CP Sophomore English - Green
2 May 2018
The Loss of Innocence and Abuse of Power
War is a very powerful thing that can change people as seen in Erich Maria Remarque’s
novel, All Quiet on the Western Front. In the book, which is written from the Germans’
perspective, there are many examples showing the negative effects of war such as the loss of
innocence and the abuse of power. In All Quiet on the Western Front, the loss of innocence and
the abuse of power can be seen through Paul, his comrades, and Himmelstoss.
The loss of innocence can be seen through the conversation exchanged between Paul and
his comrades about how their youth was lost long ago. In the letter that Kantorek wrote to Paul
and his friends, he calls them the "Iron Youth”, which angers Kropp. Paul reflects on the letter
saying that they are no more than 20 years old, yet their youth was long ago (Remarque 88). Paul
saying that their youth was long ago implies that even though they are still young in age, they
lost their innocence a long time ago. Albert expresses, “He is right. We are not youth any longer.
We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life.
We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces”
(Remarque 87-88). Paul and his friends are so young, yet they have lost their youth to the war.
They talk about how they were just beginning to love life and the world and had to "shoot it" to
pieces, meaning that they destroyed their previous life. This is an illustration of the destructive
nature of the war and how it has consumed the innocence of Paul and his friends.