MEMORIAL OF CAEN -FRANCE
CAEN's MEMORIAL FOR PEACE
"More Space for Peace" and in fact "More space for War"
By Didier BERTIN - 15 JUNE 2010
NB 28 OCT 2012: THIS ARTICLE WILL BE UPDATED TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT THE DISPROPORTIONATE IMPORTANCE GIVEN BY THE MEMORIAL OF CAEN TO THE OVERLORD OPERATION IN THE VICTORY
The Memorial of Caen was created in 1988 in one of the most destroyed big City of Normandy following the D Day‘s operations. On the basis of memory of War, the Memorial was normally dedicated to Peace.
Peace is an important issue in Europe which built a Union of countries on the ground of destruction. Today Europe is achieved and knows the hurdles that any Nation has to overcome and the former worst enemies France and Germany became the closest partners of Europe.
In fact, the Memorial was essentially showing the war in Europe, the landing and the Normandy Battle essential to build the Victory against Nazism. The sole symbol of Peace is a sculpture of a destroyed gun in the Garden of the Memorial.
The History basis is one sided with no major consideration for the attempts to prevent the war by three men who received the Peace Nobel Prize but who were not heard in due time. The Nazis needed first to destroy the Republic of Weimar and we may wonder if we should not have helped much more this dying Republic as this was attempted by three holders of the Nobel Prizes of Peace.
I send a report in this way in January 2010 to request more space for Peace in the Memorial which has an international importance.
At the beginning of May an advertising campaign was organized by the Memorial which still indicates that from the beginning of May the Memorial will give more space to Peace.
I-Why more space for Peace is indicated in the advertising campaign?
Only because the Memorial includes now a small discreet room at the end of a long corridor, which is dedicated to contemporary caricature drawings on the War and a few illustrations of Human Rights. This is a small exhibition called "spots of opinion."
Of course this does not meet at all my expectations
II-Why "in fact" a lot more space for the War, in my opinion?
Because now the Memorial includes an additional large room with access on the main entrance dedicated again to the landing and to the Battle of Normandy.
Because the large spaces dedicated to the conflict itself were entirely reorganized and new comments were written.
Because the conflict is now fairly presented beyond the borders of Europe, since the war and victims outside Europe were formerly forgotten by the Memorial.
Because ethnic slaughters and Holocaust has now a more proper space, since the Memorial was surprisingly relatively discreet on Holocaust.
III - Always as small space for the spirit of Peace and Union
The sculpture of a destroyed gun in the garden of the Memorial is not sufficient to educate minds to Peace and Union Spirit. It is more proper to educate minds to spirit of Peace and Union by showing how Nationalism and revenge will involved that we missed opportunities to avoid war and make people deaf to the voices of the visionaries of Peace and Union.
We must take our responsibilities since our space is now Europe and Germany our closest partner.
I have suggested that we underline why the mechanism of Peace failed since the Memorial is dedicated to Peace.
I have proposed that we explain the history of Weimar Republic and of the adverse effects on Peace of the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles as this done very briefly but very clearly in the Canadian Museum of Juno Beach.
I also suggest that the memory of Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann be honored. They both received for their efforts in favour of Peace the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1926.
They worked together in favour of the Republic of Weimar to enable it to resist to Hitler's pressure and to build a friendship between France and Germany.
Charles Dawes, vice President of USA and 1925 Nobel Peace Prize also helped Gustav Stresemann as well as the American citizen Owen Young. All these efforts were a peaceful way to indirectly resist to Hitler and then to War. But all these holders of Nobel Peace Prices were not sufficiently heard.
In the Memorial, the walls of the slope leading to rooms dedicated to the conflict itself, few pictures are hanged with very brief descriptions. On a picture of Gustav Stresemann we may read in tiny letters that he was a German minister in favour of friendship with France. On another picture we can guess if we know his face the presence of Aristide Briand in the middle of other people at the League of Nations. Then we may see a picture of Rethondes and of the ceremony of Versailles ‘Treaty.
The Treaty of Versailles is described in only two lines that we can understand only if we know it already. It is simply written:
"The young Weimar Republic was forced to sign a humiliating peace without concessions that Germans called Diktat." The few words of the Canadian museum are clearer.
In Versailles, Chauvinism, Nationalism, stubbornness, obstinacy, spirit of revenge, short-termism, nineteenth century spirit and an unrealistic thirst of money prepared the Second World War.