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Just one year after the book was published, it became a Hollywood movie, which marked the beginning of Remarque's lifelong "affair" with the world of glamour. When the film premiered in Berlin in 1930, Goebbels and his political cronies from the National Socialist party interrupted the screening. A movie showing the horrors of a war that, according to the Nazis, could and should have been won was unacceptable to those who tried to regain Germany's honor by increasing its military strength. Subsequently the movie was withdrawn, the re-released. Once the Nazis were elected to lead Germany, it was banned, along with all of Remarque's works. His novels had the honor of being publicly burned on 10 May 1933, sharing the same fate as the works of Alfred Döblin, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Heine, Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Franz Werfel, and many others.

Two days before Hitler was elected chancellor, on 29 January 1933, Remarque, clearly in danger, moved to his house in Porto Ronco, not knowing that he had left Germany for good. Many years later (from 1952 on) he would on occasion briefly return a few times to his motherland, but he would never again live there. He never even returned to Osnabrück to accept an award the city wanted to present to him. Citing lack of time or health reasons, he put off a visit for years until his hometown finally sent an eleven-member delegation to his home in Porto Ronco to present the award in December 1963.

˛All Deep down, Remarque was an apolitical man; in fact, he admitted (in the 1963 interview mentioned above) that All Quiet's political effect had surprised him. In any event, the novel's reception caused him to be regarded as an enemy of the Nazi movement. It also made the author an anti-Stalinist in the eyes of the Bolsheviks, who eventually banned his book as a dangerous pacifist novel. Remarque was therefore never in danger of seeing Soviet communism as an answer to the world's injustices, like so many of his colleagues. (It helps to see this in context of Thomas Mann, an ardent supporter of World War I in his younger years who later called "anti-Bolshevism" the "essential evil of our time.")

Although Remarque had become a "politically correct" writer almost unwittingly, he did have the moral character to stand up for his own convictions, regardless of their origins. He helped émigrés form Nazi Germany by giving them refuge and financial support, and he used his fame to speak out against the dangers of totalitarianism. This was true even after World War II, when he denounced the political right's attempts to deny the remaining influence of the National Socialists in Germany and to downplay the prevalent belief in totalitarian authority that was still deeply ingrained in the minds of many Germans.