The armistice between the Allies and Germany – known as the Armistice of Compiègne after the location in which it was signed – was the agreement that ended the fighting in western Europe that comprised the First World War. It went into effect at 11 a.m. Paris time on November 11, 1918, and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender.
The Germans were responding to the policies proposed by United States 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.
Painting depicting the signers of the Armistice in the railway carriage. From left to right are German Admiral Ernst Vanselow, German Count Alfred von Oberndorff of the Foreign Ministry, German General Detlof von Winterfeldt (with helmet), British naval officer Captain Jack Marriott, and standing in front of the table, Matthias Erzberger, head of the German delegation.
Behind the table are two British naval officers, Rear-Admiral George Hope, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss, and the French representatives, Marshal Ferdinand Foch (standing), and General Maxime Weygand.
Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and British Army commanders, 11 November 1918.
|In New Zealand|
|In New York|
|In Trafalgar Square London|
|In Spa in Belgium|
|And on Wall Street|
"Armistice Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square, London - with King George V and Queen Mary shown looking on from the horse drawn carriage."
(London Illustrated News Sketch by Fortunino Matania)
(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)
Almost 100 years later, the evidence of the 4 Long Years of fighting can be found scattered all around the countryside in the area known then as the Western Front. Farmers still uncover unexploded shells while farming their land, they suffer injury, and become eligible for a war pension, the shells are collected by the Army for disposal.
The slabs question Why
And in the town of Ypres, the place where some of the worst battles were fought, they remember.
Thousands come to pay their respects, the young and the old alike, school students on field trips of England, older veterans not able to walk, those who are currently serving in the Military, brass bands from different units and service personnel. Different colours, different flags, some with medals, some without, and all with the same purpose in mind.
Civic leaders, clerics, Ambassadors, dignitaries together for the same reason.
When the Cloth Hall Clock strikes 11.00am, they pause and for a minute all is silent, as they remember a terrible time past.
Goosebumps and tears, an emotional time, in an emotional place. Listening for the sounds of the Buglers, one who has never missed a day, names etched on poppies on a hill. Of memories held in the petals of the many wreaths, and all nations, all peoples, a mutual showing of Respect!
|Ypres Cloth Hall Clock|
from Canada's Veterans, Brave and Proud
"We wear a little poppy, As red as red can be,
To show that we remember, Those who fought for you and me"
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In Canada Remembrance Day 11th November
The Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (in French: Tombe du Soldat Inconnu) is located before the National War Memorial in Confederation Square, Ottawa, Ontario. The culmination of a project begun by the Royal Canadian Legion, the tomb was added to the war memorial in 2000 and holds the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in France during World War I. The soldier was selected from a cemetery in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge, the site of a famous Canadian battle.
At the request of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Canadian government became part of the project of creating a tomb of the unknown soldier for Canada, as part of the Canada Millennium Partnership Program. The Cabinet asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to select one of the 1,603 graves of unknown Canadians buried in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge
Chosen was Grave 7, in Row E of Plot 8 of the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery in Souchez, France, near the memorial at Vimy Ridge, the site of the first major battle where Canadian troops fought as a combined force. The remains of the soldier buried there were exhumed on the morning of May 16, 2000, and the coffin was flown in a Canadian Forces aircraft to Ottawa on May 25, accompanied by a 45-person guard of honour, a chaplain, Royal Canadian Legion veterans, and two representatives of Canadian youth. In Ottawa, the unknown soldier lay in state for three days in the Hall of Honour in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
The stone at the original grave site of Canada's unknown soldier at Cabaret Rouge Cemetery near Souchez, France
On the afternoon of May 28, the body of the unknown soldier was transported to the National War Memorial on a horse-drawn Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) gun carriage. Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, her husband, and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, as well as veterans, Canadian Forces personnel, and members of the RCMP were in the funeral cortege.
Then, with full military honours before a crowd of 20,000, the body, in a silver maple casket,
was re-interred in a sarcophagus in front of the war memorial.
Legionnaires placed a handful of soil from each of Canada's provinces and territories, as well as from the soldiers former grave site, on the casket before the tomb was sealed.
The original headstone of the unknown soldier is the sole artifact and the focal point of Memorial Hall in the Canadian War Museum.
The hall was designed in such a way that sunlight will only frame the headstone once each year on the 11th of November at 11:00 am At the former burial site of the unknown soldier, a grave marker similar to the other headstones in the Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery was placed at the now-empty grave. It is inscribed with these words:
“ ANCIENNE SÉPULTURE D'UN
SOLDAT CANADIEN INCONNU
MORT AU COURS DE LA
PREMIÈRE GUERRE MONDIALE.
IL A ÉTÉ EXHUMÉ
LE 25 MAI 2000
ET IL REPOSE MAINTENANT AU
DE GUERRE DU CANADA
THE FORMER GRAVE OF AN
UNKNOWN CANADIAN SOLDIER
OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
HIS REMAINS WERE REMOVED
ON 25 MAY 2000 AND NOW
LIE INTERRED AT THE
NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL
IN OTTAWA CANADA.
In UK Remembrance Day 11th November 2014
The Unknown Warrior
Posted by G. M. Griffiths
|Stunning photo of inside Westminster Abbey|
In the US the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at Arlington Cemetery. Brought back from Western Front
But Downunder, in Australia and in New Zealand, our National Day is 25th April, at Dawn, 4.30am.
The time the first Anzacs landed on the beaches of Gallipoli. The first services are held at Dawn in Australia, and at Anzac Cove in Turkey. Thousands attend.
Along with the Red Poppies, we also symbolise the day with sprigs of Rosemary or wreaths of wildflowers.
On ANZAC Day, the wearing of small sprigs of rosemary in the coat lapel, pinned to the breast or held in place by medals is thus synonymous with remembrance and commemoration.
Services and marches are held in every town, large or small. Wreaths are laid in Canberra at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
|Meeting two of our best VC|
Keith Payne and Ben Roberts Smith
|A Riderless horse, with a reverse boot.|
Similar services are also held in London on 25th April at the Cenotaph and a Service at Westminster Abbey.
|The Chelsea Pensioners|
|Anzac Day in London|
In the words of Christopher McKnight Nichols Assistant Professor of History, Oregon State University
"War veterans whose diaries, letters and memoirs have been researched were determined that their experience — and the sacrifice of nearly a million of their colleagues — should never be belittled or forgotten.
At Verdun, France, at roughly 10:45 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, the artillery battery manned by a young Harry Truman fired its last barrage. Across the line, not long before, a German soldier fired a final salvo from his machine gun, tipped his cap, bowed, and walked away from the front. At 11 a.m. the major powers of what was then thought of as the Great War, or the war to end all wars, officially ceased hostilities. This was the day the Armistice took effect. It is now better known in many nations as Veterans Day.
But of course this is not just a day to celebrate. We should ask, why did Truman's battery, that German soldier, and millions of others, continue to fight, kill, and destroy until -- and even beyond -- the last moments when they knew it was about to end officially?
These final acts marked what Martin Gilbert aptly termed the "self-perpetuating futility" of the war.
Given miscommunication and the remarkable expanses covered by the conflict, it is little wonder that in areas such as off the coast of South America, in central Albania, or in east Africa where German troops and their African allies were still on the march, the fighting continued. Deaths, casualties, and losses still mounted.
While people in the U.S. are noticeably under-informed about the causes and consequences of WWI, they also are quick to celebrate the heroism of the nation's military veterans. However, worldwide remembrances of the war -- such as the striking "Blood Swept Lands and Sea" red poppy exhibition at the Tower of London, and in places from England to France to India to Japan -- if still partial, are indicative of a different, more melancholic relationship to the war. In fact, I would draw up and join many scholars in asserting that virtually everything that happened in the remainder of the century after WWI was -- in one way or another -- a consequence of, or more precisely an outcome at least partly generated by WWI.
To name just a few of these: the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the Great Depression, World War II, the Holocaust, the development and use of the atomic bomb, the Cold War, the collapse of European colonialism, the rise of nationalist movements in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America, and the list could go on. WWI reshaped the world.
This is no new insight. At the time it was fought, what rapidly came to be called the "Great War" was widely understood not just as a "world" war but also as an "epochal" moment in world history. It was the first "total war" in which entire nations, industrial plants, and peoples could be organized toward the waging of war. The peacemaking, too, generated a global flood of new thinking, which Erez Manela aptly termed the "Wilson moment."
Anti-colonial nationalism developed and deepened. A new generation of leaders -- Nehru, Gandhi, Rhee, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao, among others -- came to the forefront as quasi-Wilsonians. They adapted and pushed for their own distinct visions of "self-determination" in still-colonized and colonial areas such as Korea, China, India, Egypt, Vietnam, and elsewhere.
Why do we tend to miss this now? Largely because it was only in the period after WWII that WWI came to be portrayed primarily (and mistakenly) as a European conflict, in direct comparison to the even more devastating and all-pervading Second World War.
A glance at the numbers reveals the staggering, horrifically vast global scope of the war: WWI killed so many people -- more than 9 million soldiers, sailors, and flyers and another 5-to-7-million civilians -- that it lead to what many in the 1920s called the "lost generation" bringing with it a level of personal trauma and devastation that cannot be adequately conveyed.
Roughly 11 percent of France's entire population was killed or wounded; roughly six percent of Germany's population was killed or wounded. And less well-known is the fact that more than a million Indian soldiers served overseas in the war; hundreds of thousands of Africans and SE Asians also fought.
The war's trauma reached around the globe. Between 1914 and 1918 the war directly involved 28 countries and indirectly involved over 100 countries and colonial regions from Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe.
These regions and peoples felt the war's costs in different ways from those in Europe, ways that Paul Saint-Amour has described as the "partialty of total war" that endured well into the so-called "interwar years." And the overall price of the conflict was more in money and material than any previous war in history. The devastation, in turn, left open the room in the international system for the continued rise of the U.S. as an international financial, commercial, and military power.
As Neil Heyman wrote, "Not physically hurt but scarred nonetheless were 5 million widowed women, 9 million orphaned children, and 10 million individuals torn from their homes to become refugees."
It was a war in which chemical weapons were first deployed on a large scale; new weapons and tactics of modern warfare, such as innovative forms of artillery and machine guns, flamethrowers, tanks, submarines, and airplanes brought about annihilation on levels never seen before in human history.
None of this takes into account the deaths in the Russian Civil War, the Third Balkan War, and the Armenian genocide, which directly resulted from the conflict. Nor does it account for the widespread famine or the 1918 influenza pandemic which killed roughly 50 million people around the world, and which was spread in part by conditions at the front, in military camps and on transports, and by soldiers in transit"
Gibbs, Philip: From Bapaume to Passchendaele, London, William Heinemann, 1918
2014 marked the 100th Year of the Beginning of World War One.
To ensure that they were not forgotten, the incredible display of ceramic poppies converted the Tower of London into a Shrine of Poppies. One poppy for each of those who died.
The final poppy was planted in the moat of the Tower of London at 11am on Armistice Day. The 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' art installation is comprised of 888,246 ceramic poppies, each representing a British or Commonwealth military fatality during the First World War.
TO MY DAUGHTER BETTY, THE GIFT OF GOD (1916)
In wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown
To beauty proud as was your mother's prime,
In that desired, delayed, incredible time,
You'll ask why I abandoned you, my own,
And the dear heart that was your baby throne,
To dice with death. And oh! they'll give you rhyme
And reason: some will call the thing sublime,
And some decry it in a knowing tone.
So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,
But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed,
And for the secret Scripture of the poor.
At the going down of the sun...
I crouched in a shallow trench on that hell of exposed beaches... steeply rising foothills bare of cover... a landscape pockmarked with war’s inevitable litter... piles of stores... equipment... ammunition... and the weird contortions of death sculptured in Australian flesh... I saw the going down of the sun on that first ANZAC Day... the chaotic maelstrom of Australia’s blooding.
I fought in the frozen mud of the Somme... in a blazing destroyer exploding on the North Sea... I fought on the perimeter at Tobruk... crashed in the flaming wreckage of a fighter in New Guinea... lived with the damned in the place cursed with the name Changi.
I was your mate... the kid across the street... the med. student at graduation... the mechanic in the corner garage... the baker who brought you bread... the gardener who cut your lawn... the clerk who sent your phone bill.
I was an Army private... a Naval commander... an Air Force bombardier. no man knows me... no name marks my tomb, for I am every Australian serviceman... I am the Unknown Soldier.
I died for a cause I held just in the service of my land... that you and yours may say in freedom... I am proud to be an Australian.
This 60 cm x 90 cm framed message, a poignant tribute to the Australian serviceman, hangs in the former offices of the Queensland State Headquarters of the RSL located in a room under the Shrine of Remembrance.
Or perhaps it is coupled with what I now know from my fellow cousins, people I had no idea about until I started on this family journey, is that we seem to have one family trait -
It has been an honour to have been able to share the stories of our remarkable ancestors.