November 11 1918
: Winning A Cause World War Stories
Sinners are said sometimes to repent and change their ways at the
eleventh hour; and on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the
eleventh month of the year of 1918, the Kaiser, and other German war
lords, if they did not repent, at least changed their ways, for at that
hour the armistice went into effect and the war was over, with Germany
and her allies humbled and defeated.
November 11 has become one
of the great dates in world history, but it
was already great in the history of the nation whose entrance into the
World War determined beyond question its final result.
In the State House Library in Boston, there lies in a glass case a very
precious manuscript. It is the History of the Plymouth Plantation
written by Governor William Bradford. It is often called The Log of
the Mayflower, for it records the journey of the Mayflower carrying
the Pilgrims to a land of freedom. It tells the story of the forming
of an independent government by members of this little band, strong
only in their faith and in their desire for liberty.
In the glass case the written manuscript lies open at the record of the
solemn compact made in the cabin of the Mayflower in order that all
who look may read and know the aims of these few courageous men and
women in seeking a new world.
This was about 300 years ago, on November 11, 1620. Let us read again
the compact of these brave and adventurous souls, who saw the vision of
democracy, a dream not realized for the whole world until 298 years
later, on November 11, 1918.
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal
subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God,
of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith &c.
having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian
faith, and honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first
colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly
and mutually in the presence of God, and of one another, covenant and
combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better
ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by
virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws,
ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as
shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the
colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In
witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the
11th of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King
James, of England, France, and Ireland the eighteenth and of Scotland
the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.
It is safe to say that from this agreement which Senator Hoar called
the most important political transaction that has ever taken place
upon the face of the earth, and from this band of Pilgrims, has come
in the three centuries leading up to world democracy a greater
influence for freedom and liberty than from any other single source in
the affairs of men.
How singular that this compact and the armistice with Germany, which is
without doubt the most significant transaction between men in all
recorded history, should both have been signed on November 11! It has
been suggested that hereafter November 11, instead of the last Thursday
in November, should be set aside as Thanksgiving Day. It certainly
should be forever a day of thanksgiving even if it is not made
officially Thanksgiving Day.
Sunday night, November 10, the whole world waited in breathless
suspense. The armistice conditions had been considered by the German
government at a late sitting in Berlin on Sunday afternoon. Hard as
they were, the government decided to accept them and telephoned
instructions to Spa, the headquarters of the German army, authorizing
the German delegates to sign the papers. The messenger was waiting at
Spa to carry the information to the German representatives who were at
Chateau de Francfort with Marshal Foch and Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss,
first lord of the British navy. He reached them at about two o'clock
on Monday morning, November 11, and after some discussion the armistice
was signed at five o'clock, to become effective six hours later.
Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10, the whole world stopped,
looked, and listened. Nothing just like it had happened before in the
history of mankind. The world is constantly growing smaller as men
overcome the difficulty of getting quickly from place to place, and
peoples are thereby getting nearer to each other, so that whatever
happens to one is of immediate interest to all others. The following
description of Sunday night and Monday morning in a newspaper office in
a small Massachusetts city is a graphic and interesting account of
scenes that were being enacted at the same time all over the world.