At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918, Germany agreed to a cease fire, and that day, later to become known as Armistice Day, finally saw an end to one of the largest wars in history. A formal state of war between the two sides persisted for another seven months, until signing of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany on 28 June 1919, but it is generally recognised that the 11th of November 1918 was the official end to the hostilities. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized and more than 9 million combatants were killed, in what was then known as the Great War.
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary in June 1914, was the single act which brought the whole of Europe into conflict. The great powers of Europe, consisting of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, France and Italy were at war within weeks, and as all had colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.
The military forces finally all came home to civilian life after four years of warfare and Frederick H Townsend (1868-1920) cartoon highlights the larger than life tales of the conflict on the Western Front.
TOMMY: (homeward bound and determined not to disappoint). "Why, Missy, three days before the Armistice the air was that thick with aeroplanes the birds had to get down and walk."