November 11, 1918: The Allies sign an armistice with the German Empire near Compiègne.

After over four years of brutal trench warfare and nearly ten million dead, the Great War came to an unofficial end when German delegates met with Allied representatives and signed an armistice that would go into effect at 11 AM (of the eleventh day of the eleventh month). Just two days earlier, a German Republic had been declared (a product of the ongoing German Revolution); on the same day, Wilhelm II and his newly-appointed chancellor Prince Max von Baden abdicated their respective positions. 

Negotiations took place deep in the Forest of Compiègne as to avoid the presence of prying journalists. The delegations met in Ferdinand Foch's own private railway carriage. In 1940, Adolf Hitler chose this site (and this carriage) as the negotiations site for the Second Armistice of Compiègne, a symbolic choice that sought to replicate and repay the French the embarrassment Germany had suffered under the harsh terms of the original armistice and under the Treaty of Versailles. The carriage itself was taken as a conqueror's trophy back to Germany and put on display in Berlin.

The terms of the armistice were accepted without much quarrel by the German delegation and, in fact, there was not an overwhelming amount of negotiation in these negotiations at all. German delegates were not invited to the official peace negotiations of 1919, which eventually produced the Treaty of Versailles. A holiday - Armistice Day - was subsequently proclaimed in many Allied nations on November 11 to commemorate the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. In the United States, this holiday was eventually expanded to commemorate all veterans.

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