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Psychological Effects Of War

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As we have seen throughout this unit, war is not like what we saw on It is killing, dying, blood, and mental effects that will live with you until the day you die. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque portrays, not only does war leave physical scars, but it leaves mental scars as well. Many people associate war with blown off limbs, and bombs, and blood, that definitely has a lot to do with it, but not as much as the mental problems war leaves.

In chapter 5, Muller asks the men a question: What will you do after the war? Their answers to Muller's questions portray a certain anxiety about the end of the war, as if they fear the end of the war as much as they fear the actual war itself. Thinking and planning for the future requires hope, but the horror of the trench warfare doesn't allow them to have hope for anything other than their own survival. These boys have never known anything other than war. Paul is only 19 years old, he hasn't gotten the chance to see the world outside of the fighting and the bloodshed. They have no experiences as adults that do not involve a struggle every single day to keep their sanity. Since they have no other way than being sane while they fight, they come home and they are different. The effects of the war have finally done something to them.

What also makes men and women in war crazy is killing somebody. They all know deep down that they have families, and friends and people that care about them. When soldiers realize that they have just killed somebody with a life of their own, people that love them, it will most likely make them crazy.

"… 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 to late, why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mother are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agonyвЂ"Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?"

This quote shows Paul talking over the man he just killed, and realizing that he was just a man, the same as he is. Paul has just realized that this man had a wife, a job, children and family, and he asks himself: "how could you be my enemy?" They are the same, fighting for something they can't really understand. They are fighting just because they were told to do so.

"Our thoughts are clay, they are molded with the changes of the days;--when we are resting they are good; under fire, they are dead. Fields of craters within and without."

This quote from chapter 11 explains what goes through a soldiers mind when they are fighting. "Our thoughts are clay..." is a great example of what they are actually thinking, nothing. If the soldiers were to think about what they were doing, they would surly go insane. Remarque shows how their thoughts and minds are molded into thinking nothing as they fight. It has become a part of life, killing all day. "When we are resting they are good; under fire, they are dead." When the men are fighting, their thoughts are "dead" as in they aren't there. And when they are "resting" the men can go back and think like any other person. They have been under stress and seen such horrific things, that war has almost become just another normal thing for them. It's so hard for them to cope with war that they just end up pushing it out of their heads, which could be a good thing, but at the same time, they will never be the same.War changes



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