The Great War Ends

On this day in 1918, and specifically at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Imperial Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France.

The First World War left a legacy of over 40 million total military and civilian casualties; 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. This total number of deaths includes 9.7 million military personnel not less than 10 million civilians, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million lives or more.

The four years of slaughter ensuing after the first shots from the Guns of August saw introduction of the machine-gun, long-range artillery, aircraft, poison gas, armored tank, and other grisly tools to the business of killing. And the bitter peace that followed provided the incubator for a far deadlier and purely evil conflagration 20 years later.

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