Armistice Day 1918 and Peace Day 1919

Date start:
11 Nov 1918
Date end:
19 Jul 1919
Armistice Day 1918 and Peace Day 1919

The First World War armistice came into effect at 11am on 11 November 1918, the 'eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month'. According to the Daily Mirror, London went 'wild with delight' when it heard the news:

'Bells burst forth into joyful chimes...bands paraded the streets followed by cheering crowds of soldiers and civilians and London generally gave itself up wholeheartedly to rejoicing .... There was a scene of wonderful loyalty at Buckingham Palace, dense crowds were shouting "We want the King!"'

Armistice marked the end of fighting on the Western Front, but formal negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference continued into 1919. The Allies' formal peace treaty with Germany, the Treaty of Versailles, was not officially signed until 28 June.

As negotiations continued, the British government planned a public celebration. The Peace Committee was established to decide how Britain would mark the end of the war.

The committee first met in London on 9 May 1919, chaired by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon. Its initial proposal of a four-day August celebration was scaled down and brought forward after the Paris signing. A single day of festivities was planned for 19 July.

The proposal did not receive universal approval. Some felt that the funds would be better spent on support for returning servicemen, many of whom struggled to cope with physical and mental injuries and high unemployment levels.

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