This Day in History – November 11th, 1918

Armisticetrain_(slight_crop)The most famous November 11th in history must be that of 1918 and the end of the First World War, “the war to end all wars.” On the 11th hour of the 11th day, in the 11th month the “Great War” officially ended when Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car in the forest of Compiègne, France.

Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne after the location it was signed, it marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender. The Germans were responding to the policies proposed by American president Woodrow Wilson in his Fourteen Points of January 1918. The actual terms, largely written by French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, included the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of German troops to behind their own borders, the preservation of infrastructure, the exchange of prisoners, a promise of reparations, the disposition of German warships and submarines, and conditions for prolonging or terminating the armistice. Although the armistice ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty, the Treaty of Versailles.

The war actually officially ended on June 28th, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, but November 11th is observed by Britain as Remembrance Day and in the United States of America as Veteran’s Day.

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