Erich Maria Remarque was born on June 22, 1898, in Osnabr´┐Żck, Germany. His father was a bookbinder.
While attending the University of M´┐Żnster, Remarque was drafted into the German army at the age of eighteen. He fought on the Western Front in World War I and was wounded five times.
After the war he worked at a variety of jobs: teacher, stonecutter at a cemetery, racing-car driver and as a sportswriter. In his spare time he was working on All Quiet on the Western Front, his novel of World War I. The novel was published in 1929 and was an immediate worldwide success, selling almost 1,500,000 copies in the first year. It was made into a film in 1930, which became one of the most famous anti-war films of all time.
Remarque wrote nine more novels, some of which were also made into films. The novels were The Road Back (1931), Three Comrades (1936), Flotsam (1941), Arch of Triumph (1945), Spark of Life (1952), A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1954), The Black Obelisk (1956), Heaven has no Favorites (1961) and Night in Lisbon (1962).
None of these novels achieved the runaway success of his first one.
Remarque left Germany for Switzerland in 1932. His books and films were banned by the Nazis in 1933, and in 1938 he was deprived of his German citizenship. In 1939, he visited the United States for the first time, and in 1947 he became a United States citizen. Shortly after this he settled in Porto Ronco, Switzerland, on Lake Maggiore, where he lived with his second wife, the American movie star Paulette Goddard, until his death on September 25, 1970.