The cemetery at Hartmannswillerkopf in Alsace

Centenary update: French and German Presidents lay foundation stone for joint First World War museum in Alsace

Posted on on 03 August 2014
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The Presidents of France and Germany have laid the foundation stone for a new museum symbolising the reconciliation between their countries on the site of a former First World War battlefield.

François Hollande and Joachim Gauck embraced during ceremonies at Hartmannswillerkopf in Alsace on August 3rd 2014, the 100th anniversary of France and Germany going to war to 1914.

Mr Gauck declared: "The warning sounded by the bloody 20th century should not be in vain."

"Let us continue to learn from and with one another, let us intensify our dialogue with one another and let us develop a culture of trust together for a present and a future in peace and freedom – throughout Europe."

President Hollande held out Franco-German reconciliation, after a century of conflict, as an example to the world wherever peace was threatened. 

During the First World War, 30,000 soldiers died in a series of battles for control of Hartmannswillerkopf, a peak in the Vosges Mountains known to French troops as 'Vieil Armand.' 

Groups of young people from France and Germany witnessed today's commemorations.

Sources: German Federal President's office; Elysée Palace

Image in the public domain

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News