erich-maria-remarque

When we came out here we were cut off, whether we liked it or not, from everything we had done up to that point. […] The older men still have firm ties to their earlier lives - they have property, wives, children, jobs and interests, and these bonds are all so strong that the war can’t break them. But for us twenty-year-olds there are only our parents, and for some of us a girlfriend. That isn’t much, because at our age parental influence is at its weakest, and girls haven’t really taken over yet. Apart from that, we really didn’t have much else; the occasional passion for something, a few hobbies, school; our lives didn’t go much further than that as yet. And now nothing is left of it at all.
Kantorek would say that we had been standing on the very threshold of life itself. It’s pretty well true, too. We hadn’t had a chance to put down any roots. The war swept us away. For the others, for the older men, the war is an interruption, and they can think beyond the end of it. But we were caught up by the war, and we can’t see how things will turn out. All we know for the moment is that in some strange and melancholy way, we have become hardened, although we don’t often feel sad about it any more.
—  All Quiet On the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque.
5

We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in war.
 ―    Erich Maria Remarque,  All Quiet on the Western Front