30 May, 2012
The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War takes place in just over two years. Already governments and other official-level bodies are planning extensive commemorations, both nationally and on the European level. Numerous exhibitions, books, films and other projects are in the making. Peace perspectives need to be heard, especially in the mass-media debates, and in productions aimed at informing young people.
The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (WWI) takes place in just over two years. It was the first war fought with weapons of mass destruction, and saw the involvement of civilians to an unprecedented extent. The war totally changed the geo-political landscape, marked the beginning of the confrontation of political systems, and was waged as a technological struggle of mass destruction. Several other historic elements can be traced back to this mass slaughter and its political, economic and strategic consequences. Since WWI and the Treaty of Versailles led to a major redistribution of political control (collapse of empires, carve-up of Middle East and other regions) and its outcome is often seen as one of the main causes of WWII – its anniversary demands great attention from the international peace movement. The commemorations due to take place in 2014, and subsequent years, will be about war and peace; about hegemony and the reorganization of the world; about the importance of asserting firm anti-war positions and about the failure of the international peace movement…and together we could list many more dimensions.
Already governments and other official-level bodies are planning extensive commemorations of the centenary, both nationally and on the European level. The EU Commission has set up its own working group at President Barroso's request; a similar working group exists in the Federal Chancellery of Germany.
Numerous exhibitions, books, films and other projects are in the making. Peace perspectives need to be heard, especially in the mass-media debates, and in productions aimed at informing young people. We urge all our members who are considering organising events in their own areas to make their plans concrete as early as they can.
IPB will take part in all possible events with our own contributions, including activities organised jointly or in coalition. For this purpose we have established a working group which will submit its considerations to the next Board meeting (date still to be set). We ask our members to participate in this discussion and to share their own ideas with us, since good international communication is essential. The extraordinary variety of possible topics (which includes IPB’s own history) forces us to focus.
Please send your comments and news of relevant projects/events to the IPB Secretariat. We plan to collect up various items and make a space for this topic on our website/newsletter/Facebook etc. We look forward to hearing from you!