Armistice Day: 11 facts about 11 November

Every year we remember the soldiers that fought for us in the First World War, and honour the hour upon which the Armistice was signed and they were finally relieved of battle. Here are our top 11 facts about the Armistice:

  • The Armistice was an agreement to end fighting signed by representatives of France, Great Britain and Germany in WW1.
  • It began at 11am (French time) on 11th November 1918 – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – but was actually agreed at 5am, with the first term being that fighting would stop at 11am.
  • Ferdinand Foch, a French military commander was one of the people to sign the agreement in his train carriage in the Forest of Compiègne, France.
  • Ironically, another armistice was signed in the same carriage in the Forest of Compiègne in 1940, when the French essentially surrendered to Germany in WW2. Adolf Hitler even sat in the same seat as Ferdinand Foch had to add to the humiliation.
  • By signing the Armistice, Germany had to give up 25,000 machine guns, 2,500 heavy guns, 2,500 field guns, 1,700 aeroplanes, several warships and all their submarines.
  • Germany also had to evacuate all specified areas, reveal the location of any mines or traps they had placed and hand over their prisoners of war.
  • If Germany broke any of the terms of the agreement, fighting would recommence following 48 hours’ notice.
  • By signing the Armistice and (the following year) the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had to take the blame for the war and pay compensation for the damage caused, estimated to total about £22 billion in today’s money.
  • It was only in 2010 that Germany paid off its war debt, with a final payment of £59 million.
  • Whereas Germany thought the terms of the Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles were too severe, the French thought they were being lenient.
  • Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, is commemorated on 11th November every year across a number of countries. The UK first broadcast their Remembrance Day service in 1937, and has televised ceremonies every year since 1946.