11 November 2018

100 Years After War Didn't End

The other day, I commemorated the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht:  the night when anti-Semitism descended from harassment to violence and, ultimately, to death.  It was also the night of the first mass deportations of Jews to the Nazi death camps.

Today is the centennial of the event that was supposed to prevent the war into which the world descended not long after Kristallnacht.  (Some would argue that the war was already underway; I wouldn't disagree.) 

I am talking, of course, about the Armistice. As we all heard in school, "on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" in 1918, the Armistice--which was supposed to end hostilities, not only between the Allies and the Central Powers, but throughout the world--was signed.

Would it have worked if the United States had agreed to join a worldwide organization--one whose founders included the American President, no less--created for the purpose of fostering cooperation? 

We will never know.  I could not, however, help but to note the irony of this photo:


It's the 1940 Armistice Day parade in Yakima, Washington.  At that very moment, Europe was at war again:  During the fourteen months that preceded the scene in the photo, Germany had invaded Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Yugoslavia and Greece.  Less than thirteen months after that photo was taken, the US would also be drawn into that war.

Nobody has ever celebrated an "Armistice" to end World War II, or any war since then.

And, in the US, this day has been turned into "Veterans' Day" --a holiday I wholeheartedly endorse, as much as I abhor war-- which will be commemorated tomorrow.

(About Veterans' Day:  As much as I'm in favor of this holiday, I wish its emphasis was on the ones who gave their limbs, senses, bodies and even lives, rather than on the glorification of their "victories."  I also would favor calling it "Remembrance Day," as it's known in Canada and the UK.)


  1. Just on the other side of our northern border, Remembrance Day is observed as you note. Somehow, that seems more appropriate to me than Veterans Day. For those that were killed, we already have Memorial Day - and had it before there was an Armistice (or RemembranceO Day.

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Parr_(British_Army_soldier)

    Remembrance for cyclists...

  3. Steve--I totally agree with you.