French and German leaders commemorate start of WW1
Hollande says peace between countries 100 years later should be a lesson in Gaza conflict
German president Joachim Gauck (left) and French president Francois Hollande lay the foundation stone for a German-French museum, during the memorial event for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the first World War today. Photograph: Christophe Keraba/EPA
French president Francois Hollande and German president Joachim Gauck at the National Monument of Hartmannswillerkopf, in Wattwiller, France. Photograph: Christophe Keraba/EPA
Francois Hollande and Joachim Gauck attend a ceremony to commemorate the centenary of the start of the first World War One at the Vieil Armand ‘Hartmannswillerkopf’ battlefield in the Alsace region. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters
French president Francois Hollande has commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first World War with an appeal to players in the Gaza conflict to put animosities aside — just as France and Germany have done.
Mr Hollande gave an impassioned speech today in Vieil Armand in Alsace, marking Germany’s declaration of war on France on August 3rd, 1914. He was joined by German president Joachim Gauck — the first time Germany’s head of state has attended the event.
Mr Hollande remembered the 30,000 men killed around Vieil Armand, known in German as Hartmannswillerkopf, but pointed out that France and Germany “who were regarded as hereditary enemies”, reconciled.
He appealed to the world to use Franco-German peace as a lesson in peacemaking and “to stop the suffering of the civilian population”, in Gaza.