Jump to content
Complete France Forum

When did WW1 end?


Recommended Posts

At the local armistice ceremony in France last week the names of all the fallen of the town were read out year by year.  We were surprised firstly by how many came from a relatively small town and also by the number who died in 1919.  Our first thought was that they must have died in 1919 from injuries they received in the previous year.  However, the local paper referred to the armistice of 11th November 1918 but in the next sentence said that it was 91 years (i.e. 1919) since the end of the fighting. 


So, the question is did the war end in 1918, and the paper simply got its arithmetic wrong, or did the war really carry on until 1919?  I’ve asked a few people in the last week but no-one has been able to say which is correct.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

11th November was an armistice (ie cease-fire) rather than peace.

But when precisely the war ended with a peace treaty depends rather on which of the participants you were. For the Russians it ended with the treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918: for the Ottoman Empire with the Treaty of Sevres in August 1920, and for the other participants at various dates in between: the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, the Treaty of St Germain en Laye with Austria, and the Treaty of the Trianon with Hungary (possibly there were others that Wikipedia doesn't list).

A substantial number of English war memorials show the "Great War" as the war of 1914-1919. I think those are also the dates on the Cenotaph in Whitehall, though in roman numerals: MCMXIV on the Parliament Square end and MCMXIX on the Trafalgar Square end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of the deaths in 1919 could have been due to the 'flu epidemic which spread world-wide when the war finished. Called Spanish Flu for some reason.

Many of those who succumbed were ex- servicemen, whose immune systems were weakened by the fighting.

Similar thing happened after WW2 with typhoid. Terrible waste of lives. [:@]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How interesting: the Treaty of Berlin was needed in 1921 between the USA and Germany because the US senate rejected parts of the Treaty of Versailles. Sounds a bit like the current nuclear weapons treaty, START III, which is probably going to be turned down by the new Republican majority in the Senate.

But ..... about deaths in 1919. I don't think there was any fighting going on anywhere after the end of 1918, so those deaths may be from earlier wounds or from the Spanish 'flu as suggested earlier. I believe a lot of the Spanish 'flu deaths occurred in hospitals for the war-wounded. It killed a lot of young people (such as those ex-soldiers) as they had not acquired any immunity in milder earlier epidemics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...