We paid a visit to some one dear to us and we chanced to be in the neighbourhood of the WWI Armistice Clearing in the forest near Compiègne, France. An impression of the ensuing visit.
1 The Clearing of the Armistice is a monument commemorating primarily the ending of hostilities of WWI. On November 11th, 1918 parties signed an armistice in a railway car on this location.
2 11 November 1918. An impression of the surrender of the German troops to a delegation of representatives of the allied forces led by general Foch. This and the ensuing conditions of the Versailles Treaty were widely considered to be extremely humiliating for the German nation..
3Bild 183-M1112-500 22 June 1940. The Germans a revenge staged the surrender of the French troops on the same location in the same railway car. Hitler, always fond of drama and sensitive to publicity, made a real show of the humiliation of the French troops. From left to right: Von Ribbentrop, Keitel (in profile), Göring, Hess, Hitler, Raeder (hidden behind Hitler) and Brauchitsch, at the Armistice car.
4 The French placed a monument on the site in 1922 with a wry sense of humor depicting the German Imperial Eagle shot dead and fallen from its plinth....
5 This was diplomatically hidden from the Führer's view when he and his commanding officers started to walk down the alley towards the carriage
6 This is the alley Hitler walked down on the way to signing the surrender of the French army in 1940.
8 The place where the carriage stood
11 In 1918 the Germans surrendered at this very spot, only 22 year later the French did the same.
12 A monument to commemorate those fallen for their country.
13 A view over the monument in the centre of the Clearing towards the Fallen Eagle
14 The other car's position.
16 The nearby museum houses a replacement car of the one in which the treaties were signed.
17 The original car was transported to Germany in 1940 and put on display there. Hitler ordered the Clearing monument to be destroyed. When in 1944 the war drew to an end the original car was burned, allegedly on orders of the SS although German witnesses denounce that. Anyhow, the car was lost. This is a sister car from the same class which after WWII was converted to take the guise of the original car. So it is a replacement rather than a replica.
18 Same detail shots.
37 The car is housed in a museum to protect it from the elements. The museum also displays a large number of artifacts from both wars.
50 Remains of the original car that burned in 1944
54 A place with mixed feelings. Happiness that a war ended here. Sadness because it was unscrupulously misused by the German commanders.