The Armistice Day Horror


Ninety-one years ago today, Allied and German forces adopted the armistice that ended World War I. It was the eleventh day of the eleventh month; the Germans accepted the terms at 5:10 in the morning, but the ceasefire officially went into effect at the eleventh hour. And before that hour, though it was known that the shooting would soon be over, officers kept sending soldiers into battle.

Joseph E. Persico told the story in the Winter 2005 issue of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History. "Armistice Day exceeded the ten thousand casualties suffered by all sides on D-Day," he writes, "with this difference: The men storming the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, were risking their lives to win a war. The men who fell on November 11, 1918, lost their lives in a war that the Allies had already won."