The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month—100 Years Ago

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The First World War ended 100 years ago this month on November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. Nearly 20 million people had perished since the war began on July 28, 1914.

In early 1918, it looked as if the Central Powers—Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire—would win.

Czarist Russia gave up in December 1917. Tens of thousands of German and Austrian soldiers were freed to redeploy to the Western Front and finish off the exhausted French and British armies.

The late-entering United States did not declare war on Germany and Austria-Hungary until April 1917. Six months later, America had still not begun to deploy troops in any great number.

Then, suddenly, everything changed. By summer 1918, hordes of American soldiers began arriving in France in unimaginable numbers of up to 10,000 doughboys a day. Anglo-American convoys began devastating German submarines. The German high command’s tactical blunders stalled the German offensives of spring 1918—the last chance before growing Allied numbers overran German lines.

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