On 11 November 2018, the British Embassy in Madrid and Consulates across Spain will mark the centenary of the Armistice by taking part in solemn acts of remembrance, but also by giving thanks – for the end of the war, for peace and for all those who returned to their families.
This year, the British and German Governments are promoting a special programme of bell ringing as a symbolic way of giving thanks for the end of war and remembering the importance of peace. In London, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of the German people in an historic act of reconciliation. It will be the first time a German leader will lay a wreath at the ceremony. The act marks the significance of the centenary, 100 years after the guns fell silent on the Western Front after four years of war.
Bells will be rung at many churches in Spain and the bilateral collaboration is also being marked in other ways. HMA Simon Manley and German Ambassador Wolfgang Dold will give readings at the Remembrance Day service at St George’s Church in Madrid. HMA will also attend an event at the German Ambassador’s Residence with the historian Dr Robert-Benjamin Gerwarth entitled “Cien años después, ¿Por qué Europa no encontró la paz después de la Primera Guerra Mundial?” (100 years after. Why has Europe not found peace after the First World War). In Barcelona, HM Consul Lloyd Milen is moderating a youth debate together with his French and German counterparts on “Perspectivas de la juventud europea 1918-2018” (Perspectives of European Youth 1918-2018).
HMA Simon Manley said: “As we remember the fallen on 11 November, it is important to reflect on the importance of reconciliation and explore how, especially at a time when some seek to provoke discord and intolerance, we can build bridges where others want to build walls.
As Europeans, we are bound together by our values, our shared memories of the continent’s history and our common aspirations for peace, security and prosperity. That is why I am pleased to be standing alongside my German counterpart on 11 November to mark reconciliation and the peace that exists between our two nations today.”
German Ambassador Wolfgang Dold said: “One hundred years ago, after unspeakable suffering on both sides of the trenches, the guns fell silent. But Europe still had a long way to go towards an era of lasting peace and democracy. It took great courage to speak of reconciliation only a few short years after the devastation of the First World War and the horrors of the Second World War. Today, as we jointly commemorate the fallen, we also stand up against those who yet again seek to open up divides amongst our peoples. It is up to us to keep up this formidable legacy of peace.”