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Leaders of France and Germany in poignant show of unity 100 years after WW1

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Leaders of France and Germany in poignant show of unity 100 years after WW1

By Michaela Cabrera

 

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French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stand together in the Clairiere of Rethondes during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, in Compiegne, France, November 10, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool

 

COMPIEGNE, France (Reuters) - One hundred years after the guns of World War One fell silent, the leaders of France and Germany held hands and rested their heads against one another in a poignant ceremony to mark the signing of the Armistice peace agreement.

 

President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel inspected troops from a joint Franco-German Brigade before unveiling a plaque paying tribute to the reconciliation and renewed friendship between the foes of two world wars.

 

More than 3 million French and German troops were among an estimated 10 million soldiers who died in the Great War of 1914-1918. Much of the heaviest fighting was in trenches in northern France and Belgium.

 

A German delegation signed the Armistice before sunrise on Nov 11, 1918, in a private train belonging to the commander of French forces, Ferdinand Foch, parked on rail track running through the Compiegne Forest. Hours later, at 11.00 a.m., the war ended.

 

"Europe has been at peace for 73 years. It is at peace because we want it to be, because Germany and France want peace," Macron told several youngsters, with Merkel at his side, referring to the peace since the end of World War Two in 1945.

 

"And so the message, if we want to live up to the sacrifice of those soldiers who said 'Never again!', is to never yield to our weakest instincts, nor to efforts to divide us."

 

Merkel said she was moved by the ceremony and described Macron's invitation as a "very symbolic gesture."

 

In a powerful show of unity, Macron and Merkel sat inside the reconstructed teak-lined rail wagon in which the peace charter was signed and looked through a book of remembrance. After each signed the book, they held hands a second time.

 

CLOSER EUROPE

 

The last time French and German delegations had sat in the same place was when Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler forced the surrender of French authorities after invading in 1940.

 

Since World War Two, France and Germany have driven tighter European cooperation and the European Union has become the world's largest trading bloc.

 

Macron, 40, an ardent defender of a closer Europe, has turned to Merkel to help him forge deeper economic integration within the EU's single currency bloc, as well as more collaboration on matters such as defence and immigration.

 

For years, Merkel, 64, had waited for a French leader with Macron's zest for Europe. But the fragility of her governing coalition and her own weakened leadership, as well as misgivings over aspects of Macron's vision for renewal, have meant she has not moved as quickly as Macron would have liked.

 

This past week, the French leader has toured sites that once lay along the western front, from the battlefields of Verdun in the east to the imposing Thiepval memorial overlooking the Somme valley. There, he and British Prime Minister Theresa May together laid a wreath on Friday.

 

Along the way, he has warned of the rising threat to Europe posed by a resurgence in nationalism.

 

"Nationalism is rising across Europe, the nationalism that demands the closing of frontiers, which preaches rejection of the other," he said in a radio interview on Tuesday. "It is playing on fears, everywhere. Europe is increasingly fractured.”

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-11-11
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"At the time of the first world war, all western powers upheld a racial hierarchy built around a shared project of territorial expansion. In 1917, the US president, Woodrow Wilson, baldly stated his intention, “to keep the white race strong against the yellow” and to preserve “white civilisation and its domination of the planet. Eugenicist ideas of racial selection were everywhere in the mainstream, and the anxiety expressed in papers like the Daily Mail, which worried about white women coming into contact with “natives who are worse than brutes when their passions are aroused”, was widely shared across the west. ”

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/10/how-colonial-violence-came-home-the-ugly-truth-of-the-first-world-war

 

Edited by Opl
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27 minutes ago, hansnl said:

Western leaders unity?

Really?

Where was the British representative then?

Or was it to show that France and Germany are now the boss in Europe, now that Britain decided on Brexit?

Now nothing stands in the path of a fourth Reich.

All those fallen in WW1 and WW2, have they fall in in vain?

British are not forgotten

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/09/may-macron-pay-tribute-ww1-soldiers/

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Why Trump?

 

It is 'Armistice Day' thank you very much.

 

Alistair Horne in his superb book 'The Price of Glory'' adds a postcript where a German Nato general travelling thru' eastern France is suddenly confronted by a whole mass of ancient stahlhelms..and pauses to reflect on the useless waste of it all..

 

And this is a small Australian country town.

 

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Edited by Odysseus123
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Please excuse us Brits for not fully engaging in the events in Europe to mark the centenary of the end of WW1. but our royal family and senior politicians will be doing what they do on the Sunday closest to 11th day of November every year.  

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8 minutes ago, vogie said:

This is about as the OP says "Leaders of France and Germany in poignant show of unity 100 years after WW1" I personally don't think that opening this topic up to a bickering fest is appropiate on Armastice day. RIP to all the fallen.

Thank you.

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36 minutes ago, Odysseus123 said:

The Brits are FULLY ENGAGING in the cermonies commemorating  the events of the Great War.

 

To say otherwise is tawdry,mendacious and disrespectful of the dead in pursuit of a present day tacky political aim..but then..tackiness (shoddy) is a hallmark of the present day,is it not?

 

Have some respect.

Maybe your comments should have been directed at the post #13...

 

My post was satirical, of course our royals have been busy visiting and commemorating centenary events of WW1 for over the  last 4 years.

   

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1 minute ago, Basil B said:

Maybe your comments should have been directed at the post #13...

 

My post was satirical, of course our royals have been busy visiting and commemorating centenary events of WW1 for over the  last 4 years.

   

Sure..

 

Not only royals..

 

But here we go.

 

 

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