Guardian editorials helped Islanders follow the Armistice negotiations that ended the First World War, 100 years ago. It was widely-reported that hostilities ended on Nov. 7 but the Germans changed their minds, holding out for better terms. The armistice was finally signed on Monday, Nov. 11, 1918.
Below are edited editorials that appeared in The Guardian leading up to, and immediately following, the end of the Great War.
Peace, Blessed Peace (November 8, 1918)
Four years, three months and three days in the deep dark shadow of war -- and then, suddenly the full blaze of a glorious peace, peace with victory, peace with honour. The transition yesterday at noon when the word came, was overwhelming. The fire bells, the church bells and steam whistles announced joyful news for which the people were more or less prepared during the past few days and in a few minutes the streets were thronged with cheering, shouting, flag waving crowds, tooting and flagbedecked automobiles, and carriages.
As the full significance of the word peace, a word that for four long years had been buried under the debris and the sorrow of war, came to be more fully realized by the masses that thronged the streets, there were scenes of rejoicing such as Charlottetown had never experienced. Suffice it for the moment that peace is once more in the earth and let the people rejoice.
Not premature, but . . . (November 9, 1918)
The news so jubilantly celebrated on Thursday not only in Charlottetown and throughout the province, while in a manner premature, was well worth the splendid enthusiasm evoked.
The facts, so far as the telegraphic reports today can be interpreted are that the German Government asked that a delegation of plenipotentiaries, armed with authority to conclude an armistice, be permitted to pass through the lines for a conference. Whether the armistice has been signed or not has not been officially announced either in Berlin, London, Paris or Washington. Unofficial telegrams announced its completion. Official word may come at any moment. Thursday’s celebration was by no means premature. It was a magnificent rehearsal of a grander and more glorious celebration that is to come off one of these days and for which full preparation should be made.
Germany’s Plight (November 11, 1918)
That Germany is going to pieces is now very evident. Revolution for which the populace has been ripening for months if not for years has assumed the proportions of a general conflagration which even peace itself when it comes will scarcely be able to overcome.
After all is not this in the nature of justice? Had an armistice been signed last Thursday and hostilities had ceased, the German people would have got off much more easily than many people believed they deserved. That they deserve something at least of what they have inflicted upon others, can only be regarded as just retribution.
It may be inhuman to say that it is nothing more than they deserve, but Germany has driven the world into this frame of mind and this is perhaps Germany’s greatest crime against humanity. She has taught the world to hate and in this she has hurt the soul of the world.
The End of War (November 12, 1918)
The good news that the German plenipotentiaries had signed the armistice terms and that hostilities had ceased came not altogether unexpectedly yesterday morning; our Sunday telegrams leaving no doubt that the end of the war was at hand.
The Telephone Company has the Guardian’s and the people’s thanks for the first announcement which came at 6 o’clock from Halifax as follows: “Armistice signed on field of battle at 5 o’clock this morning.” This was confirmed by the Telegraph Office in a dispatch filed by our own correspondent in Toronto at 2 a.m. A special edition of the Guardian was issued at 7 a.m. and the Mayor had ordered the fire bell to be rung. The Guardian telephoned the glorious news to all the principal centres throughout the Island. Our dispatches today give details that the armistice terms were signed at midnight, local time, and that hostilities ceased at 7 o’clock local time. Thus ends the greatest war in history.
The official announcement yesterday was received with great demonstrations of joy and gladness. Fire and church bells rang jubilantly, the city was red with flags and bunting, a holiday was proclaimed, practically all businesses suspended and the people gave themselves up to joyous celebration of what they realized was the greatest event in the history of the world.