This weekend, Europe commemorates the Battle of the Somme, and by extension, the 17 million people who died in World War I. Within 20 years, the Maginot Line would succeed the Hindenburg Line in maps and imaginations. Another generation of Europeans would die in the Marne, Verdun.
— Antigone Girl (@antigonegirl500) July 1, 2016
On the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme let us not think of the Little Englanders who voted “against foreigners” and to “take our country back.” Egged on as they were by opportunistic, shallow game playing politicos who understand little of the past and only care about their own future.
Rather let us think of the thousands of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh soldiers from India who held much of the Western Front before the Somme and gave Britain breathing space to mobilise, equip and train its own soldiers. Let us think of the Irish soldiers of the Ulster Regiment who at great cost were the only unit to achieve their objective and had to retreat from the salient they had created after a few days as the rest of the army could not advance. Let us think of the Irish, Canadian, Australian, Kiwi, Caribbean and African troops who left their blood in Flanders fields. And let us think of the Americans whose intervention in both wars allowed Britain to keep its freedom and whose soldiers bodies lie in Europe in mute witness.
— Catrin Nye (@CatrinNye) July 1, 2016
— ACE London (@ace__london) July 1, 2016
The seeds of World War II were sown, in no small part, in the humiliation of reparations under Versailles and the economic and political turmoil of 1920s/30s Weimar. But from the war’s 60 million-plus deaths, the EU was built. As a co-operative, a common market and a union of peoples, it has brought one of the longest periods of sustained peace and prosperity to our continent.
So let us now think of the European Union, a co-operative project between sovereign States founded with moral purpose which has kept Europe at peace for 70 years and supported 17 former dictatorships in becoming democracies .