This week in history: The end of the First World War

10 November 2014

By Pan Macmillan

10 November 1914: the end of the First World War

Each Remembrance Sunday, we recall the end of the First World War, when German officials signed an armistice with the allies that came into force on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. In London, the chimes of Big Ben were heard for the first time since the declaration of war n 1914 and revellers took to the city's streets. An entry for that day in the diary of the political campaigner and co-founder of the New Statesman magazine, Beatrice Webb, gives a great sense of the euphoria felt with which the news was greeted in the capital. 'Peace!', she wrote. 'London to-day is a pandaemonium of noise and revelry, soldiers and flappers being most in evidence. Multitudes are making all the row they can, and in spite of depressing fog and steady rain, discords of sound and struggling, rushing being and vehicles fill the streets.'

But not everyone was quite so taken with these festivities. The poet Seigfreid Sassoon used his diary to decry all the flag waving and what he saw as an 'outburst of mob patriotism' maintaining that, for him, at least, it made for a 'loathsome end to the loathsome tragedy of the last four years.'

Photo © Ian /