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Verdun 100th


new3.2
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Canadian radio (CBC) announced that today is the celebration memorial for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle for Verdun. How was today's date chosen?

new3.2

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Arbitrarily or an arbitrary weekend, rather? Sorry, feeling flippant.

I gather that the rock concert event that was due to go with the proceedings (or at least formally associated with them) got scrapped by Hollande after a fair amount of uproar in the press in France.

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Thanks Nigel- sounds as good a reason as any. Will probably hear nothing about Verdun here in the states.

Ken

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The fighting at Verdun in May 1916 reached a peak of intensity, and it also developed a kind of equilibrium.

The French had just attempted to retake Fort Douamont and been repulsed after a very severe battle, with Mangin commanding a couple of divisions : this was around the 20th of May, 1916, I think.

That, along with considerations of weather and public schedules of one kind or another, might account for holding this event in May.

In what month did Mitterand and Kohl have their famous buddying up ?

Phil (PJA)

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22 September 1984. I suppose they had to find a date that was not notable at Verdun for any reason whatsoever, thereby keeping everyone's sensibilities undamaged. That and the chance of reasonably good weather.

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That's odd. I thought I posted a quip about the weather about two hours ago. Has it been removed or did I not post it correctly? Or am I entering my dotage?

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Apparently, 29 May was chosen by Général de Gaulle (in 1966) to commemorate the Battle of Verdun (50 years earlier). That's why that same date was chosen again 100 years after.

Jan

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Makes good sense Jan, possibly a midway point in the battle after all who would want to commemorate the start of a battle which by its end consumed so many lives on both sides. Seems to me that this would have been a good idea to apply to the Somme, the commemoration of which appears to be fixated on the first day to the detriment of the other 100+ days the battle raged.

Norman

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Apparently prior to 1966 the main commemoration was in June, anniversary of a turning point in favour of the French.

The General's choice was complicated even then? This from LeMonde:

A l’époque, l’ombre du vainqueur de la bataille, le maréchal Pétain, plane sur la commémoration. Ses partisans réclament le transfert de ses cendres à Douaumont, ce que le Général écarte tout en rendant hommage à son rôle décisif dans la victoire et saluant la gloire acquise qui « ne saurait être contestée ni méconnue par la patrie » malgré « des défaillances condamnables » au soir de sa vie.

L’année 1966 est aussi marquée par une vilaine polémique accusant le capitaine de Gaulle, fait prisonnier à Verdun en 1916 avec ses soldats, de s’être rendu sans combattre.

Charlie962

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That's odd. I thought I posted a quip about the weather about two hours ago. Has it been removed or did I not post it correctly? Or am I entering my dotage?

You certainly did; very drole, as well.

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I have seen extracts from the TV coverage; they obviously do these things differently on the Continent. I think I can understand what they hoped to achieve - it is not too difficult to see the idea of young lives, full of potential, extinguished; and then new hope. But one of the long term legacies of Verdun seems to me to be the recollection of so many soldiers who went through the 'machine' that was that battle, with the deliberate rapid rotation of divisions by Petain - a perfectly sound policy from a military point of view. However, so many of them survived to tell the tale and live the experience for the rest of their lives; not to mention those who were physically and/or mentally scarred. I am not convinced that that was honoured/commemorated. Speaking for myself, I would have thought a massed night time torchlight vigil and the extinguishing of them simultaneously might have been more dramatic and, possibly, more tasteful.

I didn't like it myself; but that's just me.

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You certainly did; very drole, as well.

Thanks. I thought I was going round the bend. I wonder which of the Unwritten Laws it transgressed.

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Sorry Nigel I have no idea of the logic behind this display which involved running over the graves of the dead, as for they do things differently, surely respect for the dead is universal is it not?. This has been added to my growing list of "completely pointless 100th commemorations" which is growing by the day headed right now by the disgusting "shrouds of the dead", still more to come methinks :thumbsup:

N

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I have seen extracts from the TV coverage; they obviously do these things differently on the Continent.

If one was not impressed with Verdun's commemorations of the centenary, you would have been appalled by what went on in Gallipoli last August. This was to commemorate Suvla and Lone Pine. There was a swim-in organised by (who?) at Anzac Cove. Kids swam from a raft anchored off Anzac Cove to the beach. The distance between the raft and the shore had some connection with '1915' but now I cannot remember quite what it was. Helicopters buzzed overhead in case any of the kids got into trouble. On reaching the beach they were greeted by gifts of t-shirts. The area adjacent to the Cove was covered with refreshment stalls and loudspeakers kept everyone informed.

To my mind it was a circus. I took some photos which I thought about posting, but then thought better of it. Everyone seemed genuine enough. If memory is to last and be shared then perhaps we should each be allowed to commemorate and remember in our own way. Live and let live ... ?

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  • 1 month later...

In France those celebrations were controversial too :)
At first, they wished to make a rap concert too, wich has been canceled because of the scandal
Personnaly, I wasn't so shocked by those young people running through the graves because it was done with good will and the meaning is pretty easy to understand
but the "haka part" with death on stilts was kinda ridiculous, it looked like a weird Tim burton's movie

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  • 2 weeks later...

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