Erich Maria Remarque: Three Comrades

Three Comrades is a novel written by German author Erich Maria Remarque and published in 1936. Set in Germany during the years following World War I, the novel follows the lives of three close friends: Robert Lohkamp, a wounded veteran; Otto Kahlmann, an engineer; and Charles Baermann, an intellectual. The novel is a portrayal of their lives as they navigate the social and economic turmoil of post-war Germany, including inflation, unemployment, and the rise of the Nazi party.


number of pages: 496
literary movement: MODERNISM
literary genre: WAR NOVEL
time period: between WW I - WW II
1st edition: 1936


Throughout the novel, the three friends struggle to find meaning in a world that has lost its values and direction. Despite their hardships, they remain close, relying on each other for support and comfort. Along the way, they form deep bonds with several women, including the beautiful and mysterious Patrice, who becomes the object of Robert’s affection.

The novel explores themes of friendship, love, and mortality, and highlights the struggles of the working-class during a time of political and economic upheaval. Through the lens of the three comrades, the reader is offered a glimpse into the everyday lives of ordinary Germans during this turbulent time period.


Robert Lohkamp

A wounded World War I veteran, who is cynical and disillusioned about life.

Otto Kretzschmar

A mechanic who lost his arm during the war and is struggling to adjust to civilian life.

Gottfried Lenz

A young man who is full of idealism and dreams of a better future.

Patricia Hollmann

A beautiful and wealthy young woman who falls in love with Robert.

Dr. Baumgarten

A former army doctor who is now a successful physician.

Professor Reuter

A former professor who is now a pacifist and socialist activist.

Ingeborg Holm

A young working-class woman who is searching for her missing husband.

Frau Lohkamp

Robert’s widowed mother who is proud of her son’s war service.

Kurt Bauer

A former soldier and socialist agitator.

Bruno and Max

Two young workers who are politically active and support Kurt Bauer’s socialist cause.

To forget is the secret of eternal youth. One grows old only through memory. There’s much too little forgetting.



  • The book is set in Germany during the years leading up to and including World War I and the early years of the Weimar Republic.
  • The story revolves around three close friends, Robert Lohkamp, Gottfried Lenz, and Otto Koster.
  • The trio faces personal struggles including love, loss, illness, and war.
  • The novel explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the effects of the changing political climate on individuals.
  • The characters reflect the disillusionment and disenchantment felt by many Germans after World War I and the failed revolution of 1918.
  • The novel portrays the impact of the war on soldiers and civilians, the rise of fascism, and the effects of the economic crisis on German society.
  • The relationship between Robert and his former love, Patrice, serves as a central aspect of the book’s theme of the fleeting nature of happiness.
  • The novel also delves into the issue of class struggles and the gap between the wealthy and the working class.
  • The character of Otto represents the sacrifices and struggles of soldiers returning from war.
  • The Three Comrades is a portrayal of a generation’s loss of innocence and idealism in the face of devastating events.

The book explores the lives and struggles of the three friends, who represent different facets of the German society of that time period, as they deal with issues such as love, friendship, political turmoil, and personal tragedy. The book refers to the tumultuous and uncertain times that Germany went through in the inter-war period, and highlights the social, economic, and political problems that the country faced during that era.


A film adaptation of the novel Three Comrades was made in 1938, directed by Frank Borzage and starring Robert Taylor, Margaret Sullavan, and Franchot Tone. The film was released by MGM and was also called Three Comrades.

Three Comrades (1938)



Erich Maria Remarque was a German-American writer and novelist, born on June 22, 1898, in Osnabrück, Germany, and died on September 25, 1970, in Locarno, Switzerland. He is best known for his seminal anti-war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, which was published in 1929 and has since become one of the most widely read and celebrated works of its time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *