The Armistice of 22 June 1940 was signed at 18:36near Compiègne, France, by officials of Nazi Germany and the French Third Republic. It did not come into effect until after midnight on 25 June.
Signatories for Germany included senior military officers like Wilhelm Keitel,the commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht (the German armed forces), while those on the French side were more junior, such as General Charles Huntziger. Following the decisive German victory in the Battle of France (10 May – 21 June 1940), this armistice established a German occupation zone in Northern and Western France that encompassed all English Channel and Atlantic Ocean ports and left the remainder "free" to be governed by the French. Adolf Hitler deliberately chose Compiègne Forest as the site to sign the armistice due to its symbolic role as the site of the 1918 Armistice with Germany that signaled the end of World War I with Germany's surrender.
The best, most modernised French armies had been sent north and lost in the resulting encirclement; the French had lost their best heavy weaponry and their best armored formations. Between May and June, French forces were in general retreat and Germany threatened to occupy Paris. The French government was forced to relocate to Bordeaux on 10 June to avoid capture and declared Paris to be an open city the same day.
By 22 June, the German Armed Forces ( Wehrmacht ) had losses of 27,000 dead, more than 111,000 wounded and 18,000 missing. French losses were 92,000 dead and more than 200,000 wounded. The British Expeditionary Force suffered 68,000 casualties, with around 10,000 killed.
When Adolf Hitler received word from the French government that they wished to negotiate an armistice, Hitler selected Compiègne Forest as the site for the negotiations. As Compiègne was the site of the 1918 Armistice ending the Great War with Germany's conflict cessation, Hitler used this place as a supreme moment of revenge for Germany over France. Hitler decided that the signing should take place in the same rail carriage, the Compiègne Wagon, where the Germans had signed the 1918 armistice. However, in the last sentence of the preamble, the drafters inserted "However, Germany does not have the intention to use the armistice conditions and armistice negotiations as a form of humiliation against such a valiant opponent", referring to the French forces. Furthermore, in Article 3, Clause 2, the drafters stated that their intention was not to heavily occupy North-West France after the cessation of hostilities with Britain.
William Shirer, who was present on that day, reports, "I am but fifty yards from him. […] I have seen that face many times at the great moments of his life. But today! It is afire with scorn, anger, hate, revenge, triumph."Then, in the same railway carriage in which the 1918 Armistice had been signed (removed from a museum building and placed exactly where it was in 1918), on 21 June 1940, Hitler sat in the same chair in which Marshal Ferdinand Foch had sat when he faced the representatives of the defeated German Empire. After listening to the reading of the preamble, Hitler – in a calculated gesture of disdain for the French delegates – left the carriage, as Foch had done in 1918, leaving the negotiations to his Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces) Chief, General Wilhelm Keitel. Then negotiations lasted one day, until the evening of 22 June 1940: General Huntzinger had to discuss the terms by phone with the French government representatives who had fled to Bordeaux, mainly with the newly nominated defence minister, General Maxime Weygand.
Adolf Hitler had a number of reasons for agreeing to an armistice. He wanted to ensure that France did not continue to fight from North Africa, and he wanted to ensure that the French Navy was taken out of the war. In addition, leaving a French government in place would relieve Germany of the considerable burden of administering French territory, particularly as he turned his attentions towards Britain. Finally, as Germany lacked a navy sufficient to occupy France's overseas territories, Hitler's only practical recourse to deny the British use of them was to maintain a formally independent and neutral French rump state.
According to William Shirer's book Rise and Fall of the Third Reich , French General Charles Huntziger complained that the armistice terms imposed on France were harsher than those imposed on Germany in 1918. They provided for German occupation of three-fifths of France north and west of a line through Geneva and Tours and extending to the Spanish border, so as to give Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine access to all French Channel and Atlantic ports. All persons who had been granted political asylum had to be surrendered and all occupation costs had to be borne by France, approximately 400 million French francs a day. A minimal French Army would be permitted. As one of Hitler's few concessions, the French Navy was to be disarmed but not surrendered, for Hitler realized that pushing France too far could result in France fighting on from the French colonial empire. An unoccupied region in the south, the Zone libre , was left relatively free to be governed by a rump French administration based in Vichy, which also administered the occupied zones, albeit under severe restrictions.
This was envisaged to last until a final peace treaty was negotiated. At the time, both French and Germans thought the occupation would be a provisional state of affairs and last only until Britain came to terms, which was believed to be imminent.[ citation needed ] For instance, none of the French delegation objected to the stipulation that French soldiers would remain prisoners of war until the cessation of all hostilities. Nearly one million Frenchmen were thus forced to spend the next five years in prisoner of war camps (about a third of the initial 1.5 million prisoners taken were released or exchanged as part of the Service du Travail Obligatoire forced labour programme by the Germans, before the war ended).
However, a final peace treaty was never negotiated, and the unoccupied zone was occupied by Germany and its Italian ally in Case Anton following the invasion of French North Africa by the Allies in November 1942.
Article 19 of the Franco-German armistice required the French state to turn over to German authorities any German national on French territory, who would then frequently face deportation to a concentration camp (the "Surrender on Demand" clause).Keitel gave verbal assurances that this would apply mainly to those refugees who had "fermented the war", a euphemism for Jews, and especially German Jews who until then had enjoyed asylum in France. Keitel also made one other concession, that French aircraft need not be handed over to the Germans.
The French delegation—led by General Charles Huntziger—tried to soften the harsher terms of the armistice, but Keitel replied that they would have to accept or reject the armistice as it was. Given the military situation that France was in, Huntziger had "no choice" but to accede to the armistice terms. The cease-fire went into effect at 00:35 on 25 June 1940, more than two days later, only after another armistice was signed between France and Italy, the main German ally in Europe.
The armistice did have some relative advantages for the French, compared to worse possible outcomes, such as keeping the colonial empire and the fleet, and, by avoiding full occupation and disarmament, the remaining French rump state in the unoccupied zone could enforce a certain de facto independence and neutrality vis-à-vis the Axis.
The Armistice site was demolished by the Germans on Hitler's orders three days later.The carriage itself was taken to Berlin as a trophy of war, along with pieces of a large stone tablet. The Alsace-Lorraine Monument (depicting a German Eagle impaled by a sword) was also destroyed and all evidence of the site was obliterated, except notably the statue of Ferdinand Foch: Hitler ordered it to be left intact, so that it would be honoring only a wasteland. The railway carriage was later exhibited in Berlin, and then taken to Crawinkel in Thuringia in 1945, where it was destroyed by SS troops and the remains buried. After the war, the site and memorials were restored by German POW labour.
An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, as it may constitute only a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace. It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning "arms" and -stitium, meaning "a stopping".
During World War II, Fall Rot was the plan for the second phase of the conquest of France by the German Army and began on 5 June 1940. It had been made possible by the success of Fall Gelb, the invasion of the Benelux countries and northern France in the Battle of France and the encirclement of the Allied armies in the north on the Channel coast. Powerful forces were also to advance into France.
Compiègne is a commune in the Oise department in northern France. It is located on the Oise River. Its inhabitants are called Compiégnois.
Ferdinand Foch was a French general and military theorist who served as the Supreme Allied Commander during the First World War. An aggressive, even reckless commander at the First Marne, Flanders, and Artois campaigns of 1914–1916, Foch became the Allied Commander-in-Chief in late March 1918 in the face of the all-out German spring offensive, which pushed the Allies back using fresh soldiers and new tactics that trenches could not contain. He successfully coordinated the French, British and American efforts into a coherent whole, deftly handling his strategic reserves. He stopped the German offensive and launched a war-winning counterattack. In November 1918, Marshal Foch accepted the German cessation of hostilities and was present at the armistice of 11 November 1918.
The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compiègne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne from the place where it was signed at 5:45 a.m. by the French Marshal Foch, it came into force at 11:00 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender.
The Forest of Compiègne is a large forest in the region of Picardy, France, near the city of Compiègne and approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Paris.
The Military Administration in France was an interim occupation authority established by Nazi Germany during World War II to administer the occupied zone in areas of northern and western France. This so-called zone occupée was renamed zone nord in November 1942, when the previously unoccupied zone in the south known as zone libre was also occupied and renamed zone sud.
The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940 by William L. Shirer deals with the collapse of the French Third Republic as a result of Hitler's invasion during World War II.
The following events occurred in June 1940:
Italian-occupied France was an area of south-eastern France occupied by the Kingdom of Italy in two stages during World War II. The occupation lasted from June 1940 until the Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces in September 1943, when Italian troops on French soil retreated under pressure from the Germans.
The Occupation of the Rhineland from 1 December 1918 until 30 June 1930 was a consequence of the collapse of the Imperial German Army in 1918. Despite Germany proving victorious on the eastern front following the Russian Revolution, the military high command had failed to prevent the continuing erosion of morale, both domestically and in the army. Despite transferring veteran troops from the eastern front to fight on the western front, the spring offensive was a failure and following the outbreak of the German Revolution the Germany's provisional government was obliged to agree to the terms of the 1918 armistice. This included accepting that the troops of the victorious powers occupied the left bank of the Rhine and four right bank "bridgeheads" with a 30 kilometres (19 mi) radius around Cologne, Koblenz, Mainz and a 10 kilometres (6 mi) radius around Kehl. Furthermore, the left bank of the Rhine and a 50 kilometres (31 mi)-wide strip east of the Rhine was declared a demilitarized zone. The Treaty of Versailles repeated these provisions, but limited the presence of the foreign troops to fifteen years after the signing of the treaty. The purpose of the occupation was on the one hand to give France security against a renewed German attack, and on the other to serve as a guarantee for reparations obligations. After this was apparently achieved with the Young Plan, the occupation of the Rhineland was prematurely ended on 30 June 1930. The administration of occupied Rhineland was under the jurisdiction of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission with its seat at the Upper Presidium of the Rhine Province in Koblenz.
Events from the year 1940 in France.
The Last Day of World War One is an episode in the 2008 season of the Television series Timewatch. The programme was a co-production between the Open University and the BBC and aired in November 2008 on BBC 2. The material was presented by Michael Palin who reveals the shocking truth that soldiers continued to be killed in battle for many hours after the Armistice had been signed. Palin recounts the personal stories of the last soldiers to die in the final days, hours and minutes of World War I.
Charles Huntziger was a French Army general during World War I and World War II. He was born at Lesneven (Finistère) of a family of German descent. He graduated from Saint-Cyr in 1900 and joined the colonial infantry. During World War I, he served in the Middle Eastern theatre. He was chief of staff of operations of the Allied Expeditionary Force. In 1918, he participated in the development of General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey's Vardar Offensive against German and Bulgarian forces which would lead to Allied victory and the signing of the Armistice of Mudros in October 1918.
The zone libre was a partition of the French metropolitan territory during World War II, established at the Second Armistice at Compiègne on 22 June 1940. It lay to the south of the demarcation line and was administered by the French government of Marshal Philippe Pétain based in Vichy, in a relatively unrestricted fashion. To the north lay the zone occupée in which the powers of Vichy France were severely limited.
The Glade of the Armistice is a French national and war memorial in the Forest of Compiègne in Picardy, France, near the city of Compiègne and approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Paris. It was built at the location where the Germans signed the Armistice of 11 November 1918 that ended World War I. During World War II, Adolf Hitler chose the same spot for the French and Germans to sign the Armistice of 22 June 1940 after Germany won the Battle of France. The site was destroyed by the Germans but rebuilt after the war.
The Franco-Italian Armistice, or Armistice of Villa Incisa, signed on 24 June 1940, in effect from 25 June, ended the brief Italian invasion of France during the Second World War.
The French Demarcation line was the boundary line marking the division of Metropolitan France into the territory occupied and administered by the German Army in the northern and western part of France and the Zone libre in the south during World War II. It was created by the Armistice of 22 June 1940 after the fall of France in May 1940.
The Compiègne Wagon was the historical train carriage in which the First and Second Armistice at Compiègne were signed.
Henri Parisot (1881–1963) was a French general during the First World War (1914–18) and Second World War (1939–45).