Papeete, capital of French Polynesia, from the air. German warships bombarded the town in 1914 (Image: Wikimedia/public domain)

Tahiti remembers the First World War in the Pacific

Posted on on 11 August 2014
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Commemorations are taking place in French Polynesia today (August 11th 2014) to mark the Centenary of general mobilisation for the First World War.

Wreaths will be laid at the war memorial in the capital, Papeete, located on the South Pacific island of Tahiti.

The Pacific Ocean was the scene of some of the earliest naval clashes of the Great War between the Germans and the allied powers.

Papeete itself was bombarded by the German cruisers, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, on September 22nd 1914.

The 100th anniversary of the raid will mark the start of a series of Centenary events in Tahiti, including exhibitions and educational projects, aimed at raising public awareness of this forgotten front in a global war.

The Imperial Germany Navy's East Asia Squadron operated from colonial bases in China and the Pacific Islands but found itself outnumbered by the allies, who had the support of the increasingly powerful Japanese Navy. 

Admiral von Spee's warships defeated the Royal Navy at the Battle of Coronel, off Chile, in November 1914. A month later, most were sunk by the British off the Falkland Islands while trying to sail home across the Atlantic.

Source: Ville de Papeete

Image: Wikipedia/public domain

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News