All Quiet on the Western Front and Path of Glory center on the theme of war and price ordinary people pay for the ambitions of the politicians. Both, the book and the movie show terrible reality of war and shed light to the real causes and motifs of war.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is a novel, which describes the events of the First World War. The novel is an account of the events of the war. We can trace the destinies of young German soldiers, who sacrifice their lives, mesmerized by the talks about honor and fighting for the fatherland.
Remarque very vividly describes how politicians, who are strong and influential leaders, use their abilities to influence the minds of people. Good oratorical skills and appeal to universal human values make people believe these leaders and follow them. Such motivation helped Nazi ideologists take control over the minds of German people.
Patriotism is one of the strongest weapons, which helps to influence people and control them and Hitler and his ideologists have successfully used it. Making strong accent on the ideas, which appealed to millions of people, they manipulated them and controlled their will. The war is a huge mechanism, which brings pain, death and destruction.
Despite any highest goals and reasons proclaimed by those, who command the army, they send people to death. War changes not only the way of life, it also changes the way of thinking. Under the constant threat to life, people get another attitude to life and death. The distinction between life and death is often eliminated and this is the reality of war. The novel is not a heroic epic, which describes the great deeds of war heroes. The author has another purpose.
Remarque participated in the First World War and knew what he was writing about. Paul Bäumer, the protagonist of the story, and his friends arrive to battle field full of desire to defend their motherland and its interests. They have idealistic thoughts about the war but reality comes to be quite different from their ideas about it. Day after day their life is put in danger, they live in terrible conditions and face death every day. Finally, they come to realization that they sacrifice their lives to the group of political leaders, who follow their own interests. This becomes the worst disappointment for people, who were so eager to get to the battle field. The war becomes an eye-opener for ex-schoolboys as they perceive reality from another perspective now. Only those, who can see all the atrocities of war and approach death closer than anybody else can start appreciating life. We can see a very vivid contrast when Paul, the protagonist, comes home and meets people, who want the war to continue. They still believe in ideals, proclaimed by politicians. Paul, who saw the war with his own eyes wants nothing but the end of the war. The death of millions of people means nothing for politicians, who follow only their own ambitions.
Paths of Glory by Stanley Kubrick is a movie which depicts event of WWI. The movie is based on Humphrey Cobb’s book under the same name. The movie very vividly illustrates cruel reality of war. Paths of Glory became an eye-opening movie for many people who regarded warfare as necessary and accepted practice. Kubrick perfectly illustrated the cost of victory and terrible reality people face in the battle field. The movie describes events of the World War I. One French regiment is sent to catch an enemy stronghold. It is evident that mission can not be accomplished. When the mission finally fails three French soldiers are executed for cowardice. Along with terrible reality of war film illustrates hidden mechanisms and manipulations, which in reality influence the course of war.
Kubirck shows political ambitions, which determine the war. War leaders depicted in the movie give idea about real manipulation and selfishness of these people. War leaders are ready to sacrifice millions of lives for the sake of their own interests and ambitions. The Paths of Glory was prohibited in France for several years after it war shot because it was treated like a movie which compromised honor and dignity of the nation. If we forget about personalities and countries depicted in this movie we will see that Paths of Glory gives very sharp characteristics of warfare and war leaders in general.
Both, Paths of Glory and All Quiet on the Western Front are works of art which authors give their ideas about the causes and consequences of war. War, as depicted in these movie and novel appears like meaningless and cruel reality where people spend their lives because of ambitions of political leaders and authorities. People who die at warfare become only means for political leaders who do not think about anything but their own goals. Ordinary people suffer because of ambitions of those, who are in power.