Fifty heads of state have gathered in Belgium to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. Euronews spoke to our correspondent Rudolph Herbert, who was in Liege, where a major commemorative event took place:
euronews: In the United Kingdom, France and Belgium, the centenary of the First World War is proving one of 2014’s major talking points. There are numerous TV reports and commemorative events. In Britain, tributes will continue until mid-November 2018.
But in Germany, the focus on WWII often eclipses that of the First World War due to Germany’s lingering sense of guilt over that conflict.
euronews correspondent Rudolph Herbert can speak to us from a commemorative event in Liege. What is the mood on the ground, 100 years after German troops marched into neutral Belgium?
Rudolf Herbert: The fact that so many people have gathered in the center of Liege itself, you take as proof that the first world War is still firmly cemented on the conscience of everyday people, they expect a clear message from politicians through gestures of reconciliation, such as we have seen today here in Liege, but people also want assurances from Europe’s political leadership that such disasters wont be repeated.
euronews: Rudi how is the First World War perceived today?
Rudolf Herbert: I think, as time has passed, their is less difference felt between the perpetrators and victims, today we have a further understand of the conflict, that European policy failed and that millions of people paid for this failure with their lives.