1918 - Armistice Day

'Fine day but cold and dull'. This is the sober and understated start to the entry for Armistice Day in the diary of the British commander-in-chief on the Western Front, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, later 1st Earl Haig. It introduces his personal account of the day the First World War ended - a war of unprecedented destructive magnitude that had profound economic, political and social consequences for his native Scotland, Europe and the world.

Despite the factual tone of his daily war diary, Haig did mark the significance of 11 November 1918 by heading his page in larger than usual block letters. Without much flourish, he goes on to describe the dramatic events in a railway carriage shunted into a siding in the Forest of Compiègne, where the German delegates signed the terms of armistice dictated by the allied supreme commander, the French Marshal Ferdinand Foch. He also talks of the confused, near-starving state of the German army, with revolution breaking out in its ranks and behind its lines in Germany itself, and reveals that he faced new preoccupations - 'looking after' and controlling a vast citizen army now that the fog of war was clearing.

See more documents relating to Field Marshal Haig and others at the Library's Experiences of War website.

Haig Papers Acc.3155/97

Armistice Day


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