Armistice Day

Snapshots of Canada’s Past: History is more than just words on a screen or from a textbook; this series is a thematic look back at Canadian history through visual imagery.

Armistice Day
In 1918, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the Armistice of Compiègne came into effect, ending World War I. As a prelude to the Treaty of Versailles, its terms made it impossible for Germany to resume fighting. Germany agreed to turnover “2,500 heavy guns, 2,500 field guns, 25,000 machine guns, 1,700 airplanes and all submarines they possessed” in addition to a number of warships and  their prisoners of war. [x] The Armistice was signed in the Forest of Compiègne, about 60 km north of Paris in a railway carriage owned by French military commander Ferdinand Foch. Canada was not present, only representatives from France, Britain, and Germany were there. However, Canada was present at the Paris Peace Conference.

Fun Fact: In 1940, Hitler forced France to surrender to Germany in that same railway carriage. Known as the Second Armistice at Compiègne, the carriage was removed from a museum and placed back in the exact spot in the forest where the original armistice happened. Hitler mimicked Ferdinand Foch in both where he sat and in walking out early. There was no Third Armistice at Compiègne; the carriage was destroyed in Berlin in 1945.

Canada’s population was just 8 million at the time and despite that, a total of 619,636 men and women served in the Canadian forces. 1/10 who fought did not return—66,655 died and another 172,950 were wounded. As such, Canadians across Western Europe and back home were (naturally) ecstatic on November 11, 1918 when the war finally came to an end.


Victory Scenes in Eastern Canada

Victory Scenes in Western Canada

The Aftermath (Government of Canada)


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