All day Monday services of commemoration took place in Belgium and across the UK. In the evening the BBC broadcast the services held at the military cemetery Saint Symphorien near Mons, Belgium ( the site of the first battle between the British and German forces). This cemetery where soldiers from all the combatant countries were buried next to each other was the idea of a German officer in 1915 – during the height of the war. The idea was to create a Waldfriedhof, a forest cemetery, honoring the sacrifice on all sides.
British, Belgian and German heads of state and several heads of government were present and participated actively in the proceedings. Serenely orchestrated combining music, poetry and prose, it was a fitting remembrance of the millions who died, I hate to say it, completely in vain.
CORRECTION OF AUGUST 1st POST
I would like to correct my post in which I stated that Russia declared war on Germany on August 1, 1914. In fact it was the other way around.
In the lethal chain of events that precipitated war on so many fronts, Germany declared war on Russia when they mobilized on Germany’s eastern borders.The Russian-German border ran right down the middle of where Poland should have been!
Russian claims that they were “only” mobilizing against Austria-Hungary because of the latter’s war against Serbia were of no help since Germany was allied to Austria-Hungary.
August 4th marks Britain’s declaration of war against Germany upon their invasion of neutral Belgium. And so the tragic timeline continues during the course of August and on into the following 4 years.
It is scary the way so many journalists are comparing the current situation with that of 100 years ago: Ukraine, Syria, Gaza, Libya, Iraq. And let’s not forget Afghanistan and Pakistan. Where else have I left out?
The only hope is that we did learn something from all the mistakes of the 20th century. Nothing is predestined. And there mustn’t be any attempts scorned at finding solutions