Events, commemorative projects and exhibitions to commemorate the First World War
Welcome to the theme site of the German War Graves Commission:
100th Anniversary of the First World War
On this site, we have brought together information on the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the First World War and we are presenting selected commemorative plans, projects and events organised by the Commission and other organisations, as well as institutions from Germany and other countries.
Here, you can find, amongst other things, ideas for projects for schoolchildren and teenagers, tips for the organisation and staging of commemorative events, information on planned commemorative events, and other background information on the subject.
The website is regularly updated. You are invited to subscribe your own projects here too, in order to provide interested parties with information that is as comprehensive as possible and to present your own projects.
To begin with, only the events calendar has been translated into English and Frensh. In the course of 2014, further contents of the website will be translated, bit by bit.
The First World War
2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. In this "great seminal catastrophe" of the 20th century with its murderous, costly battles, almost 10 million soldiers died a gruesome death; a further 20 million were wounded and were physically or mentally scarred for life. Entire regions were devastated – broken up by shells, contaminated by poison gas. Names like Verdun, Ypres, Tannenberg or the Somme stand for a hitherto unprecedented level of mass slaughter, which makes a mockery of the propaganda of the time that told of a "hero's death".
The First World War changed the lives of the people, societies and states in Europe. The common memory of this collective nightmare, its causes and effects is, therefore, an indispensable part of the European integration process. In spite of differences in national cultures of remembrance, we have the fundamental conviction that we are, today, more than an artificially created community for solving current financial and economic problems.
The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, therefore answered sceptics as follows in his commemorative address at the German Bundestag on the German National Day of Mourning in 2008: "Anyone who doubts Europe, anyone who despairs of Europe should visit the war cemeteries! Nowhere is it possible to feel more vividly, more forcefully and more movingly what European conflict at its worst can achieve."