Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice Day

Fighting along the Western Front ended on this day in 1918 -- at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Most of us mark that as the end of World War I.

World War I was also called the "War to End All Wars." Unfortunately, that didn't work out so well.

World War I was not necessarily even the first world war. No less an authority than Winston Churchill suggested that the "Seven Years' War" (1756-1763) might more properly be seen as the first. (The French and Indian War, which was started, according to some accounts, by George Washington himself, began earlier but was soon overshadowed by the larger conflict).

Wikipedia has a list of several wars which might be considered world wars before the Great War of 1914-1918. On Wikipedia's list are:
  • the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648)
  • the Dutch-Portuguese War (1602-1663)
  • the Nine Years' War (1688–1697), also called the "War of the Grand Alliance" or "War of the Palatine Succession"
  • the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714)
  • the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748)
  • the Seven Years' War (1756–1763),
  • the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
  • the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) and
  • the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).
In America, the move to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day came after World War II (or World War XI if you want to accept the entire Wikipedia list). Although today is legally Veterans Day, most of America will observe that holiday tomorrow, so this year, if you'd like, Armistice Day can be remembered all by itself.

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