Armistice

By 1918, the general feelings of war weariness were widespread. This excerpt from a column in the Barrhead News, written in August 1918, captures the prevailing mood. (Barrhead News image (c) British Library Board. All rights reserved. Shelfmark: 1918 SCT 3937 [1918])

Full text of 'Here and There' column, Barrhead News, 2nd August 1918

'On the eve of another anniversary of our entry into the great international conflict, our minds naturally glance back to those early days of August 1914, when holiday arrangements and the affairs of ordinary life were so suddenly overshadowed by the rolling clouds of war. So far away now do they seem and so unlike the days that surround us that it looks as if we had stepped out of a different century or out of a different world altogether.'

'We have no doubt accustomed ourselves to the new circumstances, and in some respects there is less mental disturbance than there was four years ago, but on one point at least, our outlook is worse than it was then, for no one now anticipates an early termination and a speedy victory as we nearly all did when the sound of the drums of battle were new in our ears. Many who were only schoolboys when war began, have become soldiers and made the great sacrifice, and it is quite possible that other generations of schoolboys may have to follow the same course.'

'One of the most renowned generals of the British Empire, and a member of the War Cabinet - General Smuts - has declared a purely military victory to be an impossibility for either side. So, we observe the fourth anniversary with a passionate desire for an early end to the strife, and on such conditions as will give us reparation and security, but with only a feeble hope that such a consummation can be attained in the near future.'

It was with great relief then, that in the early hours of Monday 11th November 1918, the armistice was signed. The conflict was officially to stop at 11am that day. All over the globe spontaneous celebrations took place for the end of a conflict which had lasted much longer than anyone had ever expected.

This edition of the Evening Times newspaper (pictured right) was printed on Armistice Day. As you can see, the end of hostilities has overshadowed everything else.

The Barrhead News reported the armistice in a surprisingly low-key way. By contrast, the following article comes from "The Southern Press", a newspaper from the Greater Glasgow area. It describes the joyful scenes in Busby as the news is received:

'The glad tidings of peace reached the village shortly after 11 o'clock on Monday morning. The laundry girls at once abandoned work, and, proceeding to the mill, were joined by practically all the employees. The school children having been released, processional order was formed, and headed by a drummer, the party toured the main thoroughfares.'

'With the return from work of munitioneers, engineering and factory workers, the village assumed a holiday atmosphere, with singing, shouting and exuberance of spirits. Generally the cessation of hostilities was celebrated with unbounded enthusiasm. There was a profusion of gay bunting, and festoons were strung across the road from house to house. An impromptu dance was held in the Templars Hall in the evening, and sounds of revelry rent the air far into the morning.'