World War I or the Great War

This is a special post on a special commemoration that has started today and will climax tomorrow. I thank from the bottom of my heart all those men , women and their respective countries who had fought in this so called World War I or as we know better in France, the Great War.

Je remercie tous ces hommes et ces femmes et leurs pays respectifs pour leurs efforts et leur sacrifice dans cette grande guerre au nom de ma famille, et le peuple français

In this terrible war ,1.4 million French military personnel lost their lives in the Great War. Their condecoration are understood to be under the words , “Deaths for France” identified by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. Created in 1915, this reference is attributed to soldiers killed in combat or died as a result of their injuries. Soldiers who are reformed, shot, died of illnesses or victims of accidents are excluded.

The facts:
On September 25, 1915, with a double offensive in Artois and Champagne, was the deadliest day of the war for the French Army, with more than 25 000 deaths. More than a quarter of the soldiers killed are before their 23 years.

The Battle of Verdun, which began on February 21, 1916, stood out: The number of deaths in one day did not equal the previous clashes, but it was one of the first German offensives since 1914, and it lasted much longer. It strikes the spirits deeply. It was “The Battle of France for France, against the German aggression, the place where France shows all its soul and its ardour”

The comparison with the Battle of the Somme, which begins on July 1, 1916, is thus revealing. The French losses were important, but the offensive, led by the British, was much less imbued with collective memory.

The deadly clash of the  Chemin des Dames or Ladies ‘ Way, which was to be the last major offensive of the war, marks the year 1917 until the end of October. The War of Motion resumed in 1918, with several German offensives in Picardy, and Champagne. The Germans wanted to win the victory fast before the Americans, who had just entered the war, were lining up too many troops on the front. The general counter-offensive of the Allies led them to the Armistice.

The death of these young men has profoundly marked the French society, reversing the order of generations and disturbing the birth rate. More than a million births were never caught up, so that in 1939 France became the oldest country in the world, notes François Heran of the National Institute for Population Studies (INED) in an April 2014 publication.

The events:

From Saturday morning  (November 10th) at 11h (11am), the French president E Macron will received his American counterpart Donald Trump for a bilateral exchange.  The exchange was expected to be tense. The two men had to exchange on European strategic capabilities. President Macron has just suggested that Europe should build its own army to protect itself from the United States, China and Russia. President Trump responded in his usual way “Very insulting but perhaps Europe should first pay its share to NATO that the US subsidizes widely!”, had tweeted the US president Friday night at the time of landing in Paris.  Bit of errors on M . Macron already critized in France for comparing Gen Petain efforts in WWI with his treason in WWII. On Saturday afternoon, Emmanuel Macron travelled to Compiègne, Oise, before being joined by Angela Merkel, for a commemorative ceremony at the Clearance of Rethondes.

But it is Sunday that the commemorations of  November 11 centennial will know their true culmination. In total, some 85 heads of State and government-including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin-will be meeting at the end of the morning at the Arc de Triomphe to attend a one-hour ceremony.  Emmanuel Macron will give a speech of about ten minutes, in which he wants to resound France 2018 with that of 1918 and insist on the importance of multilateralism for peace. Hopefully with a better speech ….

It is also the theme of “peace” which will be in the spotlight in the afternoon, since 75 foreign leaders will be gathered at the Grande Halle de la Villette (19éme) for a “Forum on Peace” organized at the initiative of France but with UN participation. President Trump is not scheduled to be at this meeting.

As one other person so vividly say it and I copy:  Remember this day. November 11 is far more important than 9/11 or 12/7. It’s much more important than Memorial Day or Labor Day. This Remembrance Day is to keep in mind that ungodly slaughter of 1914-1918 and the war spawned by its hateful end, 1939-1945. We owe it to each other, our children, and their children’s children to never let anything like that happen again. Amen

meaux

musee de la grande guerre museum of WWI trench Meaux, Seine et Marne 77

ps Special thanks for my American friends and family Belleau Wood, fields of courage , the first taste of war for the doughboys!

Enjoy your Sunday, we have a lot to be thankful for nowdays.

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