A message from the 8th Duke of Wellington
‘I am often asked whether we should not now, in these days of European unity, forget Waterloo and the battles of the past. My reply is, history cannot be forgotten and we need to be reminded of the bravery of the thousands of men from many nations who fought and died in a few hours on 18th June 1815 and why their gallantry and sacrifice ensured peace in Europe for 50 years’.
His Grace the Duke of Wellington, KG LVO OBE MC DL
The events of 1815 were momentous both on and off the battlefield. It was a historical watershed which brought more than 22 years of conflict in Europe to a definitive close – it also affected many thousands of lives for much of the Nineteenth Century and beyond.
The battle of Waterloo was a milestone in European history. It ended over 20 years of conflict in Europe. It involved many nations and heralded over 50 years of peace and stability. The battle was the culmination of a long campaign, fought in Spain and Portugal, by the Duke of Wellington and his allied armies. The commemoration of this seminal event will reflect the strategy and planning of the campaign in a modern context and will involve people of many nations.
Waterloo 200 has been established to direct and manage this unique International project. From the first action of the Peninsular War in 1808 at Rolica in Portugal, to the final battle at Waterloo in Belgium seven years later, Waterloo 200 will track and guide organisations and people who wish to be involved.
“If there’s one moment in history – other than the defeat of Hitler – that every citizen of Europe should be encouraged to commemorate, it’s the day the Battle of Waterloo decided the shape of our continent for a hundred years. It was the final climax in the titanic struggle between the French Emperor Napoleon and the rest of Europe. Waterloo was one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever. It was the last great conflict of the age of the sword, cannon and musket in Western Europe. And it was one of the first battles to be widely reported in detail by hundreds of those who fought in it on all sides. They provide us with an unprecedented commentary on the human face of battle 200 years ago. Waterloo 200’s marking of this bicentenary gives us a unique opportunity to study one of the most seismic events in world military history. ” -Peter Snow