Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
With the end of World War I came some grim statistics: nearly 10 million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, many of them victims of the fearsome new weapons introduced during the conflict. Some historians believe that as many civilians as soldiers died, mainly of disease and starvation. Four monarchies were toppled. Property damage was staggering. And, perhaps worst of all, the First World War set the stage for the Second. An excerpt from The Post of Nov. 11, 1918:
By Albert W. Fox
The war is over.The armistice was signed at 5 o'clock this morning, French time. Hostilities ceased at 11 o'clock. Official announcement was made at 2:45 this morning at the State Department.
Terms of the armistice will be made public probably today. President Wilson will have a statement for the American people and the world on the significance of the epochal event.They are known to be even harsher than those to the Austrians.
The news was announced by Philip H. Patchin, of the State Department, who was on all-night vigil, and came with dramatic suddenness, after hours of silence, on the cable wires with respect to progress of the armistice negotiations.
A few newspaper correspondents who were on watch at the press room received the announcement and sent the first flashes out, which in incredibly short time had reached every part of the country.
With the cessation of hostilities already in effect, the great world drama is brought to a close with the decisive defeat of Germany, the arch-enemy.
Announcements will be made today by Secretary Baker with respect to the changes in military program, draft, etc., involved in the sudden change from war to peace.
News of the end of the war has completely eclipsed for the moment all reports concerning the German revolution.
The terms are understood to include a call for demobilization of the German armies at once, the surrender of war materials which will render Germany powerless to do further harm, and occupation by the allied and American forces of strategic points along the frontier and in Germany.
Delivery of part of the German high seas fleet and submarines and the disarmament of other German warships, to be guarded by naval forces of the United States and the entente, is included.
This series is now in a book that can be purchased online at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/2000/collectors.htm