In 1999, Radio Netherlands broadcast a series of 12 programmes telling the story of the 20th century through famous books. In each programme, a guest speaker gives us the historical background behind the story in the book and tells us about the actual events that inspired it.
“All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque is one of the best known and most memorable books set in the First World War. Remarque himself served on the Western Front, a double line of trenches which stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland, and where the two warring sides were deadlocked in a murderous standstill for four years. The horrific modern warfare these men experienced left an entire generation of young European men dead, injured or scarred. Remarque’s novel, published in Germany in 1928 , centres on the fictitious life of Paul Bäumer. Our guest speaker, professor John Röhl, professor of European Studies at the University of Sussex, places the novel within its factual historic context.
Producer: Marijke van der Meer
Broadcast: January, 1999