One Hundred Years Ago Today, Germany Declared War On France. Presidents Commemorate Centennial In Unity


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.

Joachim Gauck and François Hollande embrace

By Darren Smith


Deutsche Welle
Photo Credit: Yahoo News

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.

18 thoughts on “One Hundred Years Ago Today, Germany Declared War On France. Presidents Commemorate Centennial In Unity”

  1. Jeepers! Did I frighten everyone away from this blog? Busy up to 1.40 pm Monday…. then, lets get out of here! …who wants solutions! (unless its my wifi not responding, nothing for 24 hours)

  2. Today, America takes the place of Nazi Germany &, instead of one raving psychotic like Hitler, we have cleverly elected Presidents who are calculating psychotics like the current Barack Obama. Of course they serve other calculating psychotics that make up the Illuminati and many countries back our psychotic efforts to ‘control’ the world. But its really not ‘we’, because we are America & the world, and if you want to SUPPORT AMERICA & the human race, DO NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS! And do not support the Democrats or Republicans either. You have a solution here. Will you take it? Or will you say it is too simple for your complicated minds? Some of you might realize that simple is good and that good is simple. I hope you are one of them.

  3. WWI and it’s continuation into WWII proved to be joint insanity. All the houses of nobility knew they would be at war soon, and their was a prevaling thought it would be over inside of 90 days. Ooooops. We surely haven’t learned any lessons because the lay of the land is very similar today. The mechanisms are the same, only the names have changed.

  4. Randyjet: And maybe Fraulein Kaufman was aware of the Vichy France Era and rejects that era and/or maybe she is Jewish. In America in the 1940s her parents may have added a letter “n” to the end of Kaufman to distinguish from being Jewish. Maybe that did not go on in France. It did here. Of course no one here on the blog recalls the German American Bund.

    1. BarkinDog – I remember the German American Bund, although most of them were interred when I was born. Are you old enough to remember them from personal memory.

  5. Alsatians today are more Frog than they were in the end of WWI. But, there are many who speak a deutsch sprech. Franco Prussian War of 1871 the Germans took over. WWI the French got the two provences back. Lorraine being the other one. Prior to 1871 neither France nor Germany had been a nation state as seen on the map for very long. The Kaiser put Germany together. The King Louis guys and Napolean put France together.

  6. Darren – you forgot to mention the flashpoint for the war. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

  7. When I was teaching history, I always hated teaching WWI or W W Eye as one teacher put it. However, with more study I have learned to hate the war but find the strategies fascinating. I know that British historians are crying foul, but many British school teachers are using Blackadder Goes Forth to start discussions on the war.

  8. Virtually all the Alstacians view themselves as French. I made a bad mistake when I was taking French lessons at Alliance Francais and noted that my instructors name Kaufman was German. She was outraged, and told me that it was MOST DEFINITELY ALSTACIAN, NOT GERMAN! They are more French than the French.

  9. A lot of American first or second generation who had migrated here from Alsace were torn between the two sides in WWI. Some spoke German only or as first language when they came over to America. Prior to 1871 this was France. From 1871 to WWI it was Deutschland uber alles. It has been France since the end of WWI but the residents have German names, language, and ties. WWI was a terrible war. WWII no better but perhaps better for France in that they lost fewer lives. None dare forget Vichy France and Marshal Petain. And none dare call it treason. Most Jews will never forget.

  10. Good post, Darren. Always interesting and never polemics from Darren Smith. Hardest working man on the weekend.

  11. NEWSFLASH – Europe

    Orban Says He Seeks to End Liberal Democracy in Hungary

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he wants to abandon liberal democracy in favor of an “illiberal state,” citing Russia and Turkey as examples.

    The global financial crisis in 2008 showed that “liberal democratic states can’t remain globally competitive,” Orban said on July 26 at a retreat of ethnic Hungarian leaders in Baile Tusnad, Romania.

    100 Years Of Liberal/Socialist/Collectivist/Communist Dictatorship???

    Goodbye Welfare State???

    Right next to Russia???

  12. I just watched a very good TV show last night on the BBC channel where WWI was re-imagined as the War of the Worlds between Mars and Earth to get the size and effect of it.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

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