In what way does Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front feel that the adults have let the young men down? Do you think he is blaming them unfairly?Chapters One and Two.

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Paul believes that the adults have let the young men down because the adults have persuaded them to join the war to fight for their country when the war is really about horrible death, not patriotism.  Paul is angry that his former school master Kantorek has encouraged him and his friends to join the war effort after graduation.  When the young men get to the battlefield, they realize that few of the soldiers even understand the reasons why Germany is involved in the war.  The men are inexperienced and barely trained, yet they are expected to fight, win, and survive.  Ironically, the adults whom Paul mentions have never been to war and therefore speak only out of ignorant patriotism.  Paul says that the young men are robbed of their youth and their sense of innocence; even if they were to survive the war, they would never be the same.

One might argue that the adults did not force the young men to join the war and that Paul is blaming them unfairly; however, Paul and the other young men have looked up to the adults for guidance and they trust that the adults will steer them in the right direction.  They could not have imagined that the adults would so blindly send them to their deaths.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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