Westerners have come to believe that the word ‘armistice’ means an end to war. Armistice Day. Many believe this is the day to mark and celebrate an end to World War 1. The Great War. The War to End All Wars. An armistice is strictly an instrument used in the pursuit of ending armed hostilities and all out war- it is a kind of ‘break’ from actual fighting to provide for an atmosphere conducive to negotiating an actual end to war- a peace treaty. The mythology surrounding Armistice Day has now come to include, in the US, an effort to rename Veteran’s Day Armistice Day which November 11 was once called! So, would that mean that in the US we would forever celebrate a break from war and not an actual end to war? Does this make any sense? And what will adherents of Veteran’s Day have to say? Armistice Day may have been appropriate at the time it was celebrated – it no longer is.
As the story goes (keeping in mind that the victor writes the history), at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 – an armistice was signed which signaled the end of WW1. NO! An armistice was signed in order to permit warring parties time and space to craft and agree to a peace treaty. From the time of the armistice and the ratification of the peace treaty- hundreds of thousands more died. The earth itself also died. In the end, nearly 10 MILLION people were dead.
The so-called ‘peace treaty’ known officially as the Treaty of Versailles- which was finally reached on June 28, 1919 – and included the signatures of dozens of nations – actually set the stage for the next war- World War 2 which, as we all now know, brought the entire world into armed hostilities resulting in the deaths of millions more along with the scorching of the earth and the poisoning of seas and waterways.
Germany was the target of the harsh provisions included in the Treaty of Versailles. Seen as the main aggressor- the nation was stripped of nearly its entire military machine and 13% of its territory including those overseas. Reparations in the form of many tens of millions were also to be paid out to allied countries particularly France. Germans were left in poverty with infrastructure destroyed. The punishment was as bad as the war itself, it opened the door to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the next world war.
The fields of poppies growing on the graveyards of western Europe- France and Belgium primarily- have come to represent peace. This is a terrible irony. While the allies (Britain, France, Italy and the US) celebrated peace and the dominance that came with it- millions of lives were lost and the repercussions would lead, not only to WW 2 but the Cold War and all hostilities subsequent. The world has, since then, never been at peace.
The amount of energy and time dedicated to the pursuit of renaming Veteran’s Day in the US as Armistice Day, has been ongoing since at least 2008. We believe this is an effort best left to others. Just as the recent US elections changed nothing – this campaign will also change nothing in terms of the Empire and its hub of war and death – The Pentagon.