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Australia, New Zealand mark WWI anniversary

Published on Aug 4, 2014 11:53 AM
Wreaths placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior by New Zealand's Army, Air Force, Navy and Defence department during ceremonies on Aug 4, 2014 in Wellington commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. -- PHOTO: AFP

CANBERRA (AFP) - Australia and New Zealand marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I on Monday, Aug 4, 2014, with Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and John Key calling it a conflict that shaped their nations.

Some 61,000 Australians and more than 18,000 New Zealanders died in the war, an event Mr Abbott said was "the most cataclysmic event in human history".

"World War I arguably gave rise to communism, to Nazism, to World War II and the Cold War," he said at a wreath laying ceremony in Canberra - one of several commemorations taking place across Australia.

"The events of a hundred years ago still reverberate around our world today and it had a shattering impact on the young Commonwealth of Australia.

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