Germany Seems To Ignore WWI Centenary

Although Britain has already invested over £50million in public money, for the commemoration of the start of World War I, academics couldn’t hold back from criticizing Germany’s disinterest in engaging in any kind of activities. Germany has, however, attended numerous meetings with the British government, to organize and coordinate the ceremonies.

Britain has invested over £50million to ensure the event will be properly marked with school road trips to cemeteries, memorials and battlefields over the next 4 years. But leaders haven’t been impressed by officials traveling to Germany for the occasion, on the contrary, they have been severely criticized by their academics of showing a ‘stupid’ and ‘inappropriate’ reluctance to commemorate with all the other countries.

France has already 1,500 ceremonies and events planned across the country and the French government has invited all the other countries for a ‘peace demonstration’ on July 14, Bastille Day, the Mail Online reports.

On July 15 it will be Belgium’s turn to held nothing else but a German-British ceremony.

In Germany, Mr Andreas Meitzner is the senior diplomat responsible with the organization and planning of the events, however, according to some German reports, not much has been done so far. One of his plans involve the construction of a French-German museum at Hartmannsweilerkopf battlefield in French Alsace. The site is also known, as it was named by the troops, the Mountain of Death, the place where almost 30,000 German and French soldiers died. The first to lay a foundation stone there in August this year, will be French President François Hollande and the German Federal President, Joachim Gauck.

The German History Museum in Berlin and the Army Museum in Dresden are also planning several exhibitions. Norman Walter, from the German Embassy in London, insisted that all they want is reconciliation and too have ‘as many former enemies as possible’ and also to show that they have learnt from their mistakes.

German professor, Holfer Afflerbach from Leeds University on the other hand, believes Germany’s attitude is ‘stupid’ and there will probably be a ‘last minute arrangement’ which he describes as ‘inappropriate.’

Gerd Krumeich, a German historian who is helping the French government organize the events for the centenary found the German government ‘fundamentally uninterested’ and the French irritated by it.

Historian Max Hastings sees things differently than most of the rest it seems. He insisted that the British government shouldn’t be shy or afraid of today’s Germans, as for them it is nothing else but another unfortunate anniversary.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE