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H. G. Wells called the Great War or World War I the “war to end all wars.” We know that was a mythical false hope. Indeed, it can be rightly said that the Treaty of Versailles created the conditions that led, in no small part, to World War II.
The Armistice that ended the fighting on the Western Front went into effect at 11 am Paris Time on November 11, 1918. At that time, fighting was to cease. However, as I noted in a post a few years ago, fighting continued and men still died right up to until that time. Private Henry Gunther of Baltimore continued fighting to the end and was killed at 10:59 am as he charged a German machine gun nest. He was officially the last Allied soldier to die in combat.
Thus, this recording released by the Imperial War Museum in London is all the more eloquent as it begins with artillery fire and ends with the sound of birds singing. It comes from a recording made in the American sector near the River Moselle just before and after the eleventh hour.
So on this Veterans Day, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending fighting in World War I, let us remember all those living and dead who served in our country’s armed services.