Tuesday, November 11, 2008

World recalls end of World War I

World recalls end of World War I
Taken from BBC News, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Ceremonies are being held across the globe to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Four years of trench warfare between Germany and the Allies killed some 20m people and redrew the map of Europe.

A major commemoration will take place in Verdun, north-east France, where French and German troops fought for eight months.

The battle was the war's longest, and Verdun has since become a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation.

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and the Duchess of Cornwall will be the guests of honour of French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the event.

Pacific century
Remembrance ceremonies have already been held in Australia, which lost 60,000 men in the conflict.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd used a speech at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to issue a call for peace.

"We have all endured a most bloody century," he said.

"Let us resolve afresh at the dawn of this new century... that this might be a truly pacific peaceful century."

A lone bugler then played the Last Post, which is used to to commemorate the war dead in Commonwealth countries.

In the UK, three of the four surviving British World War I veterans - Henry Allingham, 112, Harry Patch, 110, and Bill Stone, 108 - will represent the RAF, Army and Royal Navy respectively during a ceremony at London's Cenotaph.

Mr Patch, Britain's oldest survivor of the trenches, will read an act of remembrance.
A two-minute silence will be observed from 1100 GMT, marking the exact time - at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - when the Armistice Treaty came into effect to end the war.

World War I led to the creation of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.

Useful reading:

Echoes of conflict 90 years on (BBC)

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