Thousands of men who went over the top that morning thought they would meet little resistance. 57,000 were dead or wounded by the end of the day.
Military historian Max Hastings and education minister Michael Gove say we should should blame the Germans for World War I and celebrate the victory for 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Neil Faulkner disagrees..
We will hear celebratory speeches that attempt to present World War I as part of an unbroken tradition of noble British warfare that reaches from Flanders to Iraq and Helmand.
The parallels are not exact but -- with politicians playing with nationalism just as they did 100 years ago -- they are close enough for the world to be on its guard.
Duncan Heining says Mike Westbrook's Marching Song shows how jazz in skilled hands can address complex questions of war, see it for what it was, what we have made of it but also what it could be.
In the centenary of World War One, historians today are re-writing the story as a "good war". But the poets had the deeper reality says Neil Faulkner
The pro-war voices on David Cameron's first world war committee co-ordinating next year's centenary events are getting louder and more shrill, says Chris Nineham
Supporting the troops is increasingly used as a substitute for supporting unpopular wars, and the poppy appeal is part of that process.