Jean Pierre Gilson

The Armistice Memorial

It's in the forest de Compiègne, more precisely in Rethondes that the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 at 5:15 a.m. between the Allies represented by France and Great Britain and the German plenipotentiaries.

The Glade of the Armistice

This place, completely renovated in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of the 14-18 war, was the global symbol of freedom in the world. On November 11, 1918 at 5:15 a.m. the text of the armistice was signed. The ceasefire was effective at 11 a.m. and throughout France, bells and bugles announced the end of the conflict. 

Xavier Renoux
Xavier Renoux - Oise Tourism
Jean Pierre Gilson
Xavier Renoux - Oise Tourism

The museum

In the heart of the thick forest de Compiègne nestles in a bend of the Aisne, a quiet clearing flooded with a sun which seems to have reserved its rays there, as the sun of Austerlitz had announced Napoleon's victory. This is the Armistice clearing, where the fighting of the First World War stopped and where the victory of the Allied armies was consecrated. 
 
Suddenly, around a bend, a pink sandstone monument stands out which calls out to the visitor. This sculpture erected in 1922 to celebrate the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France after the Treaty of Versailles is the work of an Alsatian ironworker, memorial de Compiègne. All the symbol of the revenge of French Alsace is contained in this monument where the Prussian eagle is struck down by the sword of the French army. In the center of the round clearing, a slab with letters worn by time and vicissitudes proclaims that here succumbed the criminal pride of the German Empire, vanquished by the free peoples it claimed to enslave. 

Compiegne Tourism
Compiegne Tourism
Compiegne Tourism
Xavier Renoux - Oise Tourism

Le wagon

 

On each side of this slab, rails sink into the earth and cross two stone platforms which symbolize the two trains: German and French, which met here to write the last chapter of this war. Why a train? It was Marshal Foch who had this brilliant idea: the armistice would be signed in his traveling PC, a train whose restaurant car had been transformed into an office. 
 
It is General Weygand, Chief of Staff of Marshal Foch and direct witness who recounts: On November 8, at seven o'clock, in a grayish dawn, a small red light slipped slowly through the trees of the forest of Rethondes. . This is the trend of German parliamentarians. Slowly pushed back, he stops in the middle of the woods, on a slightly curved path, with neither platform nor shelter. About two hundred meters away, we can see, at the same height, the black line of another stopped train. It is that of Marshal Foch, who arrived there the day before. Marshal Foch waits in his wagon for the time he has set. In a few moments, the representatives of the enemy will be there, waiting for him to dictate the conditions of the victors. He finally has this victory for which he worked during more than forty years of peace and of which he was, in a gigantic struggle of eight months, the great supporter. 
 
The wagon, an essential object of this place of memory, was surprisingly reassigned to the railway service of the Compagnie des Wagons-lits in September 1919. The Company, however, did not take long to donate it to the President of the Republic who used it for his traveling until 1921, then it was exhibited for six years in the Cour des Invalides. Finally, in 1927, he joined the Clairière, built in 1922.

 

Compiegne Tourism
Xavier Renoux - Oise Tourism
Armistice Wagon Association
Armistice Wagon Association
 
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