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Excerpts of French, German speeches commemorating WWI’s end

November 11, 2018
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron hold hands after leaving books at the peace library of the Paris Peace Forum as part of the commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. International leaders attended a ceremony in Paris on Sunday at mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. (Gonzalo Fuentes, Pool via AP)

PARIS (AP) — Excerpts from speeches by the leaders of former enemies France and Germany, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, at events Sunday commemorating the centennial of the World War I armistice .

MACRON

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. In saying ‘our interests first, whatever happens to the others,’ you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it lives, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values.”

___

“I know, the old demons are resurging, ready to finish off their work of chaos and death. New ideologies manipulate religions, push a contagious obscurantism. Sometimes, history threatens to retake its tragic course and threaten our heritage of peace that we believed we had definitively settled with our ancestors’ blood.”

___

“For four years, Europe almost committed suicide. Humanity had sunk into a hideous labyrinth of merciless battles, in a hell that engulfed all fighters, whichever side they were on, whatever nationality they had ... 10 million dead, 6 million injured and mutilated, 3 million widows, 6 million orphans, millions of civilian victims.”

MERKEL

“This war, with its senseless bloodshed, showed where national arrogance and military hubris can lead. And it made clear what disastrous consequences a lack of compromise in politics and diplomacy can have.”

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“It’s anything but self-evident” that Germany and France should have such friendship now, “especially after the suffering that Germans caused to their neighbor, to Europe and the world in two world wars.”

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“The First World War showed us what kind of ruin isolationism can lead us into. And if seclusion wasn’t a solution 100 years ago, how could it be so today?”

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