George Parker, Political Editor of the Financial Times (below), reports that diplomatic tensions are surfacing around the world as the combatant nations in the first world war prepare to mark the centenary of the conflict in 2014, focussing on two countries:
“Berlin has watched with growing anxiety the tone of some British media commentary ahead of the anniversary, while Turkey has been at loggerheads with Australian politicians over the Gallipoli centenary”.
German diplomats say they hope the British events will not be “celebratory” in tone but deny that its envoy attempted to influence the proposed UK events when in London to discuss the anniversary.
A June report said that Andrew Murrison, the defence minister overseeing the UK events, refused to describe the conflict as a “just war”, saying he would leave definitions of a “just war” to “moral philosophers” to interpret the ideas of St Augustine or St Thomas Aquinas.
Berlin wants to use the centenary to restate the case for European unity.
Next post: thoughts on the anniversary from Jan Dalley, Arts editor of the FT and Peter Hirsch, a New Jersey correspondent.