Next in my Banned Books Week series of books that, you might be surprised to learn, have been banned, challenged, or otherwise censured by groups or organizations since publication. This classic novel was originally written in German by a veteran of World War I. It describes the physical and mental stress the German soldiers underwent, as well as how they were affected by the war when they returned to civilian life.
Title: All Quiet on the Western Front (Original German Title: Im Westen nichts Neues)
Author: Erich Maria Remarque
First Published: January 29, 1929
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Co.
Where/When/Why Banned or Challenged (from various internet sources):
In the early 1930s, during Hitler’s rise to power, he had copies of this book banned and burned, along with others. He also banned the 1930 movie adaptation of the novel, and revoked the citizenship of its author. While no single reason seems to have been given for the ban, it’s easy to determine some plausible reasons:
- Hitler was building up Germany as a military power, and the message of the book undermined his attempt to instill pride in the German army.
- In the early 1930’s, Hitler was already making plans for war. Anything that smacked of anti-war propaganda would not help him get the people on his side.
- Hitler probably felt the tone of the work to be, overall, unpatriotic, showing the Germans as weak and easily conquerable. This ran against the national pride he was trying to instill in the people.
- Hitler kept firm control over the media, shaping and managing the image of Germany to the people. It was only natural that a book like this would come under his censure.