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"Only the dead have seen the end of war." --Plato


Veterans Day, November 11th, was originally named Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I. Joseph Persico's Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918: World War I and Its Violent Climax covers the last hours of the war after the armistice was announced after 5:30 a.m. Allied Commander-in-Chief Marshal Ferdinand Foch ordered "Hostilities will cease on the entire front beginning at 11:00 A.M. November 11." Some French, British and American generals canceled attacks, while other Allied generals continued to launch attacks since Foch's order didn't include an immediate ceasefire, to continue punishing the defeated Germans and for more glory.

Persico follows individual soldiers as they survived or were killed knowing the war was in its final hours and minutes. The U.S. 26th Division went over the top at 10:35 a.m. The British 7th Dragoons cavalry attacked at 10:50 a.m. Private Henry Gunther was the last American killed at 10:59 a.m. More than 2,700 French, British, Belgian, American and German soldiers were killed in the last five-and-a-half hours of "the war to end all wars," comparable to the numbers killed at Pearl Harbor and September 11th.

Van Lingle Mungo @ Central


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