An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, since it may constitute only a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace. It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning "arms" (as in weapons) and -stitium, meaning "a stopping".
The United Nations Security Council often imposes, or tries to impose, cease-fire resolutions on parties in modern conflicts. Armistices are always negotiated between the parties themselves and are thus generally seen as more binding than non-mandatory UN cease-fire resolutions in modern international law.
An armistice is a modus vivendi and is not the same as a peace treaty, which may take months or even years to agree on. The 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement is a major example of an armistice which has not been followed by a peace treaty. Armistice is also different from a truce or ceasefire, which refer to a temporary cessation of hostilities for an agreed limited time or within a limited area. A truce may be needed in order to negotiate an armistice.
Under international law an armistice is a legal agreement (often in a document) which ends fighting between the "belligerent parties" of a war or conflict. At the Hague Convention of 1899, where three treaties were agreed and three declarations made, the Convention with respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land stated that "If [the armistice's] duration is not fixed," the parties can resume fighting (Article 36) as they choose, but with proper notifications. This is in comparison to a "fixed duration" armistice, where the parties can renew fighting only at the end of the particular fixed duration. When the belligerent parties say (in effect), "this armistice completely ends the fighting" without any end date for the armistice, then duration of the armistice is fixed in the sense that no resumption of the fighting is allowed at any time. For example, the Korean Armistice Agreement calls for a "ceasefire and armistice" and has the "objective of establishing an armistice which will ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.
Armistice Day (which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays) is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the Armistice of 11 November 1918 signed between the Allies of World War I and the German Empire at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.
Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts. Most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted the name Remembrance Day, while the United States chose Veterans Day.
The Armistice Day Blizzard (or the Armistice Day Storm) took place in the Midwest region of the United States on November 11 (Armistice Day) and November 12, 1940. The intense early-season "panhandle hook" winter storm cut a 1,000-mile-wide (1600 km) swath through the middle of the country from Kansas to Michigan.1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of armistice agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria to formally end the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and establish armistice lines between Israeli forces and Jordanian-Iraqi forces, also known as the Green Line.
The United Nations established supervising and reporting agencies to monitor the established armistice lines. In addition, discussions related to the armistice enforcement, led to the signing of the separate Tripartite Declaration of 1950 between the United States, Britain, and France. In it, they pledged to take action within and outside the United Nations to prevent violations of the frontiers or armistice lines. It also outlined their commitment to peace and stability in the area, their opposition to the use or threat of force, and reiterated their opposition to the development of an arms race. These lines held until the 1967 Six-Day War.Armistice Day
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France at 5:45 am, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. But, according to Thomas R. Gowenlock, an intelligence officer with the US First Division, shelling from both sides continued for the rest of the day, only ending at nightfall. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days and had to be extended several times. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.The date is a national holiday in France, and was declared a national holiday in many Allied nations.
During World War II, many countries changed the name of the holiday. Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted Remembrance Day, while the US chose Veterans Day. In some countries Armistice Day coincides with other public holidays.On 11 November 2018, the centenary of the World War One Armistice, commemorations were held globally. In France, more than 60 heads of government and heads of state gathered at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.Armistice of 11 November 1918
The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne from the place where it was signed at 5:45 a.m. by the French Marshal Foch, it came into force at 11:00 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender.
The actual terms, largely written by the Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, included the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of German forces to behind the Rhine, Allied occupation of the Rhineland and bridgeheads further east, the preservation of infrastructure, the surrender of aircraft, warships, and military materiel, the release of Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians, eventual reparations, no release of German prisoners and no relaxation of the naval blockade of Germany.
Although the armistice ended the fighting on the Western Front, it had to be prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on 28 June 1919, took effect on 10 January 1920.Armistice of 22 June 1940
The Armistice of 22 June 1940 was signed at 18:36 near Compiègne, France, by officials of Nazi Germany and the French Third Republic. It did not come into effect until after midnight on 25 June.
Signatories for Germany included senior military officers like Wilhelm Keitel, the commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht (the German armed forces), while those on the French side were more junior, such as General Charles Huntziger. Following the decisive German victory in the Battle of France (10 May–21 June 1940), this armistice established a German occupation zone in Northern and Western France that encompassed all English Channel and Atlantic Ocean ports and left the remainder "free" to be governed by the French. Adolf Hitler deliberately chose Compiègne Forest as the site to sign the armistice due to its symbolic role as the site of the 1918 Armistice with Germany that signaled the end of World War I with Germany's surrender.Armistice of Cassibile
The Armistice of Cassibile was an armistice signed on 3 September 1943 by Walter Bedell Smith and Giuseppe Castellano, and made public on 8 September, between the Kingdom of Italy and the Allies during World War II. It was signed at a conference of generals from both sides in an Allied military camp at Cassibile in Sicily, which had recently been occupied by the Allies. The armistice was approved by both King Victor Emmanuel III and Italian Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio. The armistice stipulated the surrender of Italy to the Allies.
After its publication, Germany retaliated against Italy, freeing Mussolini and attacking Italian forces in Italy, the South of France and the Balkans. Italian forces were quickly defeated and most of Italy was occupied by German troops, establishing a puppet state, the Italian Social Republic. In the meanwhile the King, the government and most of the navy reached territories occupied by the Allies.Armistice of Erzincan
The Armistice of Erzincan (also spelled Erzindzhan or Erzinjan) was an agreement to suspend hostilities during World War I signed by the Ottoman Empire and Transcaucasian Commissariat in Erzincan on 18 December 1917 (5 December O.S.). The armistice brought temporary peace to the Caucasian and Persian Fronts until 12 February, when the fighting was resumed.
The status of the Transcaucasian Commissariat was unclear at the time: the Ottomans regarded it as an independent entity, a legal successor of the Russian Empire, while the Commissariat still considered itself a part of the Russian Republic. The Ottoman Empire was already party to the Brest-Litovsk armistice with Russia (15 December) that covered the Caucasian and Persian Fronts. After receiving a ceasefire proposal from Vehib Pasha, commander of the Ottoman Third Army, the Commissariat authorised the commander of the Russian Caucasus Front, General Przhevalski, to negotiate an armistice with his Ottoman opposite. The result was the Erzincan Armistice, after which the Russian troops began to withdraw, leaving the Transcaucasian Commissariat completely undefended.
A supplement to the armistice was signed on the same day, demarcating the line of occupation between the two sides. On 12 February, Ottoman forces began advancing across the line in defiance of the armistice, having rejected the Transcaucasian Commissariat's authority to sign it and accused the Armenians of massacring Muslims behind the Ottoman line on 15–16 January. On 24 February the Brest-Litovsk armistice was broken by Germany and became of no effect. Both armistices were superseded by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia, signed on 3 March 1918, and the Treaty of Batum with the successor states of the Transcaucasian Commissariat, signed 4 June.Armistice of Mudros
The Armistice of Mudros (Turkish: Mondros Mütarekesi), concluded on 30 October 1918, ended the hostilities, at noon the next day, in the Middle Eastern theatre between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I. It was signed by the Ottoman Minister of Marine Affairs Rauf Bey and the British Admiral Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe, on board HMS Agamemnon in Moudros harbor on the Greek island of Lemnos.As part of several conditions to the armistice, the Ottomans surrendered their remaining garrisons outside Anatolia, as well as granted the Allies the right to occupy forts controlling the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus; and the right to occupy the same "in case of disorder" any Ottoman territory in the event of a threat to their security. The Ottoman army including the Ottoman air force was demobilized, and all ports, railways, and other strategic points were made available for use by the Allies. In the Caucasus, the Ottomans had to retreat to within the pre-war borders between the Ottoman and the Russian Empires.
The armistice was followed by the occupation of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the subsequent partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920), which was signed in the aftermath of World War I, was never ratified by the Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul (the Ottoman Parliament was disbanded by the Allies on 11 April 1920 due to the overwhelming opposition of the Turkish MPs to the provisions discussed in Sèvres). It was later superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne (24 July 1923) following the Turkish victory at the Turkish War of Independence (1919–1923) which was conducted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara (established on 23 April 1920 by Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his followers, including his colleagues in the disbanded Ottoman military, and numerous former MPs of the closed Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul.)Armistice of Salonica
The Armistice of Salonica (also known as the Armistice of Thessalonica) was signed on 29 September 1918 between Bulgaria and the Allied Powers in Thessaloniki. The convention followed after a request by the Bulgarian government on 24 September asking for a ceasefire. The armistice effectively ended Bulgaria's participation in World War I on the side of the Central Powers and came into effect on the Bulgarian front at noon on 30 September. The armistice regulated the demobilization and disarmament of the Bulgarian armed forces.
The signatories were, for the Allies, the French General Louis Franchet d'Espérey, commander of the Allied Army of the Orient, and a commission appointed by the Bulgarian government, composed of General Ivan Lukov (member of the Bulgarian Army HQ), Andrey Lyapchev (cabinet member) and Simeon Radev (diplomat).Armistice of Villa Giusti
The Armistice of Villa Giusti ended warfare between Italy and Austria-Hungary on the Italian Front during World War I. The armistice was signed on 3 November 1918 in the Villa Giusti, outside Padua in the Veneto, northern Italy, and took effect 24 hours later.Armistice of Znaim
The Armistice of Znaim was a ceasefire agreed between Archduke Charles and Napoleon I on 12 July 1809 following the Battle of Znaim, effectively ending hostilities between Austria and France in the War of the Fifth Coalition.
Following defeat at the Battle of Wagram, Archduke Charles retreated north into Bohemia hoping to regroup his battered forces. The French army had also suffered in the battle and did not give immediate pursuit. But two days after the battle, Napoleon ordered his troops north intending to defeat the Austrians once and for all. The French eventually caught up the Austrians at Znaim (now Znojmo, Czech Republic) on 10 July 1809. Realising they were in no position to give battle, the Austrians proposed a ceasefire as Archduke Charles went to begin peace negotiations with Napoleon. However, Marshal Auguste de Marmont refused to observe the ceasefire and committed his XI Corps of around 10,000 men into battle. With Marmont greatly outnumbered, André Masséna had no choice but to support him. By 11 July, Masséna's corps had joined Marmont's in battle but the Austrians had also reinforced their position around Znaim. After two days of futile fighting, with both sides suffering similar casualties and neither side gaining any advantage, Napoleon finally arrived with news of an armistice and ordered Marmont to end the battle.
Although the Battle of Znaim was the last action between Austria and France in the war, a formal peace was not agreed until the Treaty of Schönbrunn was signed on 14 October 1809, which finally ended the War of the Fifth Coalition.Green Line (Israel)
The Green Line, or (pre-) 1967 border or 1949 Armistice border, is the demarcation line set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between the armies of Israel and those of its neighbors (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It served as the de facto borders of the State of Israel from 1949 until the Six-Day War in 1967.
The name comes from the green ink used to draw the line on the map while the armistice talks were going on. After the Six-Day War, the territories captured by Israel beyond the Green Line came to be designated as East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula (the Sinai Peninsula has since been returned to Egypt as part of the 1979 peace treaty). These territories are often referred to as Israeli-occupied territories.
The Green Line was intended as a demarcation line rather than a permanent border. The 1949 Armistice Agreements were clear (at Arab insistence) that they were not creating permanent borders. The Egyptian–Israeli agreement, for example, stated that "the Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question." Similar provisions are contained in the Armistice Agreements with Jordan and Syria. The Agreement with Lebanon contained no such provisions, and was treated as the international border between Israel and Lebanon, stipulating only that forces would be withdrawn to the Israel–Lebanon border.
The Green Line is often referred to as the "pre-1967 borders" or the "1967 borders" by many international bodies and national leaders, including the former United States president (Barack Obama), Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, by the United Nations (UN) in informal texts, and in the text of UN General Assembly Resolutions.Jordan–Israel Mixed Armistice Commission
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan/Israel Mixed Armistice Commission (HKJI MAC) was the United Nations organisation of observers which dealt with complaints from Jordan and Israel to maintain the fragile cease fire along the demarcation line (Green Line) between Israel and Jordan. At the closing of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, on 3 April 1949, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed a truce with Israel called the 1949 Armistice Agreements. The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation posted Military Observers as part of the Mixed Armistice Commissions (MACs) to Observe the truce on the Cease fire line and to liaise with the Israeli and Jordanian local area commanders. While the 1948 war was concluded with the 1949 Armistice Agreements it has not marked the end of the Arab–Israeli conflict. The HKJ/IMAC was the organisation which monitored the Jordan/Israel truce agreement, the HJK/IMAC Headquarters was located in Jerusalem close to the Green Line and, through close liaison with the UNTSO headquarters in Government House, Jerusalem, was charged with supervising the truce, investigating border incidents, and taking remedial action to prevent the recurrence of such incidents along the Jordan/Israel Green Line.Korean Armistice Agreement
The Korean Armistice Agreement (Korean: 한국휴전협정) is the armistice which brought about a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War. It was signed by U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Harrison, Jr. representing the United Nations Command (UNC), North Korean General Nam Il representing the Korean People's Army (KPA), and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA). The Armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, and was designed to "ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved."During the 1954 Geneva Conference in Switzerland, Chinese Premier and foreign minister Zhou Enlai suggested that a peace treaty should be implemented on the Korean peninsula. However, the US secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, did not accommodate this attempt to achieve such a treaty. A final peace settlement has never been achieved. The signed Armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the de facto new border between the two nations, put into force a cease-fire, and finalized repatriation of prisoners of war. The DMZ runs close to the 38th parallel and has separated North and South Korea since the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953.Moscow Armistice
The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War. The Armistice restored the Moscow Peace Treaty of 1940, with a number of modifications.
The final peace treaty between Finland and many of the Allies was signed in Paris in 1947.Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day owing to the tradition of the remembrance poppy) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of First World War on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month", in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. ("At the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.) The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.The tradition of Remembrance Day evolved out of Armistice Day. The initial Armistice Day was observed at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V hosting a "Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic" during the evening hours of 10 November 1919. The first official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace the following morning. During the Second World War, many countries changed the name of the holiday. Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted Remembrance Day, while the US chose Veterans Day.Second Italian War of Independence
The Second Italian War of Independence, also called the Franco-Austrian War, Austro-Sardinian War or Italian War of 1859 (French: Campagne d'Italie), was fought by the French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire in 1859 and played a crucial part in the process of Italian unification.Treaty of Leoben
The Treaty of Leoben was a general armistice and preliminary peace agreement between the Holy Roman Empire and the First French Republic that ended the War of the First Coalition. It was signed at Eggenwaldsches Gartenhaus, near Leoben, on 18 April 1797 (29 germinal V in the French revolutionary calendar) by General Maximilian von Merveldt and the Marquis of Gallo on behalf of the Emperor Francis II and by General Napoléon Bonaparte on behalf of the French Directory. Ratifications were exchanged in Montebello on 24 May, and the treaty came into effect immediately.
On 30 March, Bonaparte had made his headquarters at Klagenfurt and from there, on 31 March, he sent a letter to the Austrian commander-in-chief, the Archduke Charles, requesting an armistice to prevent the further loss of life. Receiving no response, the French advanced as far as Judenburg by the evening of 7 April. That night, Charles proffered a truce for five days, which was accepted. On 13 April, Merveldt went to the French headquarters at Leoben and requested the armistice be extended so that a preliminary peace could be signed. That was granted and three proposals were drawn up. The final one was accepted by both sides, and, on 18 April, at Leoben, the preliminary peace was signed.The treaty contained nine public articles and eleven secret ones. In the public articles, the Emperor ceded his "Belgian Provinces" (the Austrian Netherlands), and in the secret articles, he ceded his Italian states (Lombardy) in exchange for the Italian mainland possessions of the Republic of Venice, which had not yet been conquered. Except for these personal losses to the ruling Habsburgs, the treaty preserved the integrity of the Holy Roman Empire unlike in the amplified Treaty of Campo Formio of 17 October 1797.
No final peace between the Holy Roman Empire and France was reached before the outbreak of the War of the Second Coalition in 1799.Veterans Day
Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is an official United States public holiday observed annually on November 11, honoring military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service. There is another military holiday, Armed Forces Day, a minor U.S. remembrance that also occurs in May, which honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.