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The Armistice of Compiègne

November 6, 2018 — 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the The Armistice of Compiègne, which formally ended World War I.

“World War I matters today because in a lot of ways our modern world and our present-day understanding of what war is and how it affects people were crucially shaped by the experience of The Great War,” says Adam Muller, director of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba. “You really can’t think about war without considering the devastating battles that took place back then.”

Muller explains it is vitally important today that we recognize the First World War and its consequences, a century after its cessation, as it led directly to many of the issues that plague us today.

“The treaties that were signed at the close of World War I essentially divided up parts of Eastern Europe and also created what we now know as the Middle East,” he says. “The Ottoman Empire was on the losing side of the conflict, so the fault lines we see today in that region of the world are a direct consequence of the negotiations that ended World War I, not to mention of European greed and political strategizing.”

Following the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was partitioned and Western powers such as Britain and France were granted mandates to occupy and rule large sections of the Arab world. France was given rights to Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, while Palestine came under British rule.

The Armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, aboard the private railroad train of Major Ferdinand Foch, the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces. It was agreed upon by Allied and German politicians and military commanders, ordering the cessation of all fighting on land, sea, and air.

Although signed in the early morning, it came into effect at 11:00 a.m., Paris time, thus creating the well-known phrase: “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

The commemoration of The Armistice in Canada is generally known as Remembrance Day.


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