Though the early 20th century was defined by war, one of the most ongoing events of the first World War was its ending of it. Immortalized today in the event of Armistice Day and partially in the United States, Veterans Day, the end of World War I, and the ramifications of the choices made through the armistice ended up building the scene for World war II and the world we know today.
The first World War had been raging for 4 years. started in 1914 by the
the assassination of Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand involved dozens of countries around the world on every continent. Late into the year 1918, the war had begun to wind down. With Russia withdrawing from the fight due to a communist revolution known as the October Revolution, and major stalemates in the western front among northern France the war was close to over. Finally, at 5:45 AM on the 11th of November 1918 in Compiègn France, both sides of the war including the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, and over a dozen other countries agreed to end the war exactly 4 hours later at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Sadly however fighting would continue through the day, with the last gunshots heard at nightfall. The last death in the war before the armistice had taken effect was one Henry Nicoles John Gunther, a Sergeant in the United States army who died at 10:59 AM and was attached to the 313th infantry and died charging a German machine gun emplacement. John Gunther would later be returned to the United States and buried in the Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in his hometown of Baltimore.
Armistice day is celebrated worldwide and was first celebrated in the United Kingdom on November 11th, 1919 in which 2 minutes of silence were held for those who had lost their lives in the war that had ended a year prior. Today Armistice day is celebrated in many countries including Serbia, France, the United States, South Africa, Kenya, and Poland. In many countries however it falls under different names such as here in the USA as Veterans day, in Poland as Independence Day, and in the UK as Remembrance Day.
The following year on the 26th of June the Treaty of Versailles was signed which is seen as the last chapter of World War I and would lead to the events of World War II. During the Second World War Remembrance day would often fall on a Thursday or Friday in which those who were working could not take time out of their day for the unofficial holiday, as such "Remembrance Sunday" an unofficial holiday also remembered today was coined as the Sunday closest to the 11th of November. Today both of these are practiced with 2 minutes of silence.
Though the events happened over 100 years ago it is still important to remember them today. No matter what it is called Armistice day is a day in which we should look back at those who have protected us in the past and pay respect to those in the line of duty alive or deceased.
Leian is a junior at Poudre High in his first year at the Poudre Press who runs a blog called History, Today
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“Armistice - The End of World War I, 1918.” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/armistice.htm. Accessed 14 November 2022.
Hayes, John. “BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | The last soldiers to die in World War I.” BBC News Home, 29 October 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7696021.stm. Accessed 14 November 2022.
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