And this I know: all these things that now, while we are still in the war, sink down in us like aRemarque's novel was published in 1929, four years before the Nazis actually took power, though the Nazis were already active and were among his fiercest critics. I have not idea what he was trying to evoke with this brief passage, or if it was simply a general observation, but it's chilling in retrospect because at least as much as any political or economic grievances over the first world war, the second was permitted by the fact that in Germany in particular there were millions of men who had fought in the first war who found themselves in the inter-war years seeking a sense of purpose. Men with an experience of violence and of the comradery of collective action who were now adrift. Unemployed or underemployed. In a country which felt that it had made huge sacrifices by which it had gained nothing.
stone, after the war shall waken again, and then shall begin the disentanglement of life and
The days, the weeks, the years out here shall come back again, and our dead comrades shall
then stand up again and march with us, our heads shall be clear, we shall have a purpose, and so
we shall march, our dead comrades beside us, the years at the Front behind us:--against whom,
All Quiet on the Western Front, Chapter 7
The urge to march to some purpose was particularly strong in those circumstances, and many found it in marching either with the national socialists (Nazis) or the international socialists (communists).