Seventy years ago, the canons and guns could still be heard in Berlin. The next day they would be silenced.
On the 7th of May 1945 Germany surrendered and at this moment 70 years ago Europe was celebrating. An easy answer to why this war started cannot be given. But ignorance, arrogance, aggressivity and pride were some of the factors. It feels strange to think that pride and an idea of what is right can lead to millions of peoples death. To think that humanity is prepared to kill millions of its own kind.
When my great grandfather was still alive I was shown a front page of an old newspaper. It had a large picture: it was night, an artillery cannon fired towards a burning town. My great grandfather pointed at the young man at the cannon and said ”That’s me right there”. He was later in life never one who talked about how every young man needed military service – he had seen what war did with humans and he had seen its horrors. Today I can only feel blessed that I do not need to go to war, or call my people to war. It is my greatest wish that my children and their children never gets decorated for acts done in battle – that they will not experience war.
Because of this wish of mine, this day is so important. We can never let such a war happen again. No matter what your political direction might be it is impossible to ignore the importance of the European Union and the keeping of peace in Europe.
Nationalism can taste lovely, but if you drink too much your judgement might be clouded and your vision not so clear. It is my belief that nationalism should not govern nations – humanism and understanding should.
Finally, I would like to wish you all a peaceful day and please send a thought to those who are not as lucky and not living in peace.
HRH Archduke Christoph II