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1914 - Centennial - 1918

The World Remembers

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The World Remembers is about remembrance, education and international understanding.

The 1914-1918 war was fought on a scale never before imagined and it changed the course of history. Twenty-two million military personnel were wounded and more than nine million were killed in fighting that lasted more than four years. It is estimated that seven million civilians died. The conflict involved more than forty nations from every continent. Empires were destroyed and borders were redrawn in much of Europe and the Middle East, while the 1919 peace settlement led to consequences that many nations still live with today.

The ‘First World War’ changed attitudes about the conduct of war itself and accelerated both democratic and revolutionary upheavals. Today, live artillery shells still surface in battlefields in Belgium and France, and they still kill. It seems that the war is not yet finished. What did we learn and how shall we remember the war after 100 years?

People of the War

Who were the millions of men who fought and died?  Who were the women who were killed when serving as nurses or in the merchant navies? For ninety-nine years they have been collectively acknowledged but in the centenary years The World Remembers chooses to acknowledge them individually, name-by-name and nation-by-nation. Hundreds of millions of families lost relatives in the 1914-1918 war and today each can participate in this unique commemoration.

Our principles are equality, universality and accessibility: equality, since after one hundred years there is equality in death; universality, since by presenting this project in the languages of all participating nations, we can reach the millions of families of these men and women regardless of where they live or the language they speak; accessibility, since the power of software and the internet allows us to display the name of each man or woman, and for the names to be seen wherever there is an internet connection or wherever there is a school or museum projecting the names. We wish no one to be excluded from memory.

The WWI centenary years provide the only opportunity to undertake such a large and inclusive project that not only honours the past but also looks to the future with hope and understanding. 

About The Project

The World Remembers has set out to assemble the world’s first global memorial for everyone killed in the 1914-1918 war. In the 1920’s many Canadian villages, towns and cities erected memorial cairns inscribed with the names of the war dead from their area. Inthe 2020’s, The World Remembers is building the world’s first memorial cairn listing the names, from every nation, of those who lost their lives.

Seeing all those names is to appreciate that behind every one of them is a life and a story. We must never lose sight of the fact that history is not the history of nations or ideologies, but of people.

Jonathan Vance – Historian

Close to four million names from twenty participating nations currently appear in our display. Using the Search The Names function you can find information about any one of those names, and call up a segment (clip) of our remembrance display that includes that name.

There are more than 68,000 Canadian names in this display. They include those killed in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army Medical Corps, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the merchant navy.

We include names from both sides of the conflict and continue to seek the participation of nations not yet represented here. We believe that a world memorial is an appropriate response to the world’s first global conflict that cost millions of lives - losses that were almost beyond imagination. Each of those who died deserves to be individually remembered.

The purpose of this commemoration is to name them all.

We invite you to explore our 1914-1918 Photo Gallery, to read the brief war histories of participating nations and to use the Search The Names function to search for relatives, or other individuals, and then view the segment of our commemoration display that includes that name.

The data has been assembled from sources in each participating country. To display the names from twenty nations would take more than one hundred days and nights.

The participating nations include Canada, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Slovenia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Australia, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, New Zealand and Poland. Also included are the names from the British Indian Army and the Chinese Labour Corps.

When we have achieved our goal of including the names from all First World War nations – a total of nine and a half million names – the commemoration will take almost a year to witness each one of them. Memory is part of what makes us human.

The World Remembers is a remarkable project. It respects and honours the loss of life of all people, no matter who they fought for or where they were born. The World Remembers reflects the values of our country: that all people are equal, all people are welcome, and all people are respected.

John Tory – Mayor of Toronto