Macron and Merkel – emotion and unity on Armistice Day centenary

Angela Merkel, the first German leader since World War 2 to visit the site where the World War 1 armistice site, has joined with French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron in an emotional show of unity in events marking the centenary of Armistice Day.

BBC: Macron and Merkel mark end of World War One

French President c and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have left their own mark of reconciliation at the start of events to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

They signed a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the 1918 Armistice was sealed.

Mrs Merkel became the first German leader since World War Two to visit the forest near the town of Compiègne in northern France where the Armistice was signed.

She and Mr Macron unveiled a plaque to Franco-German reconciliation, laid a wreath and signed a book of remembrance in a replica railway carriage.

The original wagon, on which it was modelled, was used by Adolf Hitler to accept France’s capitulation to Nazi Germany in June 1940.

Mr Macron will lead the main event of the centenary – a sombre commemoration on Sunday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to France’s fallen under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Sunday afternoon will see Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel attend a peace conference – the Paris Peace Forum – with leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Macron initiated the peace conference. As here in New Zealand commemorations of World War 1 have highlighted the horrors of war and as well as remembrance of the huge number who died in the conflict have had significant promotions of alternatives to war – that is, peace.

But where Donald Trump goes, controversy is certain to follow. He did not take part in the peace conference.

And Trump was widely criticised for not attending a remembrance event at an American cemetery.

After an hour of talks with Mr Macron and lunch with their wives Melania and Brigitte, Mr Trump had been due to visit one of two American cemeteries on his schedule.

But he cancelled his trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial due to “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather”.

White House officials later explained that low cloud would have prevented his helicopter from landing, and cited security concerns about arranging a motorcade to the site.

Gen. John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, attended on the president’s behalf.

Kelly managed to handle the “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather”.

David Frum (President George W Bush’s speechwriter):

Nicholas Soames, UK Conservative MP and grandson of British wartime leader Winston Churchill:

Trump was grouchy before he got to France, taking a swipe at Macron via Twitter.

The row began when Mr Macron told French radio station Europe 1 radio on Tuesday “we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States”.

Mr Macron went on to mention threats to Europe, including “re-emerging authoritarian powers” that were well-armed on Europe’s borders, and attempts to launch cyber-attacks, before concluding: “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.”

Mr Trump responded angrily in a Friday night tweet, writing: “President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidizes greatly!”

Mr Macron has already raised spending considerably to meet a Nato target of 2% of the GDP going to defence.

He is also overseeing the formation of a European Intervention Initiative, a 10-nation endeavour backed by Germany and the UK.

(me controversy also from German far right Alternative for Germany AfD party co-leader Alexander Gauland – Germany has no place in WW1 ceremony for ‘winners’- far-right leader

German Chancellor Angela Merkel should not have taken part in a ceremony in France on Sunday marking the centenary of the Armistice as it is an event for the “winners” of World War One, said the leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Germany lost the war and Merkel’s participation in a ceremony for the former allies amounted to an attempt to rewrite history, AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland said.

“We can’t put ourselves in a historical situation that clearly favours the winner and walk alongside Mr. Macron through the Arc de Triomphe,” he said, referring to the famous Paris monument.

That totally misses the point of the Armistice Day commemoration. It isn’t about winners, it is about remembering the huge losses suffered by many countries, and trying to avoid any sort of repeat of the stupidity of the war.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has been representing New Zealand in France – Foreign Minister attends Armistice Day and Paris Peace Forum

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will represent New Zealand at Armistice commemorations in France and attended the inaugural Paris Peace Forum later today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls for ‘peace and inclusion’ on Remembrance Day

Ardern’s Speech to Armistice Day National Ceremony 2018

I don’t know why Ardern didn’t go to France, but that was signalled in July when New Zealand plans were announced – Government releases details of Armistice Day centenary plans

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  1. Reply
    • David

       /  12th November 2018

      Appalling behaviour from ego maniac Macron, everything the guy does is for his own personal political purposes, his popularity in France has plummeted and not surprising given his use of a solemn occassion to try and win back some popularity for having a crack at the worlds favorite whipping boy is fine in his mind.
      Setting up a European army to protect against the US ? the guy is a fool. If Trump pulled out of NATO it would be hugely popular back home for him, why would Macron try this on when few EU members have honoured their existing commitments to NATO.
      Grand standing fool is an international disgrace.

      • If Fr Ignace and the others, including me, could walk through snow and sleet and biting winds to the Menin Bridge and walk its length, surely Trump could risk getting his hair wet..

        I can’t understand Macron cuddling up to a German leader with the history between the two. WWII and the German occupation and arrocities are within living memory, forsooth !

        • Macron/Merkel. Disgusting.

          However lest we forget the froggies tended to collaborate and needed us to save their sorry arses.

          As for the Germans, they lost TWO WORLD WARS after murdering millions, including shoving them in gas chambers and ovens. However, they were rewarded with the Marshall Plan and got control of Europe anyway

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  12th November 2018

            Some Froggies collaborated, indeed. Have you seen that photo of the girl/s being accused of ‘collaborating’ with German soldiers and the ferocity of one woman’s expression in particular.It’s amazing how many people were members of the Resistance….joining at the end of the Occupation or after it.

            An Englishman and I were shown some photos of Berlin after the bombing, and rather surprised the man who showed them to us with our less than sympathetic comments like ‘They started it.’ and ‘Serve them right.’

            I shocked someone who said that they were starving after the war when I said that I’d have let the buggers starve.I would, too.

            My old man said that Germany was shored up to stop it going Communist, and this is probably true, but I hate it that they are now fat and prosperous again. I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw a feather. Remember the fable about the snake who was rescued and bit the rescuer, saying in explanation that it was still a snake? Germany is still Germany.

        • Gezza

           /  12th November 2018

          Macron’s a weird little fkr. Watching him on Aljaz tv giving a hug to Trump and then a doing a thumbs up to the crowd of whoever was there – because Trump did it – I thought: “God you’re a smarmy little shit !” [as one does with French Presidents}). And as he greased all over Trump with backpats n shit as they left for somewhere fancy no doubt, I also thought: “what a strange little hobbit you are ! Wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you !” He’s sort of a French Tony Blair, I reckon. Dodgy.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  12th November 2018

            Trump will have done himself few favours with his sullen attitude and feeble excuse.

            Did you notice him awkwardly trying to hold Melania’s hand as they left the plane? This time she had a handbag in it, other times she has done things like having her hand across her chest (or swatting his away) There’s never any real contact between them. It must be bad when she can’t bear even to take his hand for a few minutes.

            I didn’t see the thing you’re talking about.

            • Gezza

               /  12th November 2018

              Probably just as well. It would only upset you, I expect. I wonder if Trump thinks he’s a bit sort of “gay”. 😉

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th November 2018

              Probably. He’s lucky that he wasn’t expected to pucker up when he met Putin.

              He’s very parochial.

            • I wish that they’d had his speech en Francais so that we could know exactement what he said.

    • The Consultant

       /  12th November 2018

      Given that this 100th anniversary has presented lots of opportunities to play hypothetical games, how about this one:

      French President Macron is transported back 100 years in time and gets to say this to French soldiers in the frontline at Verdun. Possibilities:
      A. They shoot him!

      B. They hold a full trial and then roll out a guillotine to No Mans land to execute him in front of the Germans.

      C. They hand him over to the Germans.

      D. They decide to surrender to the Germans, since it’s clearly a waste of time fighting for a nation that produces creatures like this a century hence.

  2. Noel

     /  12th November 2018

    100 years since the war to end all wars and now the promotion of a talkfeast on peace.

    • David

       /  12th November 2018

      A guy with a gorgeous wife and a billion in the bank looking at another term in 2020 and two has been politicians desperately unpopular at home who,s ineptness has seen the rise of right wing parties gaining a foothold once again in Europe.

      • Gezza

         /  12th November 2018

        Two European presidents of countries who were former foes in two world wars having a quiet chat about the day and things they have in common that make it unlikely they will ever war again like that, and a surly, scowling American president looking left out and suspicious (they’re probably chatting in French and he only speaks American, with wife who looks neither gorgeous nor happy – in fact she’s scowling.


      • Corky

         /  12th November 2018

        Great summation, Dave. Macron has the cheek to talk about Nationalism, when he’s opening up his country to Islamic immigration. Both these treasonous wastrels should face capital punishment for not protecting the realm.

  3. Reply
  1. Macron and Merkel – emotion and unity on Armistice Day centenary — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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