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A truce - not a compromise, but a chance for high-toned gentlemen to retire gracefully from their very civil declarations of war.
By Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly , February 17, 1877, p. 132. Tilden or blood.jpg
A truce – not a compromise, but a chance for high-toned gentlemen to retire gracefully from their very civil declarations of war.
By Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly , February 17, 1877, p. 132.

A ceasefire (or truce), also called cease fire, is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces. A ceasefire is usually more limited than a broader armistice, which is a formal agreement to end fighting. Successful ceasefires may be followed by armistices, and finally by peace treaties.

War Organised and prolonged violent conflict between states

War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.

Treaty express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law

A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.

Armistice situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting

An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, since 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".


Historical examples

World War I

During World War I, on December 24, 1914, there was an unofficial ceasefire on the Western Front as France, the United Kingdom, and Germany observed Christmas. There are accounts that claimed the unofficial ceasefire took place through the week leading to Christmas and British and German troops exchanged seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches. [1] It was brief but spontaneous, beginning when German soldiers lit Christmas trees, and it quickly spread up and down the Western Front. [2] One account described this development in the following words:

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Christmas truce Ceasefire on the Western Front, 25 December 1914

The Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War I around Christmas 1914.

Western Front (World War I) main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.

It was good to see the human spirit prevailed amongst all sides at the front, the sharing and fraternity. All was well until the higher echelons of command got to hear about the effect of the ceasefire, whereby their wrath ensured a return to hostilities. [3]

There was no treaty signed during this Christmas truce and the war resumed after a few days.

British and German officers after arranging the German handover of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the surrounding area, negotiated during a temporary truce, April 1945 The Liberation of Bergen-belsen Concentration Camp, April 1945 BU4068.jpg
British and German officers after arranging the German handover of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the surrounding area, negotiated during a temporary truce, April 1945

Korean War

On November 29, 1952, the newly U.S. president-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, went to Korea to learn what might end the Korean War. With the United Nations' acceptance of India's proposed Korean War armistice, the Korean People's Army (KPA), the People's Volunteer Army (PVA), and the UN Command ceased fire with the battle line approximately at the 38th parallel. Upon agreeing to the ceasefire agreement, the belligerents established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has since been patrolled by the KPA and the joint ROKA, US, and UN Command. The Korean Demilitarized Zone runs northeast of the 38th parallel; to the south, it travels west. The old Korean capital city of Kaesong, site of the armistice negotiations, originally lay in the pre-war ROK, but now is in the DPRK. The United Nations Command (supported by the United States), the North Korean Korean People's Army, and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army, signed the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953, to end the fighting. The Armistice also called upon the governments of South Korea, North Korea, China, and the United States to participate in continued peace talks. For his part, ROK President Syngman Rhee attacked the peace proceedings. The war is considered to have ended at this point, even though there was no peace treaty.

The President-elect of the United States is the person who has won the quadrennial presidential election in the United States, but who has not yet been inaugurated as President of the United States. President-elect is also the honorific title accorded to this individual.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th president of the United States

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

Korean War 1950–1953 war between North Korea and South Korea

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.

Vietnam War

On January 15, 1973, President Richard Nixon of the USA ordered a ceasefire of the aerial bombings in North Vietnam. The decision came after Dr. Henry Kissinger, the National Security Affairs advisor to the president, returned to Washington from Paris, France with a draft peace proposal. Combat missions continued in South Vietnam. By January 27, 1973, all warring parties in the Vietnam War signed a ceasefire as a prelude to the Paris Peace Accord.

Richard Nixon 37th president of the United States

Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th president of the United States from 1969 to 1974. He had previously served as the 36th vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961, and prior to that as both a U.S. representative and senator from California.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

North Vietnam Former socialist republic in Southeast Asia

North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), was a country in Southeast Asia from 1954 to 1975.

Persian Gulf War

After Iraq was driven by U.S.-led coalition forces out of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and the U.N. Security Council signed a ceasefire agreement on March 3, 1991. Throughout the 1990s, the U.N. Security Council passed 16 Resolutions calling for Iraq to disarm the WMDs program unconditionally and immediately. Because no peace treaty was signed after the Gulf War, the war still remained in effect, such as an assassination attempt of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush by Iraqi agents while on a visit to Kuwait and Iraq was bombed in June 1993 as a response, Iraqi forces firing on coalition aircraft patrolling the Iraqi no-fly zones, U.S. President Bill Clinton's bombing of Baghdad in 1998 during Operation Desert Fox, and an earlier 1996 bombing of Iraq by the U.S. during Operation Desert Strike. The war remained in effect until 2003 when U.S. and United Kingdom forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime from power.

Kashmir conflict

A United Nations-mediated ceasefire was agreed between India and Pakistan on 1 January 1949, ending the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 (also called the `1947 Kashmir War'). Fighting broke out between the two newly independent countries in Kashmir in October 1947, with India intervening on behalf of the princely ruler of Kashmir who had joined India and the rebels, who were supported by Pakistan. The fighting was limited to Kashmir but, apprehensive that it might develop into a full-scale international war, India referred the matter to the UN Security Council under Article 35 of the UN Charter, which addresses situations `likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace'. The Security Council set up a dedicated United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan, which mediated for an entire year as the fighting continued. After several UN resolutions outlining a procedure for resolving the dispute via a plebiscite, a ceasefire agreement was reached between the countries towards the end of December 1948, which came into effect in the New Year. The Security Council set up a United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to monitor the ceasefire line. [4] India has declared a ceasefire in Kashmir Valley during Ramadan 2018. [5]

Betrayal of the Assyrians during ceasefire

During World War I, Turkey, which was an ally of Germany, had its troops stationed both in the Balkan States in the west and at the Russian-Iranian border in the north and east. The Russian army was holding its positions against Turkey in the Caucasus mountains on the north and at the Turkish-Iranian border on the east, but when the Russian army withdrew from the war zone in this area due to Lenin's Revolution, its army stationed in the Caucasus was no longer there to protect the Assyrian and Armenian minorities. The Turkish government, who were angry at the Christians, had been kept under pressure by the Russian Army. In the absence of Russian power in the area, however, the Turkish Army, under the leadership of General Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who later was named Kemal Atatürk, and his close associate Enver Pasha, had some time to reconsolidate their positions on the two eastern borders.

In the meantime, the Kurdish chieftain Simko Shikak was secretly working with both the Turkish and Iranian governments for the annihilation of the Assyrians. Simko's hope[ citation needed ] was that by annihilating the Assyrians he would get an autonomous rule for his people, who lived in both Turkey and Iran. Simko requested a summit meeting for peace with Shimun XIX Benyamin, who was at the time both top religious leader of the Assyrian Church of the East and political leader of the Assyrians. Shimun accepted Simko's invitation for a peace mission, and took on March 3, 1918, an entourage after approximately 150 well armed men with him, because Simko was known[ citation needed ] to be untrustworthy. As the carriage carrying Shimun reached Simko headquarters, he was greeted by Simko's guards. As Shimun approached the interior of Simko's inner quarters, the Kurdish leader received him with all honour. The two leaders' discussions were amicable. One of Shimun's men had observed the shadows of some men on the very large roof of the headquarters, not realizing that there were actually several hundred of Simko's armed men hiding on the rooftop and all around the buildings. Simko later escorted Shimun to the gate, kissed his hand, and his horsemen were ready to conduct him on his way. When Shimun and his entourage stepped outside of the yard, Simko's men opened fire, killing the religious leader and about 140 of his men. Of the ten men who escaped, six were wounded.

The Assyrians, who were now left without both a political and a religious leader, fled their homes and villages while being persecuted by the Turks of the Ottoman empire and the Kurds.

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

An example of a ceasefire in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was announced between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority on February 8, 2005. When announced, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat publicly defined the ceasefire as follows: "We have agreed that today President Mahmoud Abbas will declare a full cessation of violence against Israelis anywhere and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will declare a full cessation of violence and military activities against Palestinians anywhere." [6]

Provisional IRA – British government

Throughout the period of The Troubles, the Provisional IRA and other paramilitary groups have called ceasefires. The most notable of these being the IRA ceasefire which was called on August 31, 1994, and ended on February 9, 1996, with the Docklands bombing. Another ceasefire was declared in July 1997 after negotiations were reopened.

The IRA traditionally called a Christmas truce. [7]

Spanish government – ETA

ETA has declared several ceasefires during its long running campaign against the Spanish state. A ceasefire declared in March 2006, was broken on December 30, 2006, when a car bomb exploded in Madrid killing two people. [8] On 5 September 2010 ETA declared a ceasefire. [9]

Syrian Civil War

Several attempts have been made to broker ceasefires in the Syrian Civil War. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

Nuclear proliferation spread of nuclear weapons to nations not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States"

Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons, fissionable material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information to nations not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT. Proliferation has been opposed by many nations with and without nuclear weapons, as governments fear that more countries with nuclear weapons will increase the possibility of nuclear warfare, de-stabilize international or regional relations, or infringe upon the national sovereignty of states.

United Nations Truce Supervision Organization organization established by the United Nations

The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) is an organization founded on 29 May 1948 for peacekeeping in the Middle East. Its primary task was providing the military command structure to the peace keeping forces in the Middle East to enable the peace keepers to observe and maintain the cease-fire, and as may be necessary in assisting the parties to the Armistice Agreements in the supervision of the application and observance of the terms of those Agreements. The command structure of the UNTSO was maintained to cover the later peace keeper organisations of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

1949 Armistice Agreements

The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of armistice agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria to formally end the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and establish armistice lines between Israeli forces and Jordanian-Iraqi forces, also known as the Green Line.

Peace treaty agreement between two or more hostile parties which formally ends a state of war

A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties. It is different from an armistice, which is an agreement to stop hostilities, or a surrender, in which an army agrees to give up arms, or a ceasefire or truce in which the parties may agree to temporarily or permanently stop fighting.

Tashkent Declaration peace agreement between India and Pakistan

The Tashkent Declaration was a peace agreement between India and Pakistan signed on 10 January 1966 that resolved the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Peace had been achieved on 23 September by the intervention of the external powers who pushed the two nations to cease fire, afraid the conflict could escalate and draw in other powers.

Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt Occupation Period

The occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt occurred between 1948 and October 1956 and again from March 1957 to June 1967. From September 1948, until its dissolution by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959, the Gaza Strip was officially administered by the All-Palestine Government. Although largely symbolic, the government was recognized by most members of the Arab League. Following its dissolution, Egypt did not annex the Gaza Strip but left it under military rule pending a resolution of the Palestine question.

The Karachi Agreement of 1949 was signed by the military representatives of India and Pakistan, supervised by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan, establishing a cease-fire line in Kashmir following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. It established a cease-fire line which has been monitored by United Nations observers from the United Nations since then.

The Green Line, or (pre-) 1967 border or 1949 Armistice border, is the demarcation line set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between the armies of Israel and those of its neighbors after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It served as the de facto borders of the State of Israel from 1949 until the Six-Day War in 1967.

The following is a timeline of the Kashmir conflict, a territorial conflict between India, Pakistan and, to a lesser degree, China. India and Pakistan have been involved in four wars, including one undeclared war, and many border skirmishes and military stand-offs.

Frozen conflict situation in which active armed conflict has been brought to an end, but no peace treaty or other political framework resolves the conflict to the satisfaction of the combatants

In international relations, a frozen conflict is a situation in which active armed conflict has been brought to an end, but no peace treaty or other political framework resolves the conflict to the satisfaction of the combatants. Therefore, legally the conflict can start again at any moment, creating an environment of insecurity and instability.

The United Nations has played an important role in maintaining peace and order in Jammu and Kashmir soon after the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, when a dispute erupted between the two States on the question of Jammu and Kashmir. India took this matter to the UN Security Council, which passed resolution 39 (1948) and established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate the issues and mediate between the two countries. Following the cease-fire of hostilities, it also established the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to monitor the cease-fire line.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, adopted on April 21, 1948, concerns the resolution of the Kashmir conflict. After hearing arguments from both India and Pakistan, the Council increased the size of the Commission established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 39 to five members, instructed the Commission to go to the subcontinent and help the governments of India and Pakistan restore peace and order to the region and prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir.

The United Nations Peacekeeping began in 1948. Its first mission was in the Middle East to observe and maintain the ceasefire during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Since then, United Nations peacekeepers have taken part in a total of 72 missions around the globe, 14 of which continue today. The peacekeeping force as a whole received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.

Simko Shikak Kurdish leader

Simko Shikak was a Kurdish chieftain of the Shakak tribe. He was born into a prominent Kurdish feudal family based in Chihriq castle located near the Baranduz river in the Urmia region of northwestern Iran. By 1920, parts of Iranian Azerbaijan located west of Lake Urmia were under his control. He led Kurdish farmers into battle and defeated the Iranian army on several occasions. The Iranian government had him assassinated in 1930. Simko took part in the massacre of the Assyrians of Khoy and instigated the massacre of 1000 Assyrians in Salmas, all as part of the larger genocide against Assyrians, Armenians, and Greeks, which saw the systematic murder of millions of indigenous Christians.

Borders of Israel political borders

The current borders of the State of Israel are the result both of war and of diplomatic agreements among Israel, her neighbors, and colonial powers. Uniquely, only two of Israel's five potential land borders are internationally recognized while the other three are disputed. Israel's borders with Egypt and Jordan have now been formally recognized and confirmed as part of the peace treaties with those countries. The borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories are still in dispute.

The Mixed Armistice Commissions (MAC) is an organisation for monitoring the ceasefire along the lines set by the General Armistice Agreements. It was composed of United Nations Military Observers and was part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization peacekeeping force in the Middle East. The MAC comprised on four sections to monitor each of the four truce agreements, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan/Israel MAC, the Israel/Syrian MAC, the Israel/Lebanon MAC and the Egypt/Israel MAC. The various MACs were located on the cease fire lines and, through close liaison with headquarters in Jerusalem, were charged with supervising the truce, investigating border incidents, and taking remedial action to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Korean Armistice Agreement Document ending the Korean Wars major hostilities

The Korean Armistice Agreement is the armistice which brought about a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War. It was signed by U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Harrison, Jr. representing the United Nations Command (UNC), North Korean General Nam Il representing the Korean People's Army (KPA), and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA). The armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, and was designed to "ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved."

Syrian Civil War ceasefires

Several attempts have been made to broker ceasefires in the Syrian Civil War. Three ceasefires have been agreed, two of which have since collapsed.


  1. Evans, Abigail; Bartollas, Clemens; Graham, Gordon; Henke, Kenneth (2011). The Long Shadow of Emile Cailliet: Faith, Philosophy, and Theological Education. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN   9781610971126.
  2. Brockell, Gillian (December 24, 2017). "The Christmas Truce miracle: Soldiers put down their guns to sing carols and drink wine". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  3. Wilson, Ross (2016). Cultural Heritage of the Great War in Britain. Oxon: Routledge. p. 74. ISBN   9781409445739.
  4. Schofield, Victoria (2003) [First published in 2000], Kashmir in Conflict, London and New York: I. B. Taurus & Co, pp. 68–69, ISBN   978-1860648984
  5. "India declares ceasefire in Kashmir - Global Village Space". Global Village Space. 2018-05-17. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  6. Wedeman, Ben; Raz, Guy; Koppel, Andrea (2005-02-07). "Mideast cease-fire expected Tuesday". CNN. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
  7. "IRA Declares Usual Christmas Truce". Los Angeles Times. December 24, 1993.
  8. "Second Madrid blast victim found". 5 January 2007 via news.bbc.co.uk.
  9. "Spain's Eta 'declares ceasefire'". 5 September 2010 via www.bbc.co.uk.
  10. Lundgren, Magnus (2016). "Mediation in Syria: initiatives, strategies, and obstacles, 2011–2016". Contemporary Security Policy. 37 (2): 273–288. doi:10.1080/13523260.2016.1192377.