According to the specific evidence from Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, World War I affect Paul and his friends by distancing from most of society and the loss of a young person’s innocence. In the first development, Paul and his friends are shown to become disconnected from everyone in society who were not participating in the war. For being young children, they had full trust in the adults that encourage them to enlist but this soon changed. They started to despise the adults that they trusted guiding them to war “the first death they saw shattered their belief” (Remarque 12). In another instance Paul’s mother had grabbed him and asked, “Was it very bad out there, Paul?” (Remarque 143) he continues to answer by saying it’s not as bad as others say, but he didn’t understand why he said this when people were dying daily. This shows a disconnect to regular society and how he has become immune the sights of deaths unlike other adults who had not step foot onto a war zone. Paul does recognize this and goes on to say, “men will not understand us” (Remarque 294).
In another development Paul and his friends skip through the stage of innocence at a young age. This time in age was also known as the Lost Generation due to the circumstance that the children were in a war rather than experiencing a normal childhood. The children did not have time to experience everything a child should “We had as yet taken no root. The war swept us away. For the others, the older men, it is but an interruption” (Remarque 20). These children were just students who lived with their parents and went school. None of them had started a life of living alone or with a loved one. The older people in the war went home to continue their lives that they had started, as for the children they went home to a life that they never had a chance to begin “All the older men are linked up with their previous life” (Remarque 19). This shows how the Paul and his friends did not get to get to experienced innocence stage of there life and went straight into adult hood.
World War I affected Paul and his friends through the change of society and loss of their innocence stage of life. This event shaped children into men while at the same time taking away the childhood portion of innocent children who had nothing to do with the war.