When W.B. Yeats writes, “a terrible beauty is
born”, he is referring to how uprisings in the name of nationalism, can turn
for the worse. This can be compared to the events of Paul Baümer’s WWI
experiences displayed in how the effects of the war turned out to be the
opposite of what the Germans expected, or even wanted. While he initially
joined the army by choice, Paul soon learns how ideals of patriotism matter
very little after encountering death and horror fighting out on the front. War
doesn’t seem like something beautiful anymore, but rather something more
terrible.