Warning! SPOILERS for No news from the western front
No news from the western fronthosted by Netflix, it features both real and fictional people, but it’s unclear which camp the German commander, General Friedrichs (Devid Striesow), is in. No news from the western front follows the story of Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer), a German teenager who enthusiastically participates in World War I in early 1917 before learning the true horror of fighting on the Western Front. The film is directed by Edward Berger, who strived for realism and accuracy in his adaptation of the novel of the same name, even adding elements not found in the original book, such as Matthias Erzberger’s (Daniel Brühl) subplot.
While No news from the western front When it comes to real events and people, General Friedrichs is not one of them. Like Paul himself, he is a fictional character in the film whose 1917-1918 story represents a real-life demographic of people during the war. Technically, General Friedrichs wasn’t in the original novel either, but his stubbornness and characterization as a seasoned nationalist are very accurate to many who held such ideals during World War I.
The inspiration behind all the tranquility of the General Friedrichs of the Western Front
From the very beginning of World War I, leadership on both sides of the war led their troops according to outdated tactics and goals, including the idea of ”total victory” and frontal assaults. The need to completely decimate their opponents in the former and the inability to account for new technology, such as the machine gun, in the latter, is part of what led to the staggering number of WWI casualties and the near-intentional loss of life. as the Western Front stagnated in a stalemate for private German soldiers. In No news from the western front, General Friedrichs embodies both ideas through his insistence that the armistice “sells out the fatherland” and his virulent insistence that Germany be seen as warriors, regardless of the casualties of those who were forced to fight. The use of outdated tactics is especially true in the brutal irony of Paul’s final battle, in which he dies trying to reclaim trenches from the French – and realizes that this trench was one he and his comrades held onto earlier in the film. . This is telling that the German soldiers are essentially back where they started after a huge loss of life while charging the French machine guns.
How much of General Friedrichs’ story really happened?
The story of General Friedrichs unfortunately also mirrors the reality of the last day of World War I. His insistence to fight until the last minute of the war, and the film since Paul joined in 1917, in No news from the western front is similar to many commanders in the final hours of the conflict, as several did the same to claim the last bits of territory before the battle lines were frozen or for glory and prestige. One such commander is US General John Pershing, who reportedly prevented the ceasefire from reaching his troops. According to the book by Joseph E. Persico 11th month, 11th day, 11th hourthanks to leaders such as Friedrichs and Pershing, there were 10,944 dead on the last day of the war, with estimates of more than 2,000 dead in the final hours of the conflict.
General Friedrichs is one of the most annoying characters in No news from the western front, with the gap between his unrealistic expectations for the war and the consequences of his delusions emerging as one of the film’s most tragic aspects. His folly in sending Paul to his death uselessly is one of the main points of… No news from the western frontanti-war themes, because it emphasizes the futility of all warfare. It makes history all the more painful to know that while General Friedrichs was not a real person, he might as well have been.
Next: All the Silence on the Western Front Explained (in detail)