On November 11th, Armistice Day commemorates the day that World War I allies signed an agreement with Germany to end the fighting. The agreement was signed at 5:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, by representatives from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. At 11:00 a.m., the Armistice was declared. The term armistice originally referred to an agreement to end hostilities in a war, but it is now commonly used to refer to the end of World War I in particular. Some countries have officially designated November 11th as Armistice Day, while others call it Remembrance Day or Veterans Day. Although the day is known by different names around the world, all November 11th holidays stem from the end of World War I hostilities.
Interesting facts about Armistice Day:
The Armistice was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne, France, about 37 miles from Paris. The location was chosen for its remoteness and discretion.
Ferdinand Foch owned the railway car used for the signing of the Armistice. During World War II, Germany forced France to surrender in the same railway carriage in 1940. Hitler sat in the same seat as Ferdinand Foch and returned the carriage to Germany to be displayed.
More than 15 million people died as a result of World War I.
Germany was forced to surrender 1,700 planes, all submarines, 25,000 machine guns, 2,500 field guns, and 2,500 heavy guns under the terms of the Armistice. As a result, Germany was unable to restart the war in the near future.
The Armistice terms also required Germany to pay for the damages it caused. This roughly $35 billion debt was only paid off in 2010.
The Armistice was signed on November 11th, 1918, but World War I did not officially end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919.
Armistice Day became an official holiday in the United States in 1926. It was declared a national holiday in 1938, and the name was changed from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day in 1954.
On November 11, 1919, the first official commemoration of Armistice Day was held at Buckingham Palace in London, England.
Armistice Day is a public holiday in France, so many businesses are closed.
On November 11, 1921, an unidentified US soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located here. Unidentified soldiers were also buried that day in Westminster Abbey in London and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
France, Belgium, Serbia, and New Zealand all observe Armistice Day.
The United States observes Armistice Day as Veteran’s Day, whereas most Commonwealth nations, including the United Kingdom, observe it as Remembrance Day. Armistice Day is known as Remembrance Day in the United States and Canada.
Countries renamed Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day in order to honor those who fought or died in all armed conflicts since World War I.
Because they were neutral during World War I, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands do not observe Armistice Day.