All Quiet on the Western Front: Chapters 1-3

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11089

"The war to end all wars" didn't end all wars, but it did produce a realistic war novel meant to end all wars. All Quiet on the Western Front makes you think, feel, and understand war!


Literary Studies, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Before World War II started in 1939, World War I was known as the "war to end all wars." One of the greatest war novels, All Quiet on the Western Front, was written about this first of the world wars.

Start here to learn more about this novel and its examination of the "Great War."

World War I, fought between 1914 and 1918, was known both as the "Great War" and the "war to end all wars" because it was the first worldwide war in the modern era.

So much devastation was caused in Europe that world leaders thought it surely would be the last large-scale war.

In 1929, Erich Maria Remarque, who was a German soldier in World War I, wrote a novel about the war called All Quiet on the Western Front. It became an instant best-seller and was translated into 25 languages.

It was made into a movie in 1930 in the United States and won several Academy Awards. It was later adapted into a television movie in 1979.

The book follows the main character, Paul Baumer, who is 20 years old at the beginning of the novel. The story follows him and his close-knit group of fellow soldiers through the war and all the experiences they have in wartime as front-line soldiers.

The novel is told from the first-person perspective, so Paul Baumer is the narrator (or the person who tells the story from his perspective) as well as the protagonist, the literary term for the main character of a novel.

In this lesson, you will read Chapters 1-3 where you will meet the main characters in Paul's group. You will learn about Paul and his friends' early days as recruits, their war training, and see inside a front-line hospital.

Before you begin reading, it is necessary to learn some of the vocabulary words that will appear in the first three chapters of this novel. Some terminology is specific to the wartime theme, and some are general vocabulary terms.

Below is a list of words to look up in a dictionary (physical or online, such as Merriam-Webster). Write down the definition of each word on a piece of paper. Then, write a sentence using each word correctly in context.

  billet (noun) jostle revile
  carbolic martinet sallow
  concord peat saveloy
  decorum pettifogging sheaf
  discomfiture pithy supple
  gamut protrude trifling
  garrison quartermaster trundle (verb)
  haricot quid uncanny
  immaterial requisition voracity


Now that you've defined your terms for this lesson's reading, there is one more activity to perform before reading the novel.

Print the All Quiet on the Western Front Characters handout found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. You will use this handout throughout the entire novel, so keep it handy for all five lessons on the book.

At the end of each reading, fill in any new information you learn about the main characters from the selected chapters. The worksheet provides the names of all the characters and the details to find for each character, so review the handout before starting your reading.

Now, it is time to read, so get your copy of All Quiet on the Western Front and read Chapters 1-3.

Then, continue on to the Got It? section for quizzes and questions.

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