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Encyclopedia > Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)

The armistice treaty between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railway carriage in woods near Compiègne on November 11th, 1918. Principal signatories were the Allied Commander-in-chief, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, and Matthias Erzberger, a representative of the closest thing Germany had left to a government. When spelt with a capital A, Allies usually denotes the countries that fought together against the Central Powers in World War I and against the Axis Powers in World War II. Other uses In general, allies are people or groups that have joined an alliance and are working together to... Compiègne is a commune in the Oise département of France, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 50 days remaining. ... 1918 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Ferdinand Foch (October 2, 1851 – March 20, 1929) was a French soldier. ... Matthias Erzberger (September 20, 1875 - August 26, 1921) was a German political figure. ...

Contents

Negotiations process

The Armistice was agreed at 5am on November 11th, to come into effect at 11am, Paris time. It was the result of a hurried and desperate process. The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ...


Acting German commander Paul von Hindenburg had requested arrangements for a meeting from Ferdinand Foch via telegram on the 7th. He was under pressure of imminent revolution in Berlin, Munich and elsewhere across Germany. Paul von Hindenburg President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg (full name Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg) (October 2, 1847 – August 2, 1934) was a German Field Marshal and statesman. ... Ferdinand Foch (October 2, 1851 – March 20, 1929) was a French soldier. ... Berlin (pronounced: , German ) is the capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,426,000 inhabitants (as of January 2005); down from 4. ... Munich: Frauenkirche and Town Hall steeple Munich (German: München (pronounced listen) is the state capital of the German Bundesland of Bavaria. ...


The German delegation crossed the front line in five cars and was escorted for ten hours across the devastated warzone of Northern France (perhaps, they speculated, to focus their minds on the lack of sympathy they could expect). They were then entrained and taken to the secret destination, Foch's railway siding in the forest of Compiègne.


Foch appeared only twice in the three days of negotiations - on the first day, to ask them what they wanted, and on the last day to see to the signatures. In between, the German delegation discussed the detail of Allied terms with French and Allied officers. The Armistice amounted to complete German demilitarization, with few promises made by the Allies in return. The naval blockade of Germany would continue until such time as complete peace terms could be agreed. A blockade is an effort usually (but not always, see below) at sea, to prevent supplies from reaching the enemy. ...


There was no question of negotiation. The Germans were able to correct a few impossible demands (for an example, the decommissioning of more submarines than their fleet possessed), and registered their formal protest at the harshness of Allied terms. But they were in no position to refuse to sign. On Sunday 10th, they were shown newspapers from Paris, to inform them that Kaiser Wilhelm II had abdicated. The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ... Kaiser is a German title meaning emperor, derived from the Roman title of Caesar, as is the Slavic title of Czar. ... Wilhelm II of Prussia and Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Hohenzollern (January 27, 1859 - June 4, 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and the last King (König) of Prussia from 1888 - 1918. ...


Telegrams passed to and from the German team to both German Army Chief of Staff Paul von Hindenburg in Spa and the hastily-assembled civilian government of Friedrich Ebert in Berlin. Erzberger apparently attempted to take negotiations to the limit of the 72 hours Foch had offered Hindenberg, but an open telegram from Berlin imploring him to sign immediately somewhat undermined his team's credibility. Ebert was desparate, facing imminent insurrection in many large German cities. Signatures were made between 5.12am and 5.20am, Paris time. Paul von Hindenburg President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg (full name Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg) (October 2, 1847 – August 2, 1934) was a German Field Marshal and statesman. ... Spa is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. ... This is not the same Friedrich Ebert who was briefly the GDRs head of state, but rather his father. ... Berlin (pronounced: , German ) is the capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,426,000 inhabitants (as of January 2005); down from 4. ...


Key personnel

For the Allies, the personnel involved were entirely military:

For Germany, the main 'plenipotentiary' was a civilian, with military advisors: Ferdinand Foch (October 2, 1851 – March 20, 1929) was a French soldier. ... For the international law of the sea, see Admiralty law. ... The term Chief of Staff can refer to: The White House Chief of Staff, the highest-ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. ... The term plenipotentiary (from the Latin, plenus + potens, full + power) refers to a person who has full powers. ...

  • Matthias Erzberger, for the civilian government
  • Count Alfred von Oberndorff, for the Foreign Ministry
  • General Detlev von Winterfeldt, Army
  • General von Gruennel, Army
  • Captain Ernst Vanselow, Navy

General Weygand and General von Gruennel are not mentioned in the (French) document: Matthias Erzberger (September 20, 1875 - August 26, 1921) was a German political figure. ...

  • la convention d'armistice du 11 novembre 1918 (www.grande-guerre.org/Documents/Armistice.htm)

Quotes

Minutes of the long sessions were not kept, but several accounts note the stern tone set by Foch, including the abrupt opening remark: <<Qu'est ce que vous desirez, messieurs?>> (What do you want, gentlemen?) and the equally dismissive closing remark: <<Eh bien, messieurs, c'est fini, allez>> (Fine, gentlemen, it's done. Let's go). In response to German protests at the harshness of Allied terms, Foch reminded them of Bismarck's shrugged response to similar protestation by France in 1871, when Germany was the victor: Krieg ist Krieg (War's war). Foch coldly returned the sentiment with <<La guerre est la guerre>>. Alternate meanings: See Bismarck (disambiguation). ... 1871 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


Heritage

Foch's railway carriage, Car No 2419D of the Wagons-Lits Company, was incorporated into a series of monuments built at the site. It was torn out of its building and re-used in June, 1940 by Hitler. In a brief ceremony, representatives of the French government were forced to sign a paper conceding abject defeat at the hands of the Third Reich. Hitler observed in silence. The carriage was installed in Berlin shortly afterwards. According to different sources, it was either deliberately demolished by German soldiers to prevent a humiliating re-use in 1945, or destroyed in a British air raid. 1940 was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... The Second Armistice at Compiègne, France was signed on June 22, 1940, between Nazi Germany and France. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ...


An identical carriage from the same 1913 series, Car No.2439 D, was located, restored and installed in the Compiègne memorial after 1945, with original objects rescued from 2419D before the German army arrived in 1940. It may be visited in Compiegne to this day [1] (http://www.webmatters.net/france/ww1_rethondes_2.htm).


 
 

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