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1918 revisited

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This article re-evaluates the origins of the armistice of November 1918, drawing on German, French and British primary sources and on insights from work by political scientists on war termination. It examines why the German government decided to request a ceasefire and why the US, Britain and France decided to grant one. At first sight these decisions appear paradoxical in the light of the military-political situation at the time. In accounting for them the article stresses (on the German side) the campaigning on the Western Front over the previous months and (among Germany's opponents) the diplomatic tensions between Washington, London and Paris. Between them these considerations caused an unexpected and temporary convergence of perceived interests in favour of ending the conflict.

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