Global Leaders Celebrate the WWI Centenary

It has barely been two weeks since the beginning of the WWI centenary, and many have begun to attend celebrations and other such ceremonies in honor of those who fought the war to end all wars. Though the war began as a small rift between two peoples, a deadly chain of alliances led to the spread of conflict throughout the globe. Now that the world is in the midst of the WWI centenary, many leaders are looking back at the part they played.

More than anything, they are looking at the roles their soldiers played. Many of these soldiers were young men who had no stake in the complex politics that motivated the war. Some of them did not even necessarily fully understand how the war had begun in the first place. To honor those soldiers during the WWI centenary, leaders such as the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, paid their respects to the soldiers who fell during the conflict. He was joined by Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key. Of course, these were just two of the many nations who are currently honoring the First World War.

Britain and Belgium have also been paying tribute to fallen soldiers. These nations arguably had a much greater stake in the war than Australia and New Zealand, and therefore an even greater reason to honor the WWI centenary. England joined the war when Belgium was invaded, and it was their entrance into the conflict that many consider to mark the beginning of the war in general. Tribute ceremonies in these nations have therefore been fairly large events.

Belgian leader King Philippe was at the head of one of the largest tribute ceremonies, which was attended by other leaders from Britain, France, Germany and Spain. Dozens of other global leaders attended the Belgian tribute to the WWI centenary, necessitating a great deal of security. Luckily, there was no security threat that needed to be addressed. There was, however, good reason to suspect that such security might come in handy. With a case of multiple homicide having occurred just months ago (which is now considered a terrorist attack) and a large number of global leaders in one place, it was important to ensure that all went according to plan, the Times of India reports.

The WWI centenary is one of the most major historical events currently in progress. It is no surprise, given the impact it had on many nations, that so many leaders are showing their faces at numerous events to honor their former soldiers. Given the importance of the WWI centenary, it would be highly noticeable if anyone were to skip out on these events.

Ian Harvey

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