Wartime tragedy still resonates

Dr Tim Blakemore, a former senior law lecturer at the University of Northampton who now lives in France, examines why the country places such emphasis on remembering the First and Second World Wars

May 8 is the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and, while it is difficult to object to commemorations for the end of the hostilities and the horrors of the conflict, does France overdo its memorials?

All over France, solemn ceremonies will take place, but the emphasis of these memorials is suggested by the title of the annual public holiday: Victoire 1945.

There are rarely such events in Britain, let alone any mention of “victory” as the theme, despite the date being known as VE (Victory in Europe) Day. There were tributes in 1995 and 2015, to mark the 50th and 70th anniversaries respectively, but in France May 8 is a national ...

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