Erich Maria Remarque

German-born novelist (1898–1970)

Erich Maria Remarque (22 June 189825 September 1970), born Erich Paul Remark, was a German novelist who created many works about the horrors of war, most famous for his novel All Quiet on the Western Front.

A hospital alone shows what war is.
See also:
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 film)
Three Comrades

Quotes edit

A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends.
  • Aber das ist wohl so, weil ein einzelner immer der Tod ist — und zwei Millionen immer nur eine Statistik.
    • The death of one man is death, the death of two millions is a statistic.
      • Der schwarze Obelisk (1956)
      • A variant of this quote "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic." has also been attributed to Joseph Stalin, but no source for this has been found. This version appeared in the English press not later than 1958. (Ремарк, Эрих Мария // Словарь современных цитат / составитель К. В. Душенко — Москва: изд-во «Эксмо», 2006)

All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) edit

All quotes from the A. W. Wheen translation. All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Fawcett Crest in August 1982, ISBN 0-449-21394-3
  • This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.
    • Epigraph
  • It is very queer that the unhappiness of the world is often brought on by small men. They are so much more energetic and uncompromising than the big fellows.
    • Ch. 1 (p. 10)
  • We march up, moody or good-tempered soldiers — we reach the zone where the front begins and become on the instant human animals.
    • Ch. 4 (p. 56)
  • It is just as much a matter of chance that I am still alive as that I might have been hit. In a bomb-proof dug-out I might have been smashed to atoms, and in the open may survive ten hours' bombardment unscathed. No soldier survives a thousand chances. But every soldier believes in Chance and trusts his luck.
    • Ch. 6 (p. 101)
  • It is when one is alone that one begins to observe Nature and to love her.
    • Ch. 8 (p. 189)
  • A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends.
    • Paul after visiting Russian prisoners, Ch. 8 (pp. 193-194)
  • But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony — Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?
    • Paul to the corpse of a French man he has just killed, Ch. 9 (p. 223)
  • Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started.
    "Mostly by one country badly offending another," answers Albert with a slight air of superiority.
    Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. "A country? I don't follow. A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a field of wheat."
    "Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?" growls Kropp. "I don't mean that at all. One people offends the other—"
    "Then I haven't any business here at all," replies Tjaden, "I don't feel myself offended."
    "Well, let me tell you," says Albert sourly, "it doesn't apply to tramps like you."
    "Then I can be going home right away," retorts Tjaden, and we all laugh.
    • Ch. 9 (p. 204)
  • A hospital alone shows what war is.
    • Paul after seeing the horrific state of wounded soldiers in a hospital near the front, Ch. 10 (p. 263)
  • I often sit over against myself, as before a stranger, and wonder how the unnameable active principle that calls itself to life has adapted itself even to this form. All other expressions live in a winter sleep, life is simply one continual watch against the menace of death;—it has transformed us into unthinking animals in order to give us the weapon of instinct—it has reinforced us with dullness, so that we do not go to pieces before the horror, which would overwhelm us if we had clear, conscious thought—it has awakened in us the sense of comradeship, so that we escape the abyss of solitude—it has lent us the indifference of wild creatures, so that in spite of all, we perceive the positive in every moment, and store it up as a reserve against the onslaught of nothingness.
    • Ch. 11 (pp. 273-274)
  • No, we are not related. No, we are not related.
    Do I walk? Have I feet still? I raise my eyes, I let them move round, and turn myself with them, one circle, one circle, and I stand in the midst. All is as usual. Only the Militiaman Stanislaus Katczinsky has died. Then I know nothing more.
    • Paul has carried Katczinsky from the front to an aid station, but he has died on the way. Ch. 11 (p. 291)
  • I am very quiet. Let the months and years come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear. The life that has borne me through these years is still in my hands and my eyes. Whether I have subdued it, I know not. But so long as it is there it will seek its own way out, heedless of the will that is within me.
    • Ch. 12 (p. 295)
  • He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front.
    He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.
    • Epilogue (p. 296)

External links edit

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