A silent landscape cratered with the scars of battle and a cemetery containing the remains of 130,000 unidentified soldiers are stark reminders of a 10-month battle that left 300,000 dead and endures as a reminder of the power of reconciliation.
The French and German leaders have attended a series of events to commemorate those killed in the WWI campaign. They used the occasion to urge increased European unity in the face of many challenges.
Berlin-based politicians have paid respects to Helmut Kohl at a requiem in the capital requested by fellow conservatives. The late chancellor's funeral, plus an EU ceremony in his honor, is scheduled for Saturday.
Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl will be buried in the southwestern town of Speyer, a site of symbolic importance to a statesman who was forever keen to be seen as putting Franco-German ties first.
Commemorations have been held in northern France to mark 'the pointlessness and savagery' of World War One's longest battle, at Verdun. It claimed 300,000 lives and ended after ten months in a stalemate in 1916.
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