Douaumont


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Douaumont

(do͞o-ōmôN`), village, Meuse dept., NE France. It was part of the VerdunVerdun
, town (1990 pop. 23,427), Meuse dept., NE France, in Lorraine, on the Meuse River. A strategic transportation center, Verdun has varied industries and is situated in an agricultural region.
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 battlefield in World War I, and its cemetery, now a national memorial, contains the graves of 300,000 unidentified French soldiers.
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During the ceremony in Verdun, Hollande and Merkel laid a wreath at the Douaumont cemetery for the 300,000 soldiers killed; they also visited the German cemetery Consenvoy to lay a wreath.
lt;BFrench President Francois Hollande, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive at the Douaumont Ossuary, in France, during a remembrance ceremony to mark the centenary of the battle of Verdun
A photo of then French President Francois Mitterand and then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl holding hands in the Douaumont cemetery at Verdun became a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation.
During the first several months of the fighting, the Germans captured Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux, and by late June were on the verge of taking Verdun.
These soldiers would have been among those who fought in the critical Battle of Verdun and served in France's 43rd Senegalese Battalion, which took the fort of Douaumont in October 1916.
Ten months of attrition and slaughter result in a million casualties, the bleached bones of many of them now piled in viewing galleries at the epic Douaumont ossuary.
Stages six and seven visit Arras, the Chemin des Dames, Verdun and Douaumont - all sites of key battles and home to memorials to the fallen - and a finish in Reims, in Champagne country, where French kings were once crowned.
The Franco-German post-war rapprochement is a model, illustrated, among other images, by former French President Francois Mitterrand and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl holding hands on 22 September 1984 in Douaumont cemetery in Verdun, where the remains of 150,000 French soldiers rest from one of the bloodiest battles of the first world war.
The so-called Gibraltar of the French defenses, Fort Douaumont dominated the terrain and became the focal point for both armies.
We do see trenches, the glare of flare rockets, the nightly moves of trucks, we do hear intermittent guns, and we certainly smell the battle-soiled living men and the stench of rotting corpses in Douaumont.