All Quiet on the Western Front: from the film of the novel by Erich Maria Remarque. Photograph: Ullstein Bild via Getty

For some years after the end of the first World War, the memoirs of generals and statesmen dominated publication about it – none more prominently than(...)

Jean Echenoz:  meticulous and precise

Friday, July 1st, is the centenary of the opening offensive of the Battle of the Somme, one of the most harrowing events in human history. The German (...)

Painting by Otto Dix, ‘War Cripples,’ at a Nazi exhibition of Degenerate Art at the Munich Hofgarten, July 1937. Photograph: Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

The German artist Otto Dix went to war, willingly. Unlike many who fought, he had no misgivings, not initially. Not for several years in fact. Patriot(...)

A still from the 1930 Hollywood film of All Quiet on the Western Front, starring future Hollywood pacifist Lew Ayres as Paul Bäumer

Literature is universal, yet reading tends to be a personal response. Some novels move the soul, and a rare handful touch a nation. Fewer still addres(...)

Jennifer Johnston’s How Many Miles to Babylon? – Nomad Theatre stage version including  Fergal McElherron and Sam Peter Corry – represented important attempts to re-examine the first World War and its legacy. Photograph: Colm Henry

War is ambivalent; for the powers that decide to wage it, it is as ancient as man, even older than Homer and is caused by expansionist greed and do(...)

The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

It is Halloween, but it is also Reformation Day in Germany. Exactly 497 years ago Martin Luther strode up to the castle church in Wittenberg and na(...)

Students throw journals and books onto bonfires in Bebelplatz in 1933

Every city has its ghosts, but in Berlin this week a portal to the past was wide open, and spectres, benign and malevolent, wandered the citysc(...)