Armistice Ends World War I Fighting

U.S. #2154 – This image was based on a drawing of U.S. troops at the Second Battle of the Marne.

Armistice Ends World War I Fighting

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (November 11, 1918), the world’s warring nations agreed to cease fighting, bringing about the end of the Great War.

When the war first began in 1914, America resolved to stay out of it. Though America offered aid and supplies to the Allies, President Woodrow Wilson vowed to remain neutral. But as the war dragged on, German hostility toward America grew worse. By early 1917, the Germans had attacked and sank several U.S. ships leading Congress to pass a $250 million arms appropriations bill to ready the nation for war. On April 2, 1917, President Wilson appeared before Congress to call for a declaration of war against Germany. He believed that unless the U.S. entered the war, Western civilization could be destroyed. Referring to it as a “war to end all wars,” he hoped it would result in lasting peace.

Item #M10349 – November 11 is celebrated around the world as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, and Veterans Day.

The following January, Wilson addressed Congress again and delivered his now-famous 14 Points speech, outlining America’s war goals. This speech marked the first clear intention of any of the warring nations. Its goals included self-determination, open agreements, international cooperation, resolving territorial disputes, creating lasting free trade and commerce, outlawing secret treaties, and establishing an independent Poland with sea access. It also suggested the creation of a peacemaking organization, which would eventually become the League of Nations.

Item #M11405 – World War I was the first war to involve tanks, some of which are pictured on these stamps.

The Germans launched their Spring Offensive in 1918 to some success, but the Allies fought back fiercely with their own offensives. By late September, Germany’s military commanders realized that their situation was hopeless and were unsure if they could hold the front for another 24 hours. German General Erich Ludendorff told his government to call for an immediate ceasefire and accept Wilson’s 14 Points. German officials heeded his advice and contacted President Wilson to begin negotiations. Wilson demanded that before the negotiations could take place, Germany must retreat from all occupied territories, cease submarine activities, and the kaiser must resign.

Item #M11406 pictures various aircraft used during the war.

In spite of his earlier request, Ludendorff declared these conditions to be unacceptable and wished to continue fighting, but the German government decided to follow through with Wilson’s demands and replaced Ludendorff. He wasn’t the only one opposed to the 14 Points – the French, British, and Italian governments believed they were vague and unrealistic. After weeks of debate, they agreed to enter into negotiations and demand reparation payments.

On November 7, German representatives crossed the front line, drove ten hours through the ravaged war zone to meet the Allies early the next morning. They met in Ferdinand Foch’s private train in Compiégne, France. The Allies gave the Germans a list of demands and 72 hours in which to agree. There was little negotiation – the Germans would remove all military forces from other nations while the Allies would continue their naval blockade until the peace treaty was signed. Both sides agreed to the armistice at 5:00 a.m. on November 11 and would put it into effect at 11:00 that morning. Across the front, some troops fired to the last minute, while others embraced their former foes, and others simply acknowledged each other and walked away.

U.S. #697 – After attending the Paris Peace Conference, Wilson traveled across America to get national support for the treaty.

Though the armistice ended the fighting, it took an additional six months to negotiate the peace treaty. On June 28, 1919, representatives from Germany and the Allied powers met in France to discuss the terms that would end the war. One of the most significant provisions required Germany to accept responsibility for the war, disarm, make significant territorial concessions, and pay large reparations to the nations they had harmed. The treaty required Germany to pay 132 billion marks (about $33 billion U.S. Dollars). Many economists at the time believed this amount was excessive, and may have been among the factors leading to World War II.

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14 responses to "Armistice Ends World War I Fighting"

14 thoughts on “Armistice Ends World War I Fighting”

  1. The younger generations, even the ones in Europe, do not fully comprehend the meaning of November 11, at present in many countries a full Holiday. To my father (°1907- deceased 2001) a young boy in 1918, this Holiday was a lifelong reminder of the intense joy by all in his village, by all in Belgium and in the occupied world, because of the formal end of WW1, the end of danger, the end of hunger, the foreseeable end of the influenza epidemic that killed thousands from 1917 on, the new start of schools, the start of a future.

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  2. Could you include at least the year the pictured stamps were released. Doesn’t have to include date, but would be nice to know the year for example when the WW l aircraft stamps were released. Keep up the good work, these vignettes are excellent and I look forward to reading each days worth. Thank you !!!!

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  3. “…the War To End All Wars.” Great piece you have written here.

    Both sides agreed to the armistice at 5:00 a.m. on November 11 and would put it into effect at 11:00 that morning. Across the front, some troops fired to the last minute, while others embraced their former foes, and others simply acknowledged each other and walked away.

    Imagine if all the people living in the world today……John Lennon.

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  4. I appreciate the telling of so much American/World history, history that has not been learned/remembered by so many of us here in todays world.
    History is vital/important information that should be considered in regard to so many decisions that we, as a citizen of any and all nations, make today.

    THANK YOU; for giving of your time /care and concern in regard to todays world.

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  5. Thank you for refreshing our memories about WWI and the armistice. I am a veteran and I want to take a moment to remember all those I served with and everyone who has served and who is currently serving, especially those who gave their lives for our country and those who are suffering this moment from injuries sustained. God bless. Pray for Peace.

    Reply
    • Hi Wayne,

      I’m not exactly sure which item you mean. Have you tried clicking on the image? Each image is linked to a specific listing. And then you can get a better view.

      Happy Collecting!!!

      Reply
  6. World War 1 was the biggest change in history, I think. Czarist Russia became a dictatorial country under Communist iron fist, Germans became under the rule of the Fascist Nazi regime, Italy also changed from a kingdom to a dictatorship under Mussolini, Ottoman Empire destroyed and lost, Austria-Hungary became two separate countries. Technology changed everything, machine guns, artillery, grenades, shells, foxholes, trench warfare, bayonet charges, airplanes, tanks, feelings about war and patriotism.

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