World War I Ends

American wounded in a church

The German army realized that there was no chance to win. The Kaiser abdicated, Germany was declared a Republic. On November 11th 1918 an armistice was signed between Germany and the Allies.


The end of the war came quickly. The successful allied offensive in August had convinced the Germans that they would be unable to successfully hold out against what was now an expanding Allied force. 10,000 fresh American troops were arriving every day. The Germans and Austrians had expended all of their reserves. The hope that they could move the troops from the Eastern front and win a decisive victory before the Americans arrived in force was but a distant memory. The German army warned that there was no possibility of military victory, and that an armistice must be reached. There were also fears of a mutiny. Part of the navy had already mutinied and the fear was that it would spread.

The success for the Meuse-Argonne offensive that began on September 26th made reaching an armistice urgent. Bulgaria was the first to surrender, signing an armistice on September 29, 1918. Since it supplies most of Germany’s oil this made Germany position even more perilous. On October 30th the Ottomans capitulated and signed an armistice. The Austrians signed an armistice on November 3rd as the Austria Hungarian Empire disintegrated.

On November 9th Germany was declared a republic as the Kaiser abdicated. Ceasefire negotiations began immediately and on November 11th a ceasefire was signed between the Allies and German in a railroad carriage at Compiege. At the time no allied troops had crossed into Germany. However it was clear that with American forces still arriving in Europe the Germans would have been unable to resist and invasion.