Junger published his war diary, The Storm of Steel, in 1920 at the age of 25. The recipient of the Pour le Merite, Germany's highest award for bravery in the field, Junger was lionized by his generation for his celebration of the "purifying" experience of war. His "heroic nihilism" was further articulated in his War as a Spiritual Experience (Der Kampf als Innerer Erlebnis), published in 1922. His allegorical On the Marble Cliffs (1939) is sometimes seen as an attack on Nazism. Nonetheless, Junger served as an officer in the Reichswehr in Paris during World War II. Since the war he has become involved in the conservation movement, making the defense of nature the subject of his later writing. He remains primarily known for his early works, and his romanticization and aestheticizing of war now elicit much criticism. His recent receipt of a prestigious literary prize was the subject of considerable controversy.