Armistice of November 1918

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ARMISTICE OF NOVEMBER 1918. German military leaders acknowledged in October 1918 that their country had been defeated and, seeking more favorable terms than they were likely to obtain from Britain or France, appealed to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for an armistice based on the Fourteen Points. Wilson refused to negotiate with a government that did not represent the German people. He sent his top adviser, Colonel Edward M. House, to Paris to negotiate a common position with the French and the British. Neither European ally was willing to accept the Fourteen Points in toto. The British objected to the provision for freedom of the seas, and the French wanted no limitation to be put on German reparations payments.

On 9November, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated the throne, clearing the way for an agreement. The armistice ending the war was signed in a railway carriage in the Compiègne Forest at 11 a.m. on 11 November. It called for immediate German withdrawal from Belgium, France, and Alsace-Lorraine; Allied occupation of German territory west of the Rhine; and the renunciation of the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bucharest. Germany was stripped of its navy and its East Africa colony. The armistice laid the framework for the final peace treaty worked out at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.


Goemans, H. E. War and Punishment: The Causes of War Termination and the First World War. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Lowry, Bullitt. Armistice 1918. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University, 1996.

Weintraub, Stanley. A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War, November 1918. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1985.

Max PaulFriedman

See alsoVersailles, Treaty of ; World War I .