100 years since WWI Armistice, Remembrance Day reminds us of cost of war
One hundred years ago — on November 11, 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — millions of men laid down their guns.
This was Armistice Day, the end of the First World War, www.mercatornet.com reported.
Germany, the last belligerent standing among the Central Powers, had collapsed militarily, economically and politically.
Armistice Day — later known as Remembrance Day — has since been commemorated every year.
On November 11, 1918, aboard Marshall Ferdinand Foch’s train carriage, a few plenipotentiaries of Germany and the main Allied nations signed a short document that ordered a ceasefire, effective from 11:00 a.m. In doing so, they put an end to the global carnage that had started in August 1914 and had killed more than 10 million combatants and six million civilians.
Notably, though this document stopped combat, it did not formally end the war. Indeed, Germany had sought an armistice in order to negotiate a formal peace treaty. This peace was secured eight months later, on June 28, 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference.
The Armistice also didn’t resolve localized conflicts resulting from the war. These raged on in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East through to the early 1920s.
But for most nations involved in the First World War, the armistice of November 11 was the day the fighting finally stopped, which is why it has become a major commemorative event across the globe.
On the first Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, crowds cheered on the streets of Allied countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US, France and Belgium. People rejoiced at the ending of a period of total mobilization that had affected every aspect of their lives, inflicting unprecedented hardship on soldiers and civilians alike.
But for those who had lost the war, the news of the armistice came as a shock. While some were relieved the conflict had ended, the sudden collapse of the German, Austro-hungarian and Ottoman empires provided a breeding ground for revolutionary movements and further internal conflicts. For them, Armistice Day was a moment of anguish and bitterness.
A hundred years after the event, Remembrance Day and First World War memorials still provide a time and place to remember those who fought and fell in the conflict. For the most senior citizens among us, this is their parents’ generation; a past they still live with.
Published by www.mercatornet.com