Europe marks war anniversary

Europe marks war anniversary

Former enemies during the First World War have united for ceremonies surrounding the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict.

Representatives from Belgium, France, Germany and Britain stood together at an Allied memorial to commemorate one of the great early battles.

In a spirit of reconciliation, Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde welcomed German President Joachim Gauck under cloudy skies for the late-morning ceremony amid pomp and military honour.

Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, 1914, as part of a planned attack on France. By nightfall, Britain had joined the war.

The war was not expected to last long. Instead of weeks, the continent was plunged into unknown hardship and misery for more than four years.

On Sunday, an intense hug between Mr Gauck and French President Francois Hollande during a remembrance ceremony in eastern France close to the German border sealed again the friendship between the two neighbours, which have become the cornerstones of the European Union.

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