Time limits set for Allied demands in the Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918

The Armistice of November 11, 1918 was an agreement between the Allied and German leadership to cease all fighting on land, sea and air, effectively bringing an end to hostilities in the First World War. The armistice was signed on the side of the Allied Forces by Marshal of France Ferdinand Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies, and First Sea Lord Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss of the Royal Navy. The German Chancellor authorized the armistice to be signed by four representatives, who were; Matthias Erzberger, a civil politician acting as Secretary of State, member of the Foreign Ministry Count Alfred von Oberndorff, Major General Detlof von Winterfeldt of the German Army, and Captain Ernst Vanselow of the German Navy.


The German delegation crossed the front line late on November 7, 1918, and arrived at the Forest of Compiègne the next morning, where they met with Marshal Foch aboard his private train. Foch appeared only twice during the negotiation process, on the morning of November 8 to ask what the German delegation wanted, and three days later to see that they had agreed to the Allies' demands. Although the German delegation had three days to negotiate, the allied terms were harsh and often impossible to meet, and the negotiators had very limited success in changing these demands (although they did convince the Allies to reduce the number of German submarines they wished to have decommissioned, as the Allies' number was greater than the amount possessed by Germany). German Chancellor Friedrich Ebert (who had assumed the position on November 9) eventually instructed the delegation to agree to the Allied terms, regardless of what they were, and the armistice was agreed on at 5am, and came into effect at 11am (Paris time) on November 11. Despite the armistice, news did not reach soldiers as far away as Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) until two weeks later. Today, in Commonwealth countries, a one or two minutes' silence is often held at 11am on November 11 to commemorate those who fell during the war.

German withdrawal

The timed evacuation of the German forces back towards Germany was done in stages, with lines being set by the allies, and strict times were set for the German forces to retreat behind them (German soldiers still in the area after this time would be interned as prisoners-of-war). Overall, German troops had to vacate all other countries (and Alsace-Lorraine) within 15 days, and evacuate the Rhineland within 31 days. The German navy also had to surrender all vessels within one week, and all submarines within two weeks, while the government had to deliver 5,000 motor lorries to the Allies by the armistice's end on December 17th. Although the armistice was supposed to last for 36 days, it was extended several times over the next few years, and peace in Europe was not ratified until the Treaty of Versailles came into effect on January 10, 1920.

Time limits given by the Allied forces to Germany, for specifications made in the Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918

Transfer of surrendered cruisers, battleships and destroyers 7
Surrender of all submarines 14
Evacuation of German troops from Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Alsace-Lorraine *15
Repatriation of all citizens (incl. prisoners) from Belgium, France and Luxembourg 15
Evacuation of German troops from the Rhine districts (left and right banks) **31
Delivery of locomotives and wagons31
Transfer of Alsace-Lorraine's railways 31
Delivery of motor lorries 36
Total length of armistice36
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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period

November 11, 1918

Supplementary notes

* Done in three stages: First stage - 5 days, Second stage - 4 days, Third stage - 6 days. Allied troops were scheduled to enter the evacuated areas on the 6th, 10th and 16th days respectively.
** Done in four stages, following the successful evacuation of the aforementioned areas, with four days allowed for the evacuation of each subsequent area. Allied troops were scheduled to enter the evacuated areas on the 20th, 24th, 28th and 32nd days respectively.

Release date is date of extraction.

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Statistics on "Treaty of Versailles June 28, 1919"

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