Monday, 30 December 2013


Europe will begin commemorations of the centennial of the Great War next summer, marking the outbreak of fighting that began in late July a hundred years ago and the short-live*d armistice that followed over four long and horrific years later on 11 November 1918. The chosen means of remembrance, however, are not without controversy, both within and without—with many groups opposed to scheduled events for various reasons from dishonour through tourism exploitations, a celebration of nationalism and worse yet a kind of forgetting that makes war more palatable. Wounds that can never heal are being re-opened among combatants become allies as well.
The UK plans more than two thousand venues over the next four years, and while surely a noble and enlightening thing, also risks glorifying war and re-enforcing a lesson that humans have yet to learn. In contrast, aggressor states plan parallel but more subdued events, though the perception now is that Germany then does not own World War I like they do World War II with all the connotations. Perhaps the reason behind this notion and other modes of commemorations is due to the fact that there are no more soldiers and by-standers alive today that experienced the trenches and the dread new machines of war first hand. What do you think? Do some means of keeping make for something demeaning and ignoring that the default-setting for Europe (and abroad) for all of history was that of battles and skirmishes? Be sure to follow developments and pivotal events on MentalFloss' ongoing series on World War I.