Here, we offer a look at the headlines and stories that informed Canadians of the happenings on the front line as the Allied forces pushed for Germany’s eventual surrender, and the months following the armistice before the peace treaty was signed.
Friday, August 9, 1918
FRANCO-BRITISH SWEEP ON WIDE FRONT; CANADIANS PLAY PART IN GREAT VICTORY
OVER 1,000 PRISONERS AND 100 GUNS TAKEN IN EARLY HOUR OF GREAT ALLIED DRIVE
French, Canadian, Australian and English Divisions Take Part in the Offensive Launched Under the Command of Sir Douglas Haig – Cavalry, Tanks and Motor Guns are Active – Mounted Men Captured Transports and Villages – Berlin Admits Defeat
PARIS, Friday, Aug. 9– The number of prisoners taken by the French and British in Picardy now exceeds ten thousand, according to the latest news from the battlefront. The Allies have taken an enormous booty in guns and material, says Marcel Hutin in The Echo de Paris.
TO-DAY’S WAR SUMMARY
SIR DOUGLAS HAIG HAS LAUNCHED HIS EAGERLY-AWAITED OFFENSIVE east of Amiens. At dawn yesterday on a front of twenty-five miles from Albert south almost to Montdidier, French, Canadian, Australian and English troops, under command of Generals De Bentry and Sir Henry Rawlinson, respectively, and aided by a large number of British tanks, attacked the German line, and by night had pushed forward a distance of over seven miles, capturing thousands of prisoners and a large number of guns. So far as the point of assault was concerned the thrust was a complete surprise to the enemy, and rapid progress was made by the Allies.
Saturday, August 10, 1918
ALLIES SMASH FOE LINES FOR BIG GAINS IN CONTINUOUS FIGHTING: NEARLY 300 GUNS AND OVER 17,000 PRISONERS ARE GATHERED IN
Many Towns and Villages Fall Into Allied Hands as the Combined Forces Sweep on in Spite of Desperate Resistance – Canadians and Australians Particularly Mentioned
“Canadian and Australian troops captured a number of positions and pushed forward after severe fighting.”
“Besides considerable material, which has not yet been enumerated, we have made on our part 4,000 prisoners. Our losses and those of our British Allies are particularly light.” – an official statement of the Allies.
“The enemy is continuing his attacks between the Somme and Avre,” says the official statement from the General Headquarters to-night. The text of the day communication follows: “Between the Yser and the Avre (Ancre) our counter-attacks brought to a standstill enemy storming attacks just east of the line of Morcourt.”
CANADIANS IN THE FOREFRONT
Take a Number of Towns in the Hard Fighting of Friday
London, Aug. 9 – Canadian troops have captured Warvillers, about two and a half miles south from Rosieres, while the French have taken Arvillers, to the southwest of Warvillers, and seven miles from Roye. The Germans recaptured Chipilly, north of the Somme, by a strong counterattack to-day.
The Canadians, the advices state, have taken the town of Beaucourt, 2.5 miles southwest of Rosieres. The Australians are fighting farther north, along the Somme. Small parties of Germans are reported to be still in Rosieres, 3.5 miles west of Chaulnes, but the British are all around them, and their life as fighting men will probably be short.
Monday, August 12, 1918
WOUNDED CANADIANS ARRIVE IN LONDON
STIRRING SCENE WHEN BOYS IN TRAINING MEET COMPATRIOTS FROM FIGHTING
A stirring scene occurred a few miles outside London last night. When a small batch of Canadians from recent fighting arrived at the railway station it so happened that a party of Canadians in training were outside. As the ambulances drove away lively encounters of wit took place, the wounded men sitting up in the ambulances and waiting to their comrades to go through to the hilt, and who were wildly cheering those who had come back.
“There are still ten bodies for each one who is scratched,” shouted one man from a stretcher. “There will be twenty less when we get over,” answered someone from the crowd on the roadway. Reports here show that the Canadian Corps is eminently satisfied with the progress made, while the casualty list, as so far received, is considerably below what might have been expected.
Saturday, August 24, 1918
SMASHING IN THE GERMAN LINES
“We have begun an action we shall continue” – Foch
Marshal of France Says Everything Is Going Well – Realities Better Than Promises
“Marshal Foch received the war correspondents to-day in the spacious salon of an old chateau, where there is more business than luxury. The most conspicuous objects in the room were the military maps on the wall. Advancing to meet his visitors, with simple cordiality, the Marshal said: “I am glad to see you, but I do not know just what I can say to you, other than that everything is going well. We have begun our action and we shall continue.”
Tuesday, August 27, 1918
CANADIANS IN A SMASHING ADVANCE; HINDENBURG LINE HAS BEEN REACHED
Fine Work by Splendid Men
Taking of Monchy-le-Preux Most Important News of Day
WAS CANADIAN CAPTURE
Guards Clash With Bavarian Battalion and Use Bayonet With Effect
By Henry W. Nevinson
War Correspondents’ Headquarters, Aug. 26 – Fine and steady as the advance along the whole line of the two armies has been, all other news is thrown into the background for the day by the report that the Canadians and some other very fine British troops have captured Monchy-le-Preux, five miles west and a little south of Arras, upon the Cambrai road, a position famous in the earlier years of the war. Standing as it does right across the top of the old Hindenburg line, and marking our extreme advance in that direction, its importance as commanding not only the Valley of the Scarpe, but the Cojeul and the Sensee can hardly be overstated. Its capture will bring fresh honor to the specially fine troops engaged.
Wednesday, August 28, 1918
CANADIANS CONSTANTLY DRIVING EASTWARD: GREAT GERMAN DEFENCE RAPIDLY CRUMBLING
LONDON, Aug. 27 – Canadian troops made notable advances south of the Scarpe River to-day, according to Field Marshal Haig’s report, occupying Cherisy, Vis-en-Artois and the Bois du Sart, and taking many prisoners. Scottish battalions also made excellent progress.
The statement reads:
“This morning our troops, operating astride the Scarpe, again attacked. Overcoming the resistance of the enemy in his old front line defences held prior to his offensive of March 21, the Canadians penetrated deeply into the German positions between the Sensee and Scarpe Rivers, and captured Cherisey, Vis-en-Artois and Bois du Sart, with many prisoners.
“On the right of the Canadians, Scottish troops cross the Sensee and seized Fontaine-les-Croisilles, establishing themselves on the slopes of the spur south of the village, and taking several hundred prisoners.”
Biggest Thing In Whole War Which Canadians Have Done
British Headquarters, Aug. 27 – On the main battlefront on August 8 the honor of the first advance was shared by the Australians and the Canadians. It was chiefly a Canadian battle. It was their advance at Luce which was the core of the operation, and on their progress the advance both of the Australians’ left and that of the successive French armies on the right depended, each of which was thrown in only as the advance above prospered. The Canadians are right in claiming that the fighting of the first two days was the biggest thing Canada has done, not excepting the capture of Vimy Ridge. Certainly nothing could have been better.
Tuesday, September 3, 1918
BRITISH SMASH QUEANT LINE
Canadian and British Troops Break Hindy’s Switch Line Piercing Deeply In What May Be War’s Greatest Battle
LONDON, Sept. 2 – The strongly fortified German system of defence, known as the Drocourt-Queant line, a switch of the Hindenburg line south of the Scarpe River, was carried on a wide front to-day, in an attack by Canadian and English troops, aided by tanks, according to Field Marshal Haig’s communication, issued to-night. The dispatches indicate that the break in the German trench line is on a front of over six miles, and at some points has reached a depth of three miles.
Women Man German Ships
Officers, Except Captains, Engineers, Stokers Are All Females
Haparanda, Sept. 2 – German ships are arriving at Ulea with their Captains the only men aboard; officers, engineers, and stokes being all women. This illustrated the shortage of German manhood. Finnish papers have ceased publishing the war communiques.
Thursday, September 5, 1918
FRENCH MAKE SWEEP ON 20-MILE FRONT; BRITISH CROSS THE CANAL DU NORD
British Pursuing Foe
LONDON, Sept. 4 – The Canal du Nord and the Tortille River have been crossed on a wide front north of Moislains by English and Welsh troops, according to Field Marshal Haig’s communications, issued to-night. Moislains lies about three miles north of Peronne.
Canadians are reported to have reached the west bank of the canal on a front of 2,000 yards. The despatches show that excellent progress is being made in the converging movement on Cambrai.
Huge Fires Started By Germans, Who Begin a General Retreat – French Are Nearing Important Aisne River Crossing – La Fere is Reported to be in Flames – Many Prisoner Guns Taken
Americans and French on Heels of Retreating Foe
With the American Army on the Vesle Front, Sept. 4 – A German withdrawal from the Vesle has begun. Combat patrols of Americans and French are close on their heels to the west of Bazoches and eastward to a point beyond Fismes.
Smart machine-gun resistance is being encountered. By all indications the Germans have withdrawn their main bodies to the north, possibly preparatory to crossing the Aisne.
It became more apparent to-day that Germans had given up the struggle to maintain a foothold north of the Vesle. American and French artillery continued their punishing fire over an area extending to the Aisne without bringing a reply that could be compared in intensity.
Monday, September 16, 1918
AUSTRIA’S PLEA FOR PEACE CONFERENCE; ALLIED ARMIES RECORD NEW VICTORIES
Austria, In Panic, Requests Powers to Enter on Discussion of Peace
Object of Conference to Secure Exchange of Views – No Interruption of War in Meanwhile – Discussions Not Binding – To be Held in Neutral Country – Germany Also Makes Peace Offer to Belgium
Amsterdam, Sept. 15 – The Austro-Hungarian Government yesterday invited all belligerent Governments to enter into non-binding discussions at some neutral meeting place, with a view to bringing about peace. The Holy See and all neutral nations also will be notified. An official statement from Vienna making the above announcement has been received here.
In extending its invitation, the Austro-Hungarian Government states that the object of the conference would be to secure an exchange of views which would show “whether those prerequisites exist which would make the speedy inauguration of peace negotiations appear promising.”
London, Sept. 15 – It is understood that the Government has received the Austro-Hungarian peace note, and also the proposal, previously referred to, that all the powers should withdraw their troops from Murman territory.
It is also learned that Germany has made a peace offer to Belgium. The terms of this proposal are as follows:
“That Belgium shall remain neutral until the end of the war.
“That thereafter the entire economic and political independence of Belgium shall be reconstituted.
“That the pre-war commercial treaties between Germany and Belgium shall again be put into operation after the war for an indefinite period.
“That Belgium shall use her good offices to secure the return of German colonies.
“That the Flemish question shall be considered, and the Flemish minority, which aided the German invaders, shall not be penalized.”
The proposal contains no word respecting reparations or indemnities, no admission that Germany wronged Belgium.
Thursday, September 19, 1918
BRITISH BREAK HINDENBURG LINE
Over 6,000 Prisoners and Many Guns Taken in Drive: British and French Smash Forward on 22-Mile Front
LONDON, Sept. 18 – British forces have advanced a front of sixteen miles in the St. Quentin sector, reaching a depth at some places of three miles. The French, co-operating on their right, have smashed forward on a six mile front to a depth of a mile and a third. The British, according to Sir Douglas Haig’s official report to-night, have taken over 6,000 prisoners and many guns. Several hundred prisoners have also been taken by the French.
Heavy rains were prevailing when the attacks commenced, but they were everywhere successful. In positions reached near Bellicourt, the British are astride the main Cambrai-St. Quentin highway. At several points the Hindenburg line has been crossed. The taking of a complete German battery with its teams was an incident of the British attack. A Berlin report to-night says that the German have launched counter-attacks.
Monday, September 30, 1918
MAIN HINDENBURG LINE STORMED
Canadians Sang Going Into Battle
Net Results of Fighting of Dominion Troops in Friday’s Conflict
With the Canadian Forces, Sept. 28 – The following are the net results in the Canadian Corps of yesterday’s fighting:
Penetration of about five miles, with possession of the Canal du Nord, and a possible turning of enemy position at Douai; capture of Bourlon Wood, which overlooks Cambrai, and whose fall may follow in a few days. 71 officers and 2,300 men passed through the cages last night with a total of between 3,000 and 4,000 men.
The prisoners are of the best type yet encountered, being mostly Prussians and Hanoverians.
Our own casualties are less than the number of prisoners.
Our men went singing into battle, exactly as they did at Amiens, and were equally confident of victory.
Thursday, October 10, 1918
CANADIANS FIRST TO ENTER CAMBRAI
British, Americans and French Take 12,000 Men and 200 Guns
British Cavalry Pursues Demoralized Huns: Sweeping Advance Follows Haig’s Notable Victory
Foe Destroys Cambrai After a Glorious Day for the Allies Armies – Break the Power of the Enemy Forever – Civilians Are Removed
With the British Armies, Oct. 9 – At 4 o’clock this morning, in darkness, except for the light of the stars, Canadians and British troops, pressing close from north and south, joined hands in the chief square of Cambrai. This morning rear-guards and the whole city of Cambrai is safely in our hands.
Saturday, October 12, 1918
Strong People Needed
The need for people to be healthy is urgent. Those whom illness has put outside the ranks of robust men and women feel their position keenly, They are handicapped in every walk of life and weak men and nerve-worn women need more earnestly than ever to put their health right and become active and strong. Many who began “patching” months ago are as ill now as on the day they began vainly tinkering with common drugs. Every ailing man and woman should remember the ills of debility, nerve exhaustion, indigestion, sleeplessness, neuralgia and depression come from a faulty blood supply.
Saturday, November 2, 1918
NEW TRIUMPHS ON THE WESTERN FRONT
Turks Yielded All Demands
Terms of Armistice Show That Ottoman Surrender Was Unconditional
NO SECRET ARRANGEMENT
Agreement Was Signed in London on Behalf of All Allies
London, Nov. 1 – “The armistice accepted by Turkey amounts to complete and unconditional surrender.”
This statement was made by Lord Robert Cecil, Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to the Associated Press to-night.
Lord Robert emphasized the statement of the Foreign Office to the Associated Press by saying “no secret undertakings or engagement have been made with Turkey, so far as the British Government is concerned.”
He added that the Armistice had been signed by Great Britain on behalf of all the allies.
The Details of Armistice
“The terms of the armistice granted by the allied powers to Turkey follow:
First – The opening of the Dardanelles an the Bosphorus and access to the Black Sea. Allied occupation of the Bosphorus forts.
Second – The positions of all minefields, torpedo tubes and other obstructions in Turkish waters are to be indicated and assistance given to sweep or remove them, as may be required.
Third – All available information concerning mines in the Black Sea is to be communicated.
Fourth – All allied prisoners of war and Armenian interned persons are to be collected in Constantinople and handed over unconditionally to the allies.
Fifth – Immediate demobilization of the Turkish army, except such troops as are required for surveillance on the frontiers and for maintenance of internal order. The number of effectives and their disposition to be determined later by the Allies, after consultation with the Turkish government.
Saturday, November 9, 1918
REVOLUTION IN GERMANY
Kaiser Refuses to Abdicate – Fears Entente and Anarchy
Sailors, Soldiers and Civilians Revolt, Mutiny and Uprising
“TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT” – FOCH: THREE DAYS FOR DECISION
Story of Dramatic Trip of Humbled Hun Plenipotentiaries to Allied Commander – Plea for Time, but Fighting Forces Carry On – Kaiser Waits With German Command at Spa
PARIS, Nov. 8 – Germany’s hour has struck. The white flag is been raised, and the emissaries of the Hun, under the emblem of defeat, have crossed that strip of No Man’s Land which has severed him from the civilized world for the last four years.
Marshal Foch has decided that there shall be no anti-climax to the present world tragedy. Those responsible are not to escape the nemesis of downfall.
The story of the arrival of the German plenipotentiaries at the French lines is a thrilling one, and will read when told like an interlude in a Shakespearean drama.
RED FLAGS FLY IN HUNDOM: ANARCHY GRIPS POPULATION
Kaiser Decides to Leave Throne, but Maximilian Drops Chancellorship – Revolts and Riots in Several Centres – Germany Navy Said to Have Taken to Sea at Last in Hands of Mutineers
AMSTERDAM, Nov. 8 – Emperor William of Germany has declined to accede to the demands that he abdicate, says a German wireless despatch picked up here to-night.
To the ultimatum of the Socialists the Emperor replied through Minister of the Interior Drews that he refused to abdicate voluntarily on the ground that he could not at the moment of peace undertake the terrible responsibility of handing over Germany to the Entente and delivering up the country to anarchy.
Monday, November 11, 1918
GERMANY THROWS UP HER HANDS
THE FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 3:10 a.m. – This announcement was made verbally by an official of the State Department in this form: “The armistice has been signed. It was signed at 5 o’clock a.m., Paris time, and hostility will cease at 11 o’clock this morning, Paris time.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 – The terms of the armistice, it was announced, will not be made public until later. Military men here, however, regard it as certain that they include:
- Immediate retirement of the German military forces from France, Belgium and Alsace-Lorraine.
- Disarming and demobilization of the German armies.
- Occupation of the allies and American forces of such strategic points in Germany as will make impossible a renewal of hostilities.
- Delivery of part of the German High Seas Fleet and a certain number of submarines to the allied and American naval forces.
- Disarmament of all other German warships under supervision of the allied and American navies, which will guard them.
- Occupation of the principal German naval bases by sea forces of victorious nations.
- Release of allied and American soldiers, sailors and civilians held prisoners in Germany without such reciprocal action by the associated Governments.
KAISER SIGNS WITH SHIVER: “MAY BE FOR GERMAN GOOD”
Dramatic Scene When All Highest Puts His Signature to Abdication Letter – Crown Prince and Hindenburg With Him at Military Headquarters
THE ARMISTICE [a poem]
The storm sweeps on: the thund’rous vibrant roll
Of guns in thousands fill the tortured air;
Tense-thewed, fierce-eyed – vengeance in every soul –
Freedom’s battalions march, Death’s worst to dare.
But, hark! High o’er the wildest note of war,
Celestial bugles bid man’s battle ease,
And seraph voices, wafted from afar,
Fill Heaven with music, and the Earth with peace.
Tuesday, November 12, 1918
STERN TERMS OF ARMISTICE SIGNED BY BEATEN GERMANS
Hun Pays Heavy Toll for His Ruthless Ambition and Savagery – Roar of War Guns Ceases at Command of Foch – Canadians Capture Mons as Closing Achievement of Glorious Record
PARIS, Nov. 11 – War’s great guns are silent. Armies of Allied soldiers, in the impetus of their surging forward drive, are halted. They hold the lines “at ease.” Victory is theirs. They stay their progress at the call of their Commander, to whom the enemy has surrendered in accepting terms of a humiliating armistice.
CANADIANS IN AT THE FINISH
The closing achievement of the campaign fell to the Canadians. Just at dawn – a few hours before hostilities ended – the men from across the Atlantic crowned their heroic and historic war career by the capture of Mons. Where the “Little Contemptibles” of Britain started, the sons of her overseas Dominion finished. It was a glowing example of “come back.”
KAISER IS NOT WELCOME GUEST
Dutch Government Objects to Former German Emperor Residing in Holland
MORE THRONES TOPPLE
Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria Flees from Liege
Amsterdam, Nov. 11 – The Handelsblad says it learns the Dutch government will object to the former German Emperor residing in Holland.
Officials of the Dutch government and the German Minister at The Hague have gone to Eysden, on the Dutch frontier, to meet the former Emperor.
It states on good authority here that William Hohenzollern will be interned in Holland.
TORONTO KNOWS NO RESTRAINT IN HAILING PEACE’S COMING
From Early Dawn to Midnight Down-town Streets Are Thronged with Joyous People – City Devoid of Street Car Service – Hotels and Restaurants Almost Emptied of Food – Little Serious Damage Done by Crowds
While the citizens of Toronto lay enwrapped in dreamful slumber, in the dead small hours of yesterday morning, the silent and invisible herald of peace was encircling the globe in the form of a wireless message that Germany had signed the armistice, and that the bond of victory for the right was finally sealed.
How that silent message found instrumental and vocal utterance, and the invisible was made visible, will remain the loftiest landmark in Canada’s national life, and will be a story that those who live through it will tell with zest to their grandchildren.
Yonge Street up to a late hour last night was one broad esplanade. The surging throngs of men and women occupied the whole of the sidewalks and pavement. At one point passage was impossible. A roaring bonfire blazed in the centre of the street, attracting with a strange fascination the moth-like multitude.
Wednesday, November 13, 1918
GERMANY IS NOW A FREE NATION
New Chancellor Declares State Will be Republic – Monarchy Gone Forever
KAISER’S FINAL FRANTIC EFFORT TO HALT ARMISTICE MISSION
By George Renwick
AMSTERDAM, Nov. 12 – I learn on excellent authority that the Kaiser and his supporters at Headquarters made a determined effort to prevent the German armistice delegation from reaching the French lines.
It will be recalled that there was considerable delay during the journey of the delegates to the front. That was occasioned by the Kaiser’s orders, which resulted in the armistice mission being held up at a point on its journey through Belgium. There was a lengthy struggle between the Kaiser and high officers supporting him, and those at Headquarters who are on the side of the new order of things.
In the end, Hindenburg took upon himself to order the mission to proceed, threatening with serious consequences anyone who countermanded his instructions. The mission immediately went on, and the Kaiser thus lost his last battle.
Thursday, November 14, 1918
U.S. CASUALTIES NOT OVER 100,000
List Has Not Yet Been Completed, but Total Will Not Exceed Estimate
Washington, Nov. 13 – Officials here estimate that the total casualties of the American Expeditionary Forces in the war will not exceed 100,000, including the men killed in action, wounded, died of wounds, disease and accidents, and the missing, who never will be accounted for. Some of those who have been missing probably will be accounted for when the prisoners are returned from Germany.
It was said to-day that it probably will be several weeks before the record of casualties can be completed.
The following is after the armistice, but before the peace treaty was officially signed on June 28, 1919.
Saturday, November 30, 1918
CANADIANS TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN GERMANY
OTTAWA, Nov. 20 – Members of the Canadian army invading Germany will spend a victorious Christmas in the great Rhine fortress of Mainz, where, it is expected, they will have their headquarters until peace is signed.
Situated on the left bank of the Rhine, Mainz is one of the oldest cities of Germany, and is the largest in the Grand Duchy of Hesse. It is one of the great fortresses of the former German Empire. The fortifications, enlarged since 1871, consist of several lines of bastioned forts, the citadel in the southeastern part of the town, and a number of detached forts. It is connected with Kastel, on the opposite bank of the river, by a modern bridge. The city has a rich military history extending back to Roman times.
The Canadian army which will remain in Germany during the period of occupation has not been decided upon as yet, but it is believed that the force will be composed of men volunteering for this duty.
APPALLING ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN GERMANY
RUIN CONFRONTS GERMANY: NO PRODUCTS FOR FACTORIES
Millions of Men Will be Thrown Out of Work Owing to Lack of Raw Materials – No Iron Obtainable From Alsace-Lorraine or Silesia – Coal is Vanishing
BERLIN, Nov. 29 – With all her many other troubles Germany now seems to be entering a period of unemployment and strikes, which are bound to aggravate the situation to an intolerable degree unless the Government manages to cope quickly with certain reluctant elements among the workers as well as the employers.
WITH CANADIANS IN NORTH RUSSIA
Men Are Well and Cheery and Are In Great Demand
London, Nov. 29 – The nature and the conditions of the expedition in which the Canadian forces of picked fighting men is taking part on the River Dvina, in north Russia, is well set forth in a letter from an officer printed in The Times. The writer describes the men as lodging in a long, narrow board building and mentions a dinner with the commander, when Russians, French and Poles were present. He says they have seen ptarmigan and Arctic hare, and one of the men saw a bear. Sending men out to shoot and fish, a British officer got a 12-pound salmon after five hours’ play. The men are healthy and very cheery. They are in great demand as they can turn their hand to anything.
While fighting ceased on Nov. 11, 1918, the Allies continued to have troops occupy Germany until the government there agreed to sign the peace treaty. In June 1919, the Allies threatened the Germans, issuing an ultimatum that Germany would have to accept the treaty or face an invasion of Allied forces across the Rhine within 24 hours. On June 28, 1919, the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (the impetus of the war), the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
Photo research by Paula Wilson