Erich Maria Remarque: Biography & Works

Instructor: Douglass Gunselman

Doug is currently a head middle school principal and has taught middle school/high school English/speech/computers. He has a master's degree in Educational Administration.

German author Erich Maria Remarque, known for his novel ''All Quiet on the Western Front'', was a famous author who wrote several novels, short stories, and screenplays. At the end of this lesson, you will have some background information about Remarque, who not only wrote great literature, but also fought in World War I with Adolf Hitler.


Erich Maria Remarque was born on June 22, 1898 in Osnabruck, Germany and died on September 25, 1970 at the age of 72.

Erich Maria Remarque
Remarque Picture

In his middle teen years, Remarque began writing essays, poems, and a novel that wouldn't be published until 1920. At the age of 18, Remarque fought for Germany on the Western Front in World War I, where he was wounded in battle. After his brief military career, Remarque pursued a career in education. He taught in several towns for a little over a year before deciding to pursue other opportunities. A jack of all trades, Remarque's professions included time as a businessman, librarian, and journalist.

Erich Maria Remarque's published works span six decades. Remarque's first work published was The Dream Room (1920), which was a novel he started at the age of 16. Remarque picked up his writing career in the late 1920's and continued producing novels every few years until World War II slowed his writing career. He had to relocate to Switzerland, and eventually the United States, during the war based on German propaganda which included the public burning of Remarque's novels. After the war, his career picked back up where he produced several novels and screenplays. In fact, he was an actor in a production of one of his own screenplays! It should be noted that the original texts were written in German and translated to English. Let's take a closer look at some of Erich Maria Remarque's literary masterpieces.

Most Famous Work

The Most Popular Novel Written by Remarque

Published in 1929, All Quiet on the Western Front was Remarque's most famous work. Interestingly, it took him almost two years to find a company to publish it. This novel chronicles German soldiers' challenges during World War I and when they returned home. Many of these challenges are the same our troops face today.

Paul Baumer is a young man who decides to join the German army and is soon put on the Western Front, which was trench warfare. The conditions of trench warfare were terrible. Paul struggles with fear, anxiety and depression during his time as a soldier. Essentially, this story is about soldiers who lost their 'lives' based on their horrific experiences in war. They are never the same when they come home.

All Quiet on the Western Front has a sequel titled The Road Back written in 1930.

Other Works of Remarque

Three Comrades (1937) is a novel about main character, Robert Lohkamp's, depressed outlook on life based on his experiences in World War I. He shares his unfortunate stories with two of his friends, Otto Koster and Gottfried Lenz. Lohkamp's life is changed when he meets Patrice Hollmann. He falls in love with her, but unfortunately, she has a deadly disease. The story portrays the struggle to regain a life affected by war, the struggles of a war torn country, and unconditional love. This novel was later adapted into a movie.

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