To what extent does the Author use recurring motifs and symbols to criticize the patriotic ideals displayed by the Nazis in All Quiet on the Western Front?

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In his book All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque uses various symbols and motifs to send a message about several ideas. Most of them, I feel as a reader, involve exposing the cruel reality of war and knocking down the romanticized, patriotic image wartime may conjure in someone's mind. Keeping in mind that All Quiet on the Western Front tells a story taking place during WWI, before WWII's rise of Nazism, there may still be ways to interpret its recurring motifs and symbols as criticisms of Nazi patriotic ideals.

One of the characteristics of Nazi patriotic ideals was total, all-encompassing loyalty to one's country. Soldiers as well as civilians were expected to support Germany in all ways possible, including dying on the battlefield. Remarque's work is certainly a lengthy critique of extreme nationalism like this. Kantorek, for example, often launches into impassioned, glorious speeches, encouraging the men to join the military. As the novel progresses, and Paul and his friends become more deeply entrenched in the horrors of WWI, they slowly realize how untrue the speeches where. In battle, it does not matter what ideal or patriotic mindset you may have. It is still horrifically terrifying.

Remarque also uses vivid descriptions of horrendous violence to criticize nationalism. Most of the battle scenes are grisly and frightening, and the men seem emotionally numb to the deaths of their comrades. Against the backdrop of the disturbing carnage, intense patriotic ideals and nationalism seem ignorant and phony.

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