2014: 100 years since the start of World War I

Norwegian Peace Council together with International Peace Bureau would like to mark in 2014 First World War 100th Anniversary.

The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (WWI) takes place in just over two years. It was the first war fought with weapons of mass destruction, and saw the involvement of civilians to an unprecedented extent. The war totally changed the geo-political landscape, marked the beginning of the confrontation of political systems, and was waged as a technological struggle of mass destruction. Several other historic elements can be traced back to this mass slaughter and its political, economic and strategic consequences. Since WWI and the Treaty of Versailles led to a major redistribution of political control (collapse of empires, carve-up of Middle East and other regions..) and its outcome is often seen as one of the main causes of WWII – its anniversary demands great attention from the international peace movement. The commemorations due to take place in 2014, and subsequent years, will be about war and peace; about hegemony and the re-organisation of the world; about the importance of asserting firm anti-war positions and about the failure of the international peace movement…and together we could list many more dimensions.

Already governments and other official-level bodies are planning extensive commemorations of the centenary, both nationally and on the European level. The EU Commission has set up its own working group at President Barroso’s request; a similar working group exists in the Federal Chancellery of Germany.

Numerous exhibitions, books, films and other projects are in the making. Peace perspectives need to be heard, especially in the mass-media debates, and in productions aimed at informing young people.