Europe remembers end of WWI amid resurgence of nationalism

BRUSSELS, Several European countries held ceremonies last week commemorating the centenary of the Armistice that ended World War One (1914-18) in which around 20 million people lost their lives.

The main event was held in Paris on Sunday led by French President Emmanuel Macron with the attendance of around 70 world leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In his speech at the ceremony, Macron warned of the threat of nationalism to Europe, saying nationalism means “our interests first, whatever happens to the others.

“You erase the most precious thing a nation can have, which is most important; its moral values,” he noted.

Earlier this month in an interview, Macron warned Europe of a return to the 1930s because of the spread of a nationalist “leprosy” across the continent.

“I am struck by similarities between the times we live in and those of between the two world wars,” he told the newspaper Ouest-France.

Analysts note that European nations very quickly forgot the lessons of WWI and plunged the globe into a bigger catastrophe. The Second World War (1939-45) that caused the deaths of around 60 million people destruction of many countries and ended with the defeat of Germany.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in a speech on Sunday warned about the threat of nationalism to Europe.

“I am talking here about the rise of nationalism and anti-European, not only rhetoric, but also anti-European emotion, in many European capitals. They are forces which back conflict rather than cooperation, disintegration rather than integration,” he said.

“The problem is that today, those who are cheering on nationalisms in Europe, those who are betting on disintegration and conflict, will inevitably lead to an absolutely fundamental threat,” warned Tusk.

Actually it is a misnomer to call these conflicts as “World” wars. At the heart of the World Wars was the conflict between Germany and its European neighbours, France, the UK and others.

European states like France and the UK had vast colonies in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and local populations were recruited or enlisted to join their armies on fake promises of independence to fight against Germany.

A common expression coined in Europe after 1945 was “Never again,” which resulted in the creation of today’s European Union aimed at ending conflict and wars in the continent.

However, the twin evils of nationalism and racism that sowed the poisonous seeds to decades of wars and conflicts in Europe, are remerging again with the spread of nationalist, right-wing extremist and populist parties and groups.

Their toxic-filled messages are targeted at vulnerable minorities, migrants, Muslims, Gypsies, just as Jews were the target of Nazi propaganda and hysteria in Germany.

Due to the rapid declining of moral and spiritual values in Europe, the spread of unbridled-materialism, atheism, superiority complex and insulting the cultures and religion of others in the name of freedom of speech are gaining the upper hand in European mind-set.

The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in a recent speech in the European Parliament, also sounded the alarm about nationalism in Europe.

“We should reject the kind of exaggerated nationalism that projects hate and destroys all in its path,” Juncker stressed.

The Russian newspaper Nowaja Gaseta has warned that Europe’s nations risk falling into the same trap as they did in 1914.

“Humanity has entered the 21st century just as divided as it was a hundred or even a thousand years ago. The old wounds can open up any time. In 1914 entire nations were seized by nationalist ardour and irrational madness. Only later did the pointlessness and absurdity of that war become visible,” it commented.

Source: Kuwait News Agency