Remembering the First World War

A hundred years ago, the First World War broke out. The assassination of the Austrian successor to the throne Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 was the starting signal of the “war to end war”. The bitter experiences and outcome of World War One and yet another World War on top of that, just 20 years later, led to the “European Peace Project”, which became embodied most significantly in the European Union.
Eyewitnesses are now dying of old age now, memories are fading rapidly and we must ask ourselves the difficult question, how to remember the 20th century, which was scarred by war and totalitarianism. Especially for Christians this is an intriguing question, since our religion is founded on a significant, all-encompassing historic memory.
Something that World War One left us are the famous “war poets”, who in art wanted to overcome their often horrific experiences of war. See The First World War Poetry Digital Archive at the University of Oxford.
This portrait shows painter-poet Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918), who is considered by some as the best of the British war poets. Rosenbergs parents fled Dvinsk, now Latvia, because of the persecution of Jews in tzarist Russia.

A Mystic as Soldier by late in life Roman Catholic convert Siegfried Sassoon
I lived my days apart,
Dreaming fair songs for God;
By the glory in my heart
Covered and crowned and shod.

Now God is in the strife,
And I must seek Him there,
Where death outnumbers life,
And fury smites the air.

I walk the secret way
With anger in my brain.
O music through my clay,
When will you sound again?