Military Collapse & Armistice | Scapaflow 1919 - The Big Scuttle
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Military Collapse & Armistice

On 11 November 1918, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the last shots on the Western Front were fired.


For all, relief at the war’s end. For the Allies jubilation; for Germany despair and demoralisation. Especially for Germany’s Navy. Although undefeated in battle, it was a fleet in the throes of mutiny and dissent brought on by poor conditions for the men and the Fleet Command’s plan to use the Fleet’s still capable threat, for a last battle, days from the war’s end. Conditions aboard the Kaiser’s ships had been so bad that already in the summer of 1917 there had been open unrest.


In a train carriage at Compiègne, Germany’s political and military representatives were forced into accepting terms for a ceasefire. On another train, the ex-Kaiser and his family went into exile. 52 other wagons were attached  – with all the Hohenzollern treasures that he could take with him.

Kaiser Wilhelm_Abdication

Key to armistice process was the decision to intern the High Seas Fleet as a guarantor of Germany’s good faith while the peace negotiations were carried out in Paris, at Versailles, in the Hall of Mirrors where, almost a half century before, the new German Reich had been proclaimed.