It’s the birthday of novelist Erich Maria Remarque (books by this author), born in Osnabrück, Germany (1898). He’s the author of the novel All Quiet on the Western Front (1929). The book describes trench warfare during World War I, told by a young man in the German army. It was a huge success. Remarque wrote: “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.”
The novel sold more than a million copies in Germany in its first year of publication. Nazis were beginning their rise to power at the time, and they hated the book because it portrayed World War I as misguided and pointless. It was one of the books they publicly burned in 1933. When the film version of the book premiered in Berlin, Nazi gangs attacked the theater. Remarque lost his German citizenship in 1938 and eventually moved to the United States.
Remarque said: “I am no more German, for I do not think in German nor feel German, nor talk German. Even when I dream, it is about America — and when I swear, it is American.”