"Their history becomes our history "
A National Monument
Franco-German remembrance site and meeting place
HARTMANNSWILLERKOPF LE VIEIL ARMAND
In these years of commemoration of the World War 1, the memory of our veterans is becoming history, our history, in France, in Germany, and all over the world.
Do we need reminding that this war was a global conflict which plunged all our societies into horror, deprivation and sacrifice?
If you walk around Hartmannswillerkopf/Vieil Armand today, you will be struck by the calm and majesty of this site with its beautiful and bountiful natural surroundings.
Imagine the same site, but this time with ravaged and smoking forests, you will still be a long way from the infernal scenes of the time.
The calm and beauty of all these remembrance sites make you forget that a cruel war was fought here a century ago which crushed a whole generation of men, just like Chronos devouring his children. This carnage was given the name “Great War” in the United Kingdom. We have to understand “great” in terms of the pain and sacrifices made by thousands of young soldiers fighting in the mud and dirt for a pyrrhic victory often measured in feet. Hartmannswillerkopf, now a remembrance site in a natural location, was once an inhuman battlefield, a mountain that “devoured men”. This website has not been designed in a spirit of repentance, nostalgia or attachment to the past. The intention is to show a piece of history which is common to so many peoples and present an important Franco-German site, Hartmannswillerkopf, which played a major role in History.
It is in the light of the commemoration of the First World War that we realise how lucky we are to live in a Europe which is peaceful and continuing to develop, and in a world which is on the whole at peace, even if bellicose impulses and conflicts threaten this stability. As you walk along the paths of Hartmannswillerkopf with their Information pannels, you will no doubt meditate on the destiny of these soldiers and on the messages of peace, fraternity and hope which they give us.
President of the Hartmannswillerkopf National Monument Committee