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World leaders mark 100 years since end of First World War

World leaders gathered in Paris on November 11, 2018 to lead the global commemorations to mark 100 years since the end of the first World War. The occasion saw around 70 leaders come together including US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice in the French capital.

Nov 11, 2018 14:41 IST
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World leaders gathered in Paris on November 11, 2018 to lead the global commemorations to mark 100 years since the end of the first World War.

The occasion saw around 70 leaders come together including US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice in the French capital.

The memorial service was organised by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which lies at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. Other attendees of the memorial service included UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau and Israel's Benyamin Netanyahu.

Germany's Angela Merkel gave the opening address alongside UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at a conference called the Paris Peace Forum, which took place after the memorial service on the Champs-Elysees.

  World leaders mark 100 years since end of First World War

Key Highlights

The Paris Peace Forum is a new annual event based on a idea that international cooperation is key to tackling global challenges and ensuring durable peace.

Envisioned by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Peace forum is aimed at highlighting the importance of international institutions in helping resolve conflicts, avert wars and spread prosperity.

The forum is a part of the "fightback" against nationalism worldwide.

The main aim of the conference is to show that there are lots of forces in the international system including states, NGOs, foundations, intellectuals, companies, who believe that there is a need of a world of rules, an open world and a multilateral world.

The forum witnessed performances from French-born Chinese-American cellist Yo-yo Ma, West African singer Angelique Kidjo and a European youth orchestra with a Russian conductor.

The first World War saw almost 70 of the modern day nations in conflict with each other with six main colonial powers in the centre including Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

Around 10 million soldiers are estimated to have been killed during the war and more than double the number wounded. Among the civilians, about five to 10 million are estimated to have been killed.

WWI's Centenary Observance in UK

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth attended separate events in London to mark the occasion.

While Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in central London, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier attended a national service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey.

The UK government invited 10,000 members of the public to march past the Cenotaph in a "People's Procession" to pay their respects to all who served in World War I.

The Government also called for bells to be rung across the nation and around the world to replicate the spontaneous ringing of bells across Britain on November 11, 1918 as news of the war's end spread.

 World leaders mark 100 years since end of First World War

Tensions Afloat

US President Donald Trump, whose hardline nationalism has badly shaken the Western alliance, arrived in Paris on November 9 criticising host Macron for being "insulting."

Trump took offense at a recent interview in which Macron talked about the need for a European army and listed the US along with Russia and China as a threat to national security.

With far-right nationalist politicians coming to power from Brazil to Italy to Austria, 40-year-old centrist Macron is set to invoke the war to make the case for international cooperation.

India's commitment to world peace

On the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India's commitment towards world peace and pledged to work to further an atmosphere of harmony and brotherhood so that the trail of death and destruction caused by wars does not occur.

In his message, Modi remembered the brave soldiers who fought in the first World War. He said, it was a war in which India was not directly involved yet its soldiers fought world over, just for the cause of peace.

The Prime Minister said, he has had the honour of paying tributes at the Neuve-Chapelle Memorial in France and at the memorial in Israel's Haifa, places associated with India's role in the First World War.

He recalled paying tributes at the Teen Murti-Haifa Chowk in Delhi with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Mr Netanyahu's visit to India.

World War I

How it began?

 World leaders mark 100 years since end of First World War

The war started with the assassination of Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist on July 28, 1914, which lead to July Crisis.

In response, on July 23,  Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians and the two moved to a war footing.

A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.

Triple Entente vs Triple Alliance 

 World leaders mark 100 years since end of First World War

  • By 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions- the Triple Entente consisting of France, Russia and Britain and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.
  • Japan sided with the Entente, seizing the opportunity to expand its sphere of influence by capturing German possessions in China and the Pacific.
  • The war was fought in and drew upon each powers' colonial empires as well, spreading the conflict across the globe. The Entente and its allies eventually came to be known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and Germany became known as the Central Powers.
  • Though Italy had been allied with the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires since 1882 as part of the Triple Alliance, it had a secret 1902 pact with France, effectively nullifying its part in the Triple Alliance.
  • Following the Allied invasion of Turkey in April 1915, Italy joined the Allied Powers and declared war on Austria-Hungary on May 23 and 15 months later, it declared war on Germany.
  • After the sinking of seven US merchant ships by German submarines, and the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the US declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
  • How it ended?

    • The 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, and the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government, ending Russia's involvement in the war.
    • On November 4, 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed the Armistice of Villa Giusti with revolution at home and the military no longer willing to fight  and Germany also signed an Armistice on November 11, 1918.
    • Though the armistice signed on November 11 brought an end to the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude a peace treaty.
    • The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on June 28, 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

    Background

    World War I also known as the First World War or the 'Great War', was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918.

    Contemporaneously described as the 'war to end all wars', it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history.

    It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and precipitated major political changes, including the Revolutions of 1917–1923, in many of the nations involved.

    The unresolved rivalries at the end of the conflict contributed to the start of the Second World War about twenty years later in 1939.

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