Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
On August 3, 1914 Europe began the worst human disaster known to that time when the German Empire declared war on France. The subsequent world war would cost the lives of at least fourteen million individuals and shattered the fabric of society that had evolved for centuries. The devastation that was once Germany set in motion a chain of events and underlying conditions that would lead Europe into the Nazi terror of the Second World War.
Today, the presidents of Germany and France presided over a ceremony in the French region of Alsace marking the beginning of the conflict between their nations with an affirmation of their continued solidarity to maintain peace between their nations and of Europe generally.
The morning ceremony started with presidents Joachim Gauck and Francios Hollande laying a wreath in Hartmannswillerkopf, one of only four national memorials commemorating the First World War within France. The presidents then placed the first stone of the to be constructed World War One Museum.
Hartmannswillerkopf, thirty miles from the German border changed sides eight times during the war and where over thirty thousand soldiers lost their lives. Over the centuries Alsace changed possession numerous times between warring empires and was also considered significant in the minds of those commemorators at the centennial.
In a speech, President Hollande pronounced “a message to the world and an invitation to all those all over the world [wherever confrontations arise.] Peace is the responsibility of every single generation…and to transmit to coming generations the fragility of peace.”
Hollande further noted the importance of Franco-German relations as a cornerstone of maintaining an everlasting peace between the nations despite centuries of enmity and tremendous losses of life.
Echoing his French counterpart, German President Gauck remarked on the significance of having French and German citizens sit alongside one another in peace.
“It is like a dream, but it is our reality,” Gauck said.
Europeans must preserve this peace and not lose perspective on their current difficulties, the German president said.
“The generations before ours would have gladly had the problems we face today…we can overcome these challenges together.”
History will hopefully provide lessons for humanity.
By Darren Smith
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.