Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

Today, for the first time, a German prime minister attended France's Armistice Day ceremonies in Paris.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy speaking at a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe alongside German Prime Minister Angela Merkel called for “an ever closer association of French and German policies,” describing the reconciliation of the two countries as a “treasure.”

It was Mrs Merkel's first foreign trip after being sworn in as chancellor for a second term and the aim was to send a strong message about the depth of Franco-German ties. For Mr. Sarkozy, he wanted to show that there was initiative for a new cooperation and leadership in Europe for the two countries. Mr Sarkozy has been frustrated in his efforts to find substantive ways to deepen their partnership.

“The strength of reconciliation allows us to face up to new challenges and really assume our responsibilities,” Merkel said, referring to the economic crisis, social justice, global poverty and climate change.

Mr Sarkozy was careful to avoid a victor’s interpretation of history, describing war in the trenches as “murderous madness for which no one was responsible but which dragged everyone in.”

“We did not know how to make peace in 1918, not only because the winners lacked generosity, but because they refused to see the tragic destiny that bound them to the defeated and which the unspeakable horror of war had just revealed,” he said.

Ms Merkel did not dwell on the war, speaking instead of “history that has united the French and Germans for centuries, whether in happy or unhappy periods.”

Later: See the new report by Thomas U. Berger for the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Different Beds, Same Nightmare: The Politics of History in Germany and Japan.


  1. Maybe so, but now the Frenchies are trying to get it on with you Yanks, the Bosh are looking East again and the Brits are hoping to sell the country to any Asian power with some money left. It will all end in tears, again.

  2. BTW Is that Paul McCartney, third from left?

  3. It is. It is Paul McCartney circa 1967. Sure of it.

  4. Ourmani

    I am glad my post was able to stimulate your thinking. It looks like McCartney then is German...


    Prosecution rests.


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