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The Armistice

People the world over celebrating the end of the Great War on November 11, 1918. At ten minutes past five on the morning of November 11, German and Allied negotiators placed the final signatures on the armistice that would end World War I six hours later. After the signing, French General Ferdinand Foch sent all Allied commanders the following message: 'Hostilities will cease on the entire [Western] front November 11 at 11:00 a.m.' Although the Allies had not invaded Germany and there was no clear military victory, the Germans were forced to sign the armistice because of insurmountable problems. German troops, pushed past their limits of endurance by five years of fighting, faced a fresh stream of well-equipped American soldiers. Germany's allies, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, had already ceased fighting and mutinies increased as German soldiers and sailors refused to carry out suicidal missions. Food shortages, both at home and at the front, had reached crisis levels. The costs of the First World War were astronomical with 7.5 million dead and more than 35 million total casualties.

Photo: National Archives


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