Bataille de la Somme et de Verdun : déjà 100 ans …

Après un premier projet « Etre un jeune européen en 1914-2014 » réalisé un groupe de lycéens du Werdenfels Gymnasium de Garmisch Partenkirchen et du lycée Ozanam de Lille, un deuxième projet est né en cette période de centenaire de la Première Guerre Mondiale : Se rendre ensemble sur les lieux des deux grandes batailles emblématiques de l’année 1916 : Verdun, et la Somme. Après un premier travail réalisé au CDI pour se remémorer, et se documenter sur ces deux événements (et une visite de Lille pour les jeunes allemands), nous sommes partis, une vingtaine de lycéens et quatre enseignants franco-allemands, sur les champs de bataille de la Somme (circuit du souvenir). La visite du cimetière allemand de Fricourt, et du mémorial de Thiepval ont été un des moments forts de cette journée, qui s’est terminée par la visite de l’Historial de Péronne. Autre champs de bataille les deux jours suivants : Verdun. Visite du fort de Douaumont, et de l’ossuaire la première après midi. Ces milliers d’ossements, anonymes… d’hommes dont on ne sait ni le nom, ni la nationalité, reposant ensemble. Après une soirée et une nuit au centre d’hébergement de Madines, le deuxième jour fut consacré à la visite du mémorial de Verdun, réouvert depuis peu, afin d’avoir un véritable aperçu de la bataille… et de ce qu’ont pu vivre des centaines de milliers de combattants, mais aussi les civils de villages environnants aujourd’hui disparus.  La dernière journée, à Garmisch, a permis aux jeunes de faire le point sur cette semaine en travaillant ensemble au Werdenfels Gymnasium, et de profiter l’après midi d’une superbe journée ensoleillée à Garmisch Partenkirchen. Cent ans après… la réconciliation franco allemande, immortalisée par la célèbre poignée de main entre Helmut Kohl et Français Mitterrand à Verdun en 1984, fut véritablement vécue par ces jeunes français et allemands, ces jeunes européens de demain.

Cent ans plus tôt, il en était… tout autrement….

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Vous pouvez retrouver les articles du premier projet « Etre un jeune européen en 1914-2014« 
dans les pages Archives

Summary of the visit

On sunday : The German pupil went to France (Lille), they arrived at 8.00 PM on Sunday and got recieved by their families where they spent the night.

On monday, we started school at 8.30 am and presented ourselfs, than we had to work in groups on the First World War to learn things about what we would be visiting in the week and then we went visiting Lille to see a few monuments and had free period where girls went shopping and boys stayed talking together.

 

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On thusday we went to Peronne where we saw a mine hole from the first world war, it was more than 30m of perimiter, and then visited different cemeteries where were lying English, French and German soldiers who had died during the battle of Somme.

 

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On Wednesday we left Lille by bus to go to Verdun where we visited „l’ossuaire de Douaumont“ and the Fort where soldiers defended Verdun during the war, then we went in a cottage where we slept for one night.

 

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On thursday we went to the memorial of verdun where ther was a lot of objects and documents about this terrible battle. Then we took the bus to go back to Germany, we slept in our families.

 

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On Friday we woke up and went to school at 8,3
0 am, where we had to write a summary of what we did during the week and in the afternoon we did a football together, visited a little bit Garmisch and ate alltogether before going to bed to sleep;

On  Saturday… go back to France by bus…

By Leonard, Selin and Jean

Historial and Memorial

 

France, Meuse, Fleury devant Douaumont, Verdun Memorial built on the site of the destroyed village railway station, monument designed by veterans headed by Maurice Genevoix who was severely wounded at the front

Memorial de Verdun

«Ce Mémorial a été édifié par les survivants de Verdun, en souvenir de leurs camarades tombés dans la bataille pour que ceux qui viennent se recueillir et méditer aux lieux mêmes de leur sacrifice, comprennent l’idéal et la foi qui les ont inspirés et soutenus.»  Maurice Genevoix

Maurice Genevoix, ancien combattant, cree en 1967 le Mémorial de Verdun. Il retrace l´histoire de la plus célèbre bataille de le première guerre mondiale. Apres plus de quatre décennies d’existence, une modernisation du bâtiment était nécessaire pour réparer les affres du temps et refondre la muséographie afin de créer un lien nouveau avec les jeunes générations. Le Mémorial a donc fermé ses portes en septembre 2013 pour entamer des travaux d’agrandissement et de rénovation. C’est totalement renouvelé et agrandi que le Mémorial a rouvert le 21 février 2016 pour le centenaire de la bataille. La nouvelle scénographie, qui mêle pédagogie et émotion, plonge les visiteurs au cœur de la Grande Guerre et du champ de bataille franco-allemand.

Traduit en anglais et en allemand, le parcours du nouveau Mémorial place le visiteur au cœur du champ de bataille.  Le rez-de-chaussée est dédié à l’expérience des combattants en première ligne. Au premier étage, les visiteurs entrent dans l’environnement de la bataille et les contextes des pays en guerre. Le champ de bataille se découvre ensuite depuis les terrasses du dernier étage. Les visiteurs peuvent y décrypter les traces de la bataille dans le paysage environnant.

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Das Museum in der Nähe von Verdun ist gleichzeitig eine Gedenkstätte an den 1.Weltkrieg (1914-1918). Das Museum wurde vor kurzem nach einem Umbau am 21. Februar 2016 wiedereröffnet.

So konnten wir das neu eingerichtete Museum besichtigen, dass durch die vielen Informationstafeln, Ausstellungsgegenstände und Filme sehr anschaulich gestaltet ist.

Im ersten Raum wird eine kurze Übersicht über den 1.Weltkrieg gegeben. Nebenbei wird noch ein kurzer Film über den Frontverlauf des gesamten Krieges gezeigt. Danach ging es gleich zur Waffentechnik der Artillerie der Deutschen und Franzosen. Hier sollte erwähnt werden, dass die ersten Kanonen und Haubitzen per Pferd zum gewünschten Ausgangspunkt gebracht wurden. Es waren zwischen 6 und 8 Pferde nötig um diese Geschütze zu bewegen. Es werden aber auch die kleineren Waffen, wie das Maschinengewehr, ausgestellt und eine Tafel vergleicht die verschiedenen Waffen auf beiden Seiten (deutscher und französischer). Aber es wird auch die Logistik beider Seiten verglichen. Während auf der Deutschen nur Munition und Vorräte verladen werden, da die Soldaten sich gleich im Hinterland der Front erholen müssen, werden auf der Französischen auch die Soldaten verladen. Dadurch büßen die Franzosen Platz zur Verladung von anderen Dingen ein. Aber für die Versorgung von verletzten Soldaten setzten sie mehrere mobile Krankenstationen ein. Diese waren optimal zur Versorgung der Verletzten ausgestattet. Aber auch viele Feldärzte waren auf beiden Seiten im Einsatz. Diese mussten vielen erschreckenden Wunden , Infektionen und Krankheiten standhalten. Viele Krankheiten wurden durch die äußeren Umstände begünstigt, z. B. durch die kargen Mahlzeiten oder durch den Schlamm und die Nässe die in den Stellungsgräben herrschte. Zum Schluss wurden die Stellungen der Deutschen durch die Neuheit Panzer von den Franzosen überrannt, aber auch zu dieser Zeit wurde zum ersten Mal Luftangriffe geflogen. Deutschland kapitulierte am 11. November 1918.

Historial de la grande guerre Péronne

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L’Historial de la Grande Guerre est une clé d’entrée du Circuit du Souvenir. Construit par le Conseil départemental de la Somme en 1992, l’Historial, musée de la Grande Guerre est ancré au château médiéval : il est une transition harmonieuse entre les vestiges du passé et une audacieuse construction contemporaine : l’architecte Édouard Henri Ciriani le décrit comme : « Un parcours symbolique de la guerre à la paix ». 

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L’Historial est un musée saisissant et somptueux mais en même temps il inspire l’humilité et la pudeur. Il nous offre un regard comparatif et objectif des douloureuses expériences des trois principaux belligérants dans la chronologie historique.

Il décrit avec retenue, afin de laisser libre l’imagination dans toute la perception émotionnelle du visiteur, la vie et la souffrance humaine dans sa dimension universelle.

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Au détour d’objets, nous découvrons la petite histoire de nos aïeux qui ont fait l’histoire avec un grand H.

Les collections riches de plus de 1600 objets exposés et la qualité des expositions temporaires nous éclairent sur les dimensions historique et militaire du premier conflit mondial mais l’Historial est aussi un musée des sociétés.

 

par Sophie et Gizem

Contemporary witness reports of the great war

The following lines are from letters, written by an english soldier, sent to his family.

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Dear Mother

just a line to let you know that I am getting on alright. I hope you are the same. I am sorry I did not write before. We are so busy that I have had no time. We are confined to barracks so I can not get a stamp… I hope Tommy and Archie Hammond are all right. Give my love to Kitty, Lillie, Maggie, Freddy and Ted. I hope Dad is quite well… I thank you for forgiving me. I know I don’t deserve it. Tell Auntie Tot and Uncle Bob that I am getting on fine. Is Uncle Bob been called up yet? We are calling all our Reservists up and those on leave. This is all at present.

I remain your loving son, Stephen

The following lines are from letters, written by a french  soldier sent to his family.

The author Coquelin de Lisle, commander of the 255th. Infantry-brigade, died at Juni 11th 1916 at Fleury, Verdun :

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My Marie,

it was god’s willing; this letter will be the last one, you will read! I write this letter, after i got the order, to lead an attack, wich will cost many lives – maybe also mine.

I’m glad to give my life to france, i worked my hole live for it’s size and it’s strength. I will fade away as a christ, after I’ve done my religious duty…

Those letters show, that the soldiers sacrifice their lives for their countries.

The war was horrible for everyone and took to many lifes at each side.

By Florian and Andreas

Two days in Verdun

1. Douaumont :  The ossuary

The ossuary of Douaumont for the bones of the dead, which could not be identified after the Battle of Verdun. The remains of more than 130,000 unidentified French and German soldiers are kept in it.

 

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2. Le Fort de Douaumont

The fort was part of the outer line of defense of the fortress from the 19th century, which consisted of eleven forts and 23 intermediate stations. The fort was built from 1885 to 1913 in two expansion and conversion steps in the overall concept of General Séré de Rivières. Today, about 200,000 people a year visit the Fort and the nearby Douaumont Ossuary and the military cemetery of Verdun. Fort de Douaumont was the largest and highest fort on the ring of 19 large defensive forts protecting the city of Verdun since the 1890s. Construction work started in 1885 near the village of Douaumont on some of the highest ground in the area. Over subsequent years, the fort was continually reinforced until 1913.

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3. Memorial de Verdun (1914-1918)

The Verdun Memorial is a war memorial to commemorate the Battle of Verdun, fought in 1916 as part of the First World War. It is situated on the battlefield, close to the destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont in the département of Meuse in north-eastern France.

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By Annalena Geiger, Melinda Genc (9b) and Quentin Defontaine (2nd 4A)

Battle of the Somme

Tuesday, 26th April 2016 we started our trip to Albert. We had our first stop at a giant hole, the Lochnagar mine.
A tunnel was dug under the „Schwabenhöhe“ and was filled with explosives. Overthere many German soldiers stayed waiting for the attack of the British, but they were killed, when the ammonal explosives burst under them.
Today the hole has a diameter of 91 meters and a deepness of 21 meters .

 

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Then we continued our route and looked at a golden statue of Madonna, at the top oft he Albert’s church.
The statue had an important meaning for the French , they said: “The war will be finished in the same year the Madonna is shot and falls down of the roof top.“

Afterwards we went to Fricourt and visited one of the many cemeteries, which are around the battlefield, where around 12 thousands German soldiers, who had fallen in the battle of the Somme, are buried.

After this we saw a very huge and impressive monument showing names of fallen soldiers.

 

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At the end of our tour we visited a museum, the historical of the great world war, which shows some facts about the Battle of the Somme.
Almost 20,000 men were killed on the first day, the 1st of July 1916.
It started with the usual preliminary bombardment. Lasting five days and involving 1,350 guns and 52,000 tonnes of explosives fired onto the German lines.
The Battle of the Somme was designed to relieve the pressure on the French suffering at Verdun. Most soldiers had received only minimal training and many had still to grasp the skill of shooting accurately.
On Saturday 1 July 1916, the first of seventeen mines was detonated; a huge explosion on the German lines at Hawthorn Ridge . The advance started ten minutes later. The massive explosions certainly alerted the German defenders to what was about to come.
To the right of the British, a smaller French force, transferred from Verdun. As ordered, the men advanced in rigid lines. The bombardment combined with heavy rain had ensured that the ground was akin to a sea of mud.
What followed went down as the worse day in British military history and perhaps in the history of warfare – 57,000 men fell on that first day alone, 19,240 of them dead.
On 14 July, following a partially successful nighttime attack , the British sent horses in the cavalry. But the horses became bogged down in the mud, the Germans opened fire and few survived, either horse or man.
On 15 September, Haig introduced the modern equivalent of the cavalry onto the battlefield – the tank, which got originated in Britain. Despite advice to wait for more testing, Haig had insisted on their use at the Somme. He got his way and the introduction of 32 tanks met with mixed results – many broke down but a few managed to penetrate German lines. Haig was impressed and immediately ordered a thousand more.
Soldiers from every part of the Empire were thrown into the melee – Australian, Canadian, New Zealanders, Indian and South African all took their part.
The battle finally terminated on 18 November, after 140 days of fighting. 400,000 British and Commonwealth lives were lost, 200,000 French and 400,000 German.The Germans, having been pushed; however the Allies hadn’t got more than 10 kilometres of land.

By Simon, Severin, Charles and Moritz

English, German and French War Cemeteries

German Cemeteries  :

Fricourt Cemetery : We went tot he Fricourt german cemetrry, where 11.700 soldiers rest in peace.  The crosses are black, with the name of one to for soldiers. The jewish soldiers have a special monument.

 

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German graves in Fricourt
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French Cemeteries :    

 

The „Ossuaire et nécropole de Douaumont“

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The crosses were made of white stones: more than 16.000 soldiers rest in peace…

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Muslims french soldiers grave

British Cemeteries :

 Thiepval memorial :

The Somme Memorial, erected in 1932 by the British government, is dedicated to the 73,367 British and South African soldiers missing in action between July 1915 and March 1918 and who have no known graves.

 

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On the left side of this Picture you can see a british Cemetary, and on the right, there is a french one.

 

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War dead are commemorated uniformly and equally, irrespective of military or civil rank, race or creed. This one is from an unknown soldier.

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By Gabriel and Luca

Lochnagar crater

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The crater is near the village La Boisselle, in the french Département Somme. It arised because of an explosion in the first world war on the first of July 1916 at 7:28 am. The british special detachement dug a tunnel from the british camp  16 meters underneath the german appointment „Schwabenhöhe“.They begun diging in November 1915 and finished in march 1916. They put 26,8 t explosive agent in two chambers connected with corridors under the german front. To this moment it was the greatest man-made explosion in the militarily history. The ground and debris were thrown 1200 meters high.at the same time there were 16 other explosions in the circumference of La Boiselle.

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The british soldiers attacked the german camp after the detonation but they waisted to much time between the explosion and the attack. Therefore they escaped into the crater, but this was their own death sentence, because the crater was easy and often attacked by the german soldiers. It was a big masacre for british armee. This day is still the most horrible day in the history of the british military.

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Every year on the first of  july at 7:28 am is at the crater a commemoration ceremony for the fallen soldiers.

On the wooden path around the crater are rolls of honour.

 

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The crater is 91 meters wide and 21 meters deep and therefore the biggest man-made hole ever.

By Theresa and Luisa

Press articles of the Project

Article  of Croix du Nord Mars 2015

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Article  of Garmisch newspaper 2015

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Article of Garmisch newspaper 25/05/2014

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Radio report on the exhibition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 

Radio Oberland May 2014

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Second article  Nord Eclair  27/03/14

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First article of the first meeting between the teachers

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