First World War centenary

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The First World War Centenary is the centenary of World War One which starts in 2014 and will last until 2018.

Participating countries[edit]


In Australia, the occasion is known as the Anzac Centenary. Committees planning the event include the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary and the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board. The government has budgeted $83.5M for a seven-year programme which will include commemorative events in Australia and overseas; educational activities and resources; and refurbishments of galleries and war graves.[1]


The centenary of World War I is to be marked by a program of exhibition, lectures and academic research focusing on the theme of Belgian involvement in the conflict and the occupation. The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in Brussels will host an exhibition entitled "Expo 14–18: It's Our History" from 2014 to 2015.[2]

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The city of Sarajevo, which was during the First World War a capital of the Austrian province Bosnia and Herzegovina made plans to organize commemoration in the period 21–28 June 2014. The event is named "Sarajevo heart of Europe".[3]

Republika Srpska

Filmmaker Emir Kusturica announced an initiative to hold a ceremony on 28 June 2014, in which a re-trial of Gavrilo Princip will be started. The motivation behind the initiative was that Austria-Hungary never ratified the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that a verdict of high treason therefore should be considered illegal. "It was a political murder, but definitely not high treason. If Princip was convicted of murder, it wouldn't have been possible to sentence him to lifetime imprisonment", Kusturica commented. Further, he will exhibit letters written by Oskar Potiorek, and argues that they prove that a war was planned long before the Sarajevo Assassination.[4]


The cultural network "Golden Days" is planning a commemoration in September 2014, "1914, the Gateway to Modern Europe".

Denmark remained neutral during World War I and did not take part in the warfare. The biggest event from a Danish perspective is the renunification with Northern Schleswig (Sønderjylland) in 1920. After the Second War of Schleswig in 1864, Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig and Holstein to Prussia. In 1918, the Versailles powers offered to return the region of Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark. After the Schleswig Plebiscites Northern Schleswig (Sønderjylland) was recovered by Denmark in 1920. The reunion day (Genforeningsdag) is celebrated every 15 June on Valdemarsdag.


In France, the government will carry out a policy of national remembrance.[5] An early start was made in 2011 with the opening of Le Musee de la Grande Guerre in Meaux on Armistice Day.[6][7]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand government agencies and other organisations are working together on commemorations to mark the centenary, which is being identified as WW100.[8] The commemorations are being led by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Christopher Finlayson.[9] A WW100 Programme Office has been established by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Defence Force and the Department of Internal Affairs.

New Zealand's centenary commemorations will honour those who fought, but will also tell the stories of the people who remained at home.[10] $17 million in lottery funding has been allocated by the Lottery Grants Board to commemorate the First World War Centenary.[11]

The New Zealand Government’s key centenary projects include the development of a National War Memorial Park in Wellington, an education / interpretation centre at the National War Memorial, a series of new histories, and heritage trails in Gallipoli and along the Western Front.

A First World War Centenary Panel has been established, chaired by Brian Roche of New Zealand Post. The Panel's role is to advocate for the First World War Centenary, attract sponsorship or philanthropic support for centenary projects, coordinate with any equivalent bodies overseas, particularly Australia; and provide advice to the government on the centenary commemorations.[12] Dame Anne Salmond, Bob Harvey, Dr Monty Soutar, Matthew Te Pou[13] and Sir Peter Jackson[14] are all involved.


The County Government of Taita Taveta is hosting these Centenary commemorations. Through its Ministry of Community affairs, Tourism, Trade and Industry, the County Government is hosting these commemorations nationally, with a chain of events starting from August 16th, 2014 and these commemorations will be marked annually for the next 5 years. The County Government of Taita Taveta is home to some of the most important battlefields of the war in East Africa.In Taita Taveta County, the Germans occupied Taveta and built fortified outposts with an intention of blocking the British from using the Voi-Taveta Railway. Among the German outposts, was the Salaita Hil where a big battled was fought on 12 February 1916 after which the Germans retreated towards the Kenya -Tanzania boarder.The other fortified German outposts were the Lotima and Riata Hills where a major battle was fought between 12th and 16th March 1916. These three hills and the sites of Mile 27, the fortifications near Maktau, the Mwashoti encampment and Mbuyuni are the First World War Battlefields in East Africa. Other important landmarks which are synonymous with the Great War are the Voi, Maktau and Taveta Commonwealth graves. There is also a tale of a German woman sniper who was bitterly avenging the death of her husband, shooting the British soldiers from a point inside a hollow baobab tree. This baobab is to date the most shot at the tree during the First World War as evident from all the bullets marks from the British as they tried to take her out. This baobab is still standing and is a very important part of the pre independence history of the County. These commemorations will be held in conjunction with the Kenya national museum, the Commonwealth graves authority,the Kenya Wildlife Services and many other stakeholders.[citation needed]


Official Anzac Day commemorations will be held at Gallipoli Turkey on 25 April 2015 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. For information on the commemorations including ballot arrangements for those planning to attend, visit the Gallipoli 2015 website [1]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the Imperial War Museum (IWM) is leading a national programme of commemorative events and is planning new galleries for the occasion ([15] In May 2010 the museum launched its First World War Centenary Partnership Programme.[16] Partner organisations receive access to IWM collections objects and expertise, and to digital resources, branding and a collaborative extranet.[17] By November 2011, 330 national and international organisations had become partners.[16] The museum will also open a new permanent First World War exhibition at its London branch, as part of a £35 million redevelopment of the building.[16]

In November 2011 it was announced that Prime Minister David Cameron had appointed Andrew Murrison MP as his special representative for First World War centenary commemorations.[18] On 11 October 2012, Cameron announced £50 million to fund national centenary commemorations. The anniversaries of Britain's declaration of war on Germany, the opening of the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Jutland, and the November 1918 Armistice will be marked by national commemorations. The redevelopment of the Imperial War Museum, where Cameron delivered his speech, will be supported by an additional £5 million. A further £5.3 million will fund visits to Western Front battlefields by pupils from English schools. The Heritage Lottery Fund will provide £15 million to community projects, led by young people, to conserve local heritage associated with the war. In addition the preservation of the former Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Caroline, which served at the Battle of Jutland, will be supported by a grant of up to a million pounds.[19]

The Heritage Lottery Fund is providing funding to educational projects in fields such as local history, online access to museums and archives, youth heritage projects, family history, the preservation of war memorials, and the conservation of historic artefacts.[20]

The BBC is planning a First World War centenary season of around 2,500 hours of television, radio and online programming over four years. The programming will include documentaries, drama, arts and music, commemorative programmes and programmes for children and schools.[21]

On 14 January 2014 the National Archives released a first batch of digitised British Army war diaries. The same day, the National Archives, together with Imperial War Museums and Zooniverse launched 'Operation War Diary', a crowdsourcing project to tag data on each diary page.[22]

International organisations[edit]

The European Union[edit]

The European Union will mark the occasion with a special meeting of Prime Ministers or Presidents of the 28 EU members in Ieper (Ypres) which will include the national leaders standing together at the Menin Gate while the Last Post is being played.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU)[edit]

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU)is organising a concert in Sarajevo with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It will take place in the library that has recently been renovated from the devastation of the 1990s wars of disintegration of Yugoslavia, and which is adjacent to the site of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, which triggered the war.


Europeana has three digital projects to commemorate the First World World across Europe. These will make a range of materials freely available on the web.

Red Cross[edit]

The Red Cross has an archive of records about the twenty million soldiers that were captured or buried by other countries. It plans to put all these paper records online for the centenary.[23]


  1. ^ Anzac centenary aiming high, 27 April 2012 
  2. ^ "Expo 14–18: It's Our History". Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sarajevo, heart of Europe". 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Fonet (7 February 2014). "Kusturica: Poništiti proces Principu". Politika. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  5. ^ French Embassy page, France preparing to mark First World War centenary.
  6. ^ "France to leave Britain behind with First World War centenary plans", Daily Telegraph, 30 Oct 2011 
  7. ^ Edward Rothstein (November 11, 2011), "Bringing the War Home", New York Times 
  8. ^ "Remembering WW1 – 100 years on | Be part of the WW1 Centenary | WW100 New Zealand". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  9. ^ "First World War centenary plans announced | Ministry for Culture and Heritage". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  10. ^ '+nick_name+' (2012-07-25). "Neill Atkinson: WWI is as close as history gets – National – NZ Herald News". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  11. ^ "Lottery Funding To Commemorate First World War Centenary | Scoop News". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  12. ^ "First World War Centenary Panel | WW100 New Zealand". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  13. ^ Kate Chapman (2012-07-07). "Diverse Group Plans WWI Centenary – national". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  14. ^ Kate Chapman. "Peter Jackson On War Centenary Commemoration Board...". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  15. ^ "Kate Middleton Pays Her Respect To New Imperial War Gallery", Artlyst, 28 Apr 2012 
  16. ^ a b c Lees, Diane (11 May 2012). "DCMS Blog: Marking the First World War’s centenary". Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Imperial War Museum (November 2011). "IWM launches the First World War Centenary logo". Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  18. ^ HM Government (2 November 2011). "Afternoon press briefing from 2 November 2011: Special representative for WWI commemorations". Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Plans to mark World War I centenary announced". HM Government. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Heritage Lottery Fund (November 2011). "Remembering the First World War". Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  21. ^ BBC (16 October 2013). "Marking the centenary of World War One across the BBC". Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  22. ^ BBC News (14 January 2014). "WW1 soldier diaries placed online by National Archives". Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Alexandra Williams (14 March 2009), "Unknown no longer: thousands of WW1 dead could at last be identified", Daily Mail 

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