Did World War I end with a bang or a whimper? Prof Phil Nash joins us to discuss the complicated road to the armistice of November 11, 1918. A dozen countries were involved, the Russian Revolution intervened, and the US military provided fresh troops for the Triple Entente of Britain, France, and Russia. And the German alliance gradually fell apart. But there’s so much more than that! Listen and learn.
Paul Kendall, Armistice 1918: Voices From The Past (2017).
At 11.00 hours on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent across the battlefields of Europe. After the deadliest conflict the world had ever seen, peace had finally arrived.
Since the withdrawal from the Somme and the repulse at Verdun, the Germans knew they could not win the war and had sought a negotiated end to the fighting. This was rejected by the Allies and the fighting continued until, almost two years later, with its economy on the verge of collapse, Germany had no choice but to accept defeat and seek terms for an armistice.
The story of the efforts to bring the war to a conclusion, and those final days and hours of the First World War, are told in the words of the politicians, soldiers and newspaper columnists who were there at the time. From the nervous anxiety of the men on the front line counting down the last few, and in some cases still deadly, minutes, through to the wild celebrations around the world on Armistice Day, renowned historian Paul Kendall re-lives some of the most emotional scenes ever witnessed through the eyes of those men and women that were there, and had lived, to see the end of the First World War.