How countries across Europe will mark WWI centenary

tags: Europe, World War I, anniversaries




Germany is lagging behind its European partners in devising plans to commemorate the centenary of the first world war. A press conference in Berlin yesterday has revealed a single concrete event – a small-scale "exhibition" telling the story from 1914 right through to the eastern expansion of the EU in just 26 posters.

The foreign ministry appointed a special commissioner for commemorative events, but the remit of that role lies solely in coordinating the German attendance of events abroad. It remains unclear which ministry is in charge of organising events inside the country.

Angela Merkel's spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, hinted at the reason for her government's reluctance to take a lead in shaping events last week, when he said that Germany did not have a staatliche Geschichtspolitik, a state-approved policy on historical matters. Commemorative events are usually organised at federal level, rather than decreed by Berlin. The only public event scheduled for a German official won't even happen in Germany: the president Joachim Gauck will join François Hollande in Alsace on 3 August for an event to start the commemorations.

Germany's bureaucratic stasis contrasts with a welter of events, official and unofficial, digital, public and private, in the other former belligerent countries....




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