Hein & History: The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month

Hein & History jstanley

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 World War I, commonly known as the Great War, comes to an end.



At 5 a.m. that morning, 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 nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure. More from History.com »



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In January 1918, some ten months before the end of World War I, US President Woodrow Wilson had written a list of proposed war aims which he called the “Fourteen Points.” Eight of these points dealt specifically with territorial and political settlements associated with the victory of the Entente Powers, including the idea of national self-determination for ethnic populations in Europe. The remainder of the principles focused on preventing war in the future, the last proposing a League of Nations to arbitrate further international disputes. Wilson hoped his proposal would bring about a just and lasting peace, a “peace without victory” to end the “war to end all wars.”

While there were many peace treaties signed at the conclusion of WWI the most notable,  or perhaps remembered, is the treaty that started it all at the Palace of Versailles in Paris.

Treaty of Versailles

Presented for German leaders to sign on May 7, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to concede territories to Belgium (Eupen-Malmédy), Czechoslovakia (Hultschin district), and Poland (Poznan, West Prussia, and Upper Silesia).

Arguably the most humiliating portion of the treaty for the defeated Germany was Article 231, commonly known as the “War Guilt Clause,” which forced Germany to accept complete responsibility for initiating World War I.

But what really happened at Paris?

The peace treaty with Germany is one of five peace treaties terminating the first World War; the other four peace treaties can also be found in HeinOnline’s World Treaty Library:

Treaty of peace with Austria, with supplementary protocol, declaration and special declaration, and protocol of signature
Signed at: St. Germain-en-Laye September 10, 1919

Treaty of Peace Between Belgium, The British Empire, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, The Hedjaz, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, The Serb-Croat-Slovene State, Siam and The United States, and Bulgaria
Signed at : Neuilly-Sur-Seine November 27 1919

Treaty of peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and. Hungary; signed at Trianon June 4, 1920; proces verbal of. deposit of ratification filed in accordance with Article 364. at Paris, July 25, 1921, on behalf of the British Empire,. France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Romania, Kingdom of the. Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Siam, Czechoslovakia, and. Hungary
Signed at : Trianon June 4 1920

Tripartite agreement respecting Anatolia, with annexes (maps)
Signed at: Sèvres August 10, 1920

Treaty of peace with Turkey, with related documents  (Supersedes treaty of peace of August 10, 1920)
Signed at: Lausanne July 24, 1923

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The rest is history.