Ban Ki-moon reflects on the "pain and futility" of the First World War at UN commemorative event

Posted on on 10 July 2014
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The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has reflected on the impact the First World War had on the twentieth century and the importance of diplomacy in the twenty first century.

Organised by the Permanent Missions of France and Germany to the UN, the event was billed by Germany as "the only commemoration of World War One that will bring all the Member States of the United Nations together".

Held on the 8th July 2014, Learning from War to Build Peace, was designed to "send out a joint message of peace and reconciliation".

The Secretary-General described the battlefields of the First World War as "a roll-call of carnage etched into our collective memory". He also said the world mourned for "the youth cut down in their prime as they fought trench warfare in the vilest conditions".

The formation of the League of Nations after the war, he said, was a result of "the global revulsion at the bloodshed".

Although the League of Nations failed to stop the Second World War, with the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, the Secretary-General stated that there was "a direct historical line" between the UN and "those fateful shots fired in Sarajevo".

Concluding his speech, he called on Member States to "keep pushing to silence the guns and to beat swords into ploughshares".

Source: United Nations press release; German Mission to the UN

Date of press release publication: 08/07/2014

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News