In remembering WWI, world warned of resurging 'old demons'

In remembering WWI, world warned of resurging 'old demons'
(From L) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Morocco's Prince Moulay Hassan, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove attend a ceremony the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, as part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP) (Ludovic Marin)

PARIS (AP) — World leaders with the power to make war but a duty to preserve peace solemnly marked the end of World War I's slaughter 100 years ago at commemorations Sunday that drove home the message "never again" but also exposed the globe's new political fault lines.

As Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and dozens of other heads of state and government listened in silence, French President Emmanuel Macron used the occasion, as its host, to sound a powerful and sobering warning about the fragility of peace and the dangers of nationalism and of nations that put themselves first, above the collective good.

"The old demons are rising again, ready to complete their task of chaos and of death," Macron said.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism," he said. "In saying 'Our interests first, whatever happens to the others,' you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values."

Trump, ostensibly the main target of Macron's message, sat stony-faced. The American president has proudly declared himself a nationalist. But if Trump felt singled out by Macron's remarks, he didn't show it. He later described the commemoration as "very beautiful."

U.S. President Donald Trump visits the Suresnes American Cemetery, near Paris, as part of the Paris commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, France, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Christian Hartmann/Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. President Donald Trump visits the Suresnes American Cemetery, near Paris, as part of the Paris commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, France, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Christian Hartmann/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

As well as spelling out the horrific costs of conflict to those with arsenals capable of waging a World War III, the ceremony also served up a joyful reminder of the intense sweetness of peace, when high school students read from letters that soldiers and civilians wrote 100 years ago when guns finally fell silent on the Western Front.

French President Emmanuel Macron pays his respects by the Tomb of the Unknown soldier during in a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, as part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron pays his respects by the Tomb of the Unknown soldier during in a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, as part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

Brought alive again by people too young to have known global war themselves, the ghostly voices seemed collectively to say: Please, do not make our mistakes.

President Donald Trump sits in front of headstones during an American Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, at Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris. Trump is attending centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the Armistice that ended World War I. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Donald Trump sits in front of headstones during an American Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, at Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris. Trump is attending centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the Armistice that ended World War I. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP)

"I only hope the soldiers who died for this cause are looking down upon the world today," American soldier Capt. Charles S. Normington wrote on Nov. 11, 1918, in one of the letters. "The whole world owes this moment of real joy to the heroes who are not here to help enjoy it."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, center, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, right, attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Remembrance Sunday is held each year to commemorate the service men and women who fought in past military conflicts. 2018 marks the centenary of the armistice and cessation of hostilities in WWI, which ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,1918. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, center, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, right, attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Remembrance Sunday is held each year to commemorate the service men and women who fought in past military conflicts. 2018 marks the centenary of the armistice and cessation of hostilities in WWI, which ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,1918. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) (AP)

The Paris weather — gray and damp — seemed aptly fitting when remembering a war fought in mud and relentless horror.

French President Emmanuel Macron re-lights the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Benoit Tessier/Pool Photo via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron re-lights the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Benoit Tessier/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

The commemorations started late, overshooting the centenary of the exact moment when, 100 years earlier at 11 a.m., an eerie silence replaced the thunder of war on the front lines. Macron recalled that 1 billion shells fell on France alone from 1914-1918 .

Heads of states and world leaders attend ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
Heads of states and world leaders attend ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool) (AP)

As bells marking the armistice hour rang across Paris and in many nations ravaged by the four years of carnage, Macron and other leaders were still on their way to the centennial site at the Arc de Triomphe.

President Donald Trump speaks during an American Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, at Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris. Trump is attending centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the Armistice that ended World War I. In rear is the Paris landmark the Eiffel Tower. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Donald Trump speaks during an American Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, at Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris. Trump is attending centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the Armistice that ended World War I. In rear is the Paris landmark the Eiffel Tower. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP)

Under a sea of black umbrellas, a line of leaders led by Macron and his wife, Brigitte, marched in silence on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees, after dismounting from their buses.

The motorcade of President Donald Trump drives up the Champs Elysees to an Armistice Day Centennial Commemoration at the Arc de Triomphe, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, in Paris. As he was arriving, at least one woman ran out toward the presidential motorcade with slogans — including the word FAKE — written on her chests. The woman was tackled by police and the motorcade continued uninterrupted. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The motorcade of President Donald Trump drives up the Champs Elysees to an Armistice Day Centennial Commemoration at the Arc de Triomphe, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, in Paris. As he was arriving, at least one woman ran out toward the presidential motorcade with slogans — including the word FAKE — written on her chests. The woman was tackled by police and the motorcade continued uninterrupted. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP)

Trump arrived separately, in a motorcade that drove past three topless protesters with anti-war slogans on their chests who somehow got through the rows of security and were quickly bundled away by police. The Femen group claimed responsibility. French authorities said the three women faced charges of sexual exhibitionism. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited security protocols for the presidential motorcade's solo trip down the grand flag-lined avenue, which was closed to traffic.

Cadets form the New York military academy wait near the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. More than 60 heads of state and government are in France for the Armistice ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
Cadets form the New York military academy wait near the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. More than 60 heads of state and government are in France for the Armistice ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool) (AP)

Last to arrive was the Russian president, Putin, who shook Trump's hand and flashed him a thumbs-up. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was positioned in pride of place between Trump and Macron, an eloquent symbol of victors and vanquished now standing together, shoulder to shoulder. Overhead, fighter jets ripped through the sky, trailing red, white and blue smoke in homage to the French flag.

President Donald Trump and his first lady Melania Trump attend ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
President Donald Trump and his first lady Melania Trump attend ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool) (AP)

The geographical spread of the more than 60 heads of state and government who attended, silent and reflective, showed how the "war to end all wars" left few corners of the earth untouched but which, little more than two decades later, was followed so quickly and catastrophically by the even deadlier World War II.

French President's Emmanuel Macron's wife Brigitte and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
French President's Emmanuel Macron's wife Brigitte and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool) (AP)

On the other side of the globe, Australia and New Zealand held ceremonies to recall how the war killed and wounded soldiers and civilians in unprecedented numbers and in gruesome new, mechanized ways.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, right, welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. International leaders are taking place in a ceremony in Paris on Sunday at mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, right, welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. International leaders are taking place in a ceremony in Paris on Sunday at mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) (AP)

Those countries lost tens of thousands of soldiers far away in Europe and, most memorably in the 1915 battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey. In central London, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, clad in black, watched from a balcony as her son Prince Charles laid a wreath on her behalf at the foot of the Cenotaph memorial that honors the fallen. Britain had 880,000 military dead in the war.

Military officer Garcia plays the original Armistice bugle from 1918 under the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. More than 60 heads of state and government are in France for the Armistice ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
Military officer Garcia plays the original Armistice bugle from 1918 under the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. More than 60 heads of state and government are in France for the Armistice ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool) (AP)

The gulf between Trump's "America First" credo and European leaders was starkly underscored again later Sunday, when Trump went his own way.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte wait for guests in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. More than 60 heads of state and government are in France for the Armistice ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte wait for guests in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. More than 60 heads of state and government are in France for the Armistice ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) (AP)

He visited an American cemetery outside Paris at precisely the moment that Macron, Merkel and other dignitaries were opening a peace forum where the French leader again sounded the alarm about crumbling international harmony as he ruminated about the legacy of the morning's commemorations.

A cemetery employee walks between graves of American serviceman killed during WWI ahead of celebrations of the WWI centenary at the American Cemetery in Suresnes, on the outskirts of Paris, France, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. World War I ended on Nov. 11, 1918. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A cemetery employee walks between graves of American serviceman killed during WWI ahead of celebrations of the WWI centenary at the American Cemetery in Suresnes, on the outskirts of Paris, France, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. World War I ended on Nov. 11, 1918. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (AP)

"Will it be the shining symbol of durable peace between nations or will it be a picture of a last moment of unity before the world goes down in new disorder?" Macron asked. "It depends only on us."

French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron arrive at the official dinner on the eve of the international ceremony for the Centenary of the WWI Armistice of 11 November 1918 at the Orsay Museum, in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Ian Langsdon/Pool Photo via AP)
French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron arrive at the official dinner on the eve of the international ceremony for the Centenary of the WWI Armistice of 11 November 1918 at the Orsay Museum, in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Ian Langsdon/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

While praising France for "a wonderful two days," Trump described his rainy stop at the American cemetery at Suresnes as "the highlight of the trip."

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan arrive at the official dinner on the eve of the international ceremony for the Centenary of the WWI Armistice of 11 November 1918 at the Orsay Museum, in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Ian Langsdon/Pool Photo via AP)
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan arrive at the official dinner on the eve of the international ceremony for the Centenary of the WWI Armistice of 11 November 1918 at the Orsay Museum, in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Ian Langsdon/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)

On Saturday, Trump drew criticism for canceling a separate commemorative visit to the Belleau Wood battleground northeast of Paris because of rain.

WWI death toll compared with other modern conflicts
WWI death toll compared with other modern conflicts (AP)

Remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of chemical weapons, WWI pitted the armies of France, the British empire, Russia and the U.S. against a German-led coalition that included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. Almost 10 million soldiers died, sometimes tens of thousands on a single day.

President Donald Trump, left, is accompanied by Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, William Matz as he arrives for an American Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, at Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris. Trump is attending centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the Armistice that ended World War I. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Donald Trump, left, is accompanied by Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, William Matz as he arrives for an American Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, at Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris. Trump is attending centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the Armistice that ended World War I. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP)

The U.S. came late to the war, in April 1917, but over 1½ years it became a key player and tipped the scales for the allies. At the war's end, the U.S. had 2 million troops in Europe and another 2 million ready to cross the Atlantic if needed, a force that turned the United States into a major military power whose soldiers then fought and died again for Europe in World War II.

A woman holds up a placard during an anti-Trump gathering in Republique square in Paris, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018 mocking President Donald Trump's non-attendance at a memorial event on Saturday. President Donald Trump joined other international leaders in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A woman holds up a placard during an anti-Trump gathering in Republique square in Paris, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018 mocking President Donald Trump's non-attendance at a memorial event on Saturday. President Donald Trump joined other international leaders in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (AP)

Even though Germany was at the heart of provoking two world wars over the past century, the nation has become a beacon of European and international cooperation since.

With so many leaders in Paris, the commemoration also provoked a flurry of diplomacy on the sidelines, with conflict in Yemen and Syria among the hot-button issues.

On Sunday, Merkel met with the head of the United Nations, an organization born from the ashes of World War II, and the president of Serbia. It was a Serb teenager, Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated the Austro-Hungarian crown prince in Sarajevo in 1914 to set off events which led to the outbreak of war.

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Associated Press writers Angela Charlton, Sylvie Corbet, Elaine Ganley and Thomas Adamson contributed to this report.

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For more information on World War I, go to The Associated Press' WWI hub: https://www.apnews.com/WorldWarI

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World War I: An AP Centennial Commemorative Edition. Available now exclusively at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JGrx5U