The False Armistice

i have read a great deal about the Great War in my research for my, as yet unpublished novel, Nobody’s Heroes. While I focused on the African-American experience as that was the focus of my novel, I have also read widely about some of the lesser known detail she of the war.

for instance, the armistice was not signed in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was signed several hours earlier and went into effect at the eleventh hour. This myth of the Great War is possibly the most egregious and wide spread, especially as reference Tom it ha she become idiom. It is not the only piece of interestingly information regarding the ending of the war.

ive just started reading A Stillness Heard Round the World, by Stanley Weintraub. The first chapter is a recital of a myth in formation, though it goes unknown today. Four days before the armistice was actually signed and became effective, a reporter for the United Press issued a wire to the effect that an armistice had been signed Andrew the war was ended. It would take later investigation to uncover the truth behind how this rumor started, but it spread like wildfire. From New York where a ticker tape parade happened impromptu (and this before ticker tape parades existed) to Pennsylvania where the mayor of Philadelphia rang the liberty bell with a small hammer, the rumor flew on wings of electricity.

the celebrations moved west, though Chicago was raine out and the parade turned intimate a muddy mess. In California the celebrations were just as rowdy as those along the east coast. Hell, even the President came out to wave and smile at the crowd of excited citizens. His waving white handkerchief gave vehemence to the rumour of armistice, and kicked the roaring and celebratory throng into high gear. It was pure luck that a riot didn’t start when news of the false story hit the streets. There was some minimal rioting in New York where a few windows were smashed and a few goods stolen, but nonetheless the crowd stood dispersed with equanimity and depression.

The war wasn’t over, not yet.

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