with action, with a patriotic twist to the straightforward novel and All Quiet on the Western Front being the narrative of a patriotic young man and his metamorphosis of emotions about the war.
While both come to a close, the books end up giving the reader overwhelming feelings of nationalism and sadness. The overall pacifistic novel ends with the main character being shot and gives the reader a feeling of sorrow but know that he did his job as a soldier in the German army. Meanwhile, Storm of Steel which had more of a patriotic tone ended with Junger saying, “Germany lives and Germany shall never go under! ” Showing that Germany will rise to become a power once again as it did in the 1940’s.