They unveiled a plaque celebrating "The value of Franco-German reconciliation in the service of Europe and peace". It replaces the one that hitherto "The criminal pride of the German empire conquered by the free peoples he claimed to enslave".
Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel unveiled on Saturday, November 10 a plaque to commemorate the 1918 armistice, during a highly symbolic ceremony in the clearing of Rethondes (north) where was sealed the end of the First World War.
This is the first time since 1945 that the French president and the head of the German government meet in this memorial, located in a clearing of the forest of Compiegne. The armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, in a restaurant car, ending a conflict that killed 18 million people.
"Value of Reconciliation"
The ceremony was "Sober and without speech". The two leaders laid a wreath and unveiled a new plaque at the foot of the sacred Dalle monument, in the middle of the clearing, on which we read so far: "Here on November 11, 1918 succumbed the criminal pride of the German empire conquered by the free peoples he claimed enslaved.
The new inscription is, it, much less martial: "On the occasion of the centenary of the Armistice of November 11, 1918, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Mrs. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, reaffirmed here the value of the French reconciliation in the service of Europe and peace ».
Ceremony under the Arc de Triomphe
In the evening, the Macron, Trump, Merkel, and several other dignitaries will gather at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, for a visit to the exhibition dedicated to Picasso and a formal dinner on site, before the grand ceremony on Sunday morning under the Arc de Triomphe, culmination of the commemorations.
INFOGRAPHY – Chronology: the war of 14-18 step by step, the main stages of the conflict
The Cross (with AFP)