President Joachim Gauck (©Presse-und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung)

German President hosts international First World War Centenary debate in Berlin

Posted on on 21 June 2014
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Germany's President, Joachim Gauck, has invited leading international historians to Berlin for a day of remembrance and discussion of the First World War and its legacy.

They'll gather at his official residence on 27th June 2014, the eve of the 100th anniversary of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in Sarajevo, the event that triggered the outbreak of the war.

The day starts with historians from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Croatia, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Germany discussing their countries' different memories of the conflict, its impact on Europe, and common experiences.

As head-of-state, President Gauck will represent Germany at international First World War Centenary commemorations taking place in France and Belgium on 3rd and 4th August 2014.


The historians will also debate the lessons of a century of war and peace in Europe.

Other major historical milestones in 2014 include the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, and 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall ended the Cold War.

Reflecting on Europe's development since 1914, from catastrophe to the creation of the European Union, the conference will consider the implications of what are described as 'recent shocks' for peace and security. 

The day closes with an open-air performance of Front, a drama about the First World War, at Schloss Bellevue, the German President's official residence in Berlin's Tiergarten.

Set in the trenches of Flanders, Front explores the war from all sides drawing on documents and literary accounts from four European countries, including Erich Maria Remarque's classic German novel All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues). 

Front, a co-production by Thalia Theater Hamburg and NTGent, is touring Europe with performances coming up in Saarbrücken, Edinburgh and Belgrade.

Full details of the event and speakers can be read, in German, here.

Source: German Federal Government press release

Image courtesy of German Federal Government Press and Information Office

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News