Armistice Day


At the eleventh hour (literally, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918, the world saw the end of the Great War, or World War 1, as it is known today. It became known as Armistice Day. Armistice day is a national holiday in several countries, commemorated on November 11th every year. On this day in 1918, an armistice was signed between the Allies and the German empire, marking the beginning of the end of World War 1. This day is still celebrated among many of the allied countries.
The armistice was signed at 5 am in the railway carriage of French Army general Ferdinand Foch in the North of France. (Later on, Hitler used the same carriage to sign an armistice between the Germans and French in WW2.) The conditions of the treaty forced the Germans to stop fighting, evacuate annexed regions within two weeks and give up a significant portion of their arms and ammunition. This treaty served as the precursor to the Treaty of Versailles, which acted as the lasting peace treaty between the two nations.
Armistice Day is commemorated to a certain extent in all of the Allied Nations, some more than others. The most prominent celebrations are in Britain, where it is a tradition to stand in two minutes of silence at 11 am on this day to honour all fallen British soldiers. Poppies are also worn on this day in memory of the fallen soldiers. The Sunday after the event is also celebrated as Remembrance Sunday. In the USA, Veterans Day is celebrated in the place of Armistice Day to honour all American war veterans, living or dead. The day is commemorated in the other nations who formed the Allies in WW1, but not as extensively, like in India or other Commonwealth countries, which sacrificed for the War and in the name of the King.
In Britain, Armistice Day has come to represent much more than it originally stood for, and is used to honour all the fallen soldiers of Britain till date. As a result, there have been controversies surrounding people unwilling to wear poppies to commemorate this day in Britain because of personal prejudices against the military.
Ultimately the Armistice, and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles were not enough to keep the threat of Germany down for long and prevent the rise of the Nazi party. But all the same, the signing of the armistice was a testament to the valour of the soldiers who fought a bloody war for maintaining peace in their land, and must be remembered.

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