At 5:10 am, 11 November 1918, the representatives of the German high command signed the armistice dictated to them by Marshal Foch, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. Six hours later at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 World War I ended. The Third Republic, the most enduring French regime since the Revolution, had with the help of its democratic allies, the British Empire and the United States of America, survived it strongest challenge. The old order, established after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, had vanished. The Germans who arrived in the Forest of Compiegne as representatives of the German Empire signed the armistice three days later as representatives of the German Republic. The empires of the Hapsburgs, Hohenzollerns, Romanovs and Ottomans were no more. Establishing a new order proved more difficult, perhaps, than anyone present in Wagon Lits Company coach No. 2419D on that misty morning might have imagined. Where better to begin an exploration of the history, politics and emotions of the brief period between the World Wars than in the Forest of Compiegne? Here, amidst the memorials symbolic of the unresolved bitterness of both victors and vanquished, the short interval between peace and war would begin and end.
THE GLADE OF THE ARMISTICE
No time was wasted in turning the historic meeting place into a national shrine and memorial to the victory of French arms. On the initiative of M.