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Last updated at 14:32 BST, Monday, 04 August 2014

WW1 centenary

Summary

4 August 2014

World leaders are gathering in Belgium for one of a number of ceremonies marking 100 years since Britain joined World War One. Germany will send a representative, but some historians have accused Germany of not taking the anniversary seriously enough.

Reporter:

Damien McGuinness

WW1 military cemetery in Belgium

Many British soldiers who fought in France are buried in the Ypres Cemetery in Belgium

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Germany's government has been criticised for not doing enough to commemorate the World War One centenary.

Germany has spent less on events than some other European countries. And the events which have taken place have been seen as half-hearted by critics.

Traditionally in Germany the First World War is overshadowed by the Second World War. History teaching in German schools tends to focus on the crimes of the Nazis rather than what happened a generation earlier.

And since 1945 there's been a strong aversion in Germany to anything that might be seen as glorifying militarism. So many people here are uncomfortable with any anniversary of a war or a battle.

There's still some disagreement among historians about who was responsible for World War One. But having spent the last 70 years atoning for Nazi guilt, many Germans have little appetite to now take on the blame for the First World War too.

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Vocabulary

commemorate

to remember something officially and with respect

half-hearted

showing no enthusiasm

overshadowed by

seen as less important than

aversion

strong dislike

glorifying

make something seem more impressive than it should be

militarism

the belief that a country needs a strong army in order to have political power

atoning for

showing you are sorry for something you did

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