(See Wasted Lives on Armistice Day.)
On November 11, 1918, Armistice Day, the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front in France suffered more than thirty-five hundred casualties, although it had been known unofficially for two days that the fighting would end that day and known with absolute certainty as of 5 o'clock that morning that it would end at 11 a.m.
Pershing (b. 1860) later told Congress that he could not know what the Armistice foretold, whether it would stick. He also said it was bogus.
To Pershing the very idea of an armistice was repugnant. "Their request is an acknowledgment of weakness and clearly means that the Allies are winning the war," he maintained. "Germany's desire is only to regain time to restore order among her forces, but she must be given no opportunity to recuperate and we must strike harder than ever." As for terms, Pershing had one response: "There can be no conclusion to this war until Germany is brought to her knees."