At precisely 11 a.m. on Monday, November 11, 1918 World War I came to an end, thanks to an armistice agreement negotiated between Germany and the allied forces that included France, Great Britain, Canada, the United States and other world powers.

German officials insisted on the term armistice – making it sound more like a truce or a cease fire – instead of surrender. But, let there be no doubt, the deal that was negotiated and signed into history inside a rail car in Compiègne, France represented nothing less that a complete capitulation on the part of the German Imperial Army. The war, known in its time as the Great War, left some 15 to 19 million dead, including military and civilian deaths, and another 23 million wounded.

Of those who bravely fought and died in the Great War, some were from Sutton County.

The war caused the dissolution of several old world empires, including the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as the abdication of German Kaiser Wilhelm to the Netherlands.

With much of Europe in ruin, Great Britain saw a resurgence of its standing as a world power. The United States of America, up until that time a second tier power, rose to a position of global prominence after the war. So too did the Empire of Japan which had been allied with Great Britain and the United States and was instrumental in keeping the shipping lanes in the Pacific open throughout the Great War.

The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia can also be directly tied to that country’s conduct of the war. The revolution ended with the overthrow of the Romanov Dynasty, the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his entire family, and the eventual rise of the Soviet Union.

Another product of the Great War was the utter collapse of the German economy leading directly to the development of several nationalistic movements, including a group known as the national socialists who eventually rose to power as the Nazi Party under the leadership of Adolph Hitler.

Historians widely agree that the Great War’s aftermath, along with the crippling terms imposed on the German nation, resulted in that country’s embrace of the Nazis who set the world on the path toward a truly global war just over 20 years later.

World War II erupted in 1939 with many European theater battles being fought over the same ground so many had perished in the Great War.
In all, more than 60 million people, military and civilian, died in World War II.

Observations following the Great War, and anniversary celebrations of the war’s end, became the Veterans Day holiday that we observe to this very day.

Beginning with this week’s edition Sutton County’s military veterans will recognized in the pages of The Devil’s River News. Photos of Sutton County veterans have been submitted. It is our hope that even more photos will be submitted so that they can be included in next year’s edition.