This War Must Be Ended

In August 1918, writes John Terraine, the German High Command recognized the signs of defeat but four more fighting months passed before the armistice.

August 8th, 1918 was ‘the black day of the German Army’. On that day the British Fourth Army and the French First Army, both under command of Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, launched a highly successful attack south of the River Somme: the Battle of Amiens.1 German losses amounted to nearly 27,000; the British alone captured over 300 guns. Fighting continued for several more days, though not again with such spectacular success.

Nevertheless, by August 11th, the German High Command, assessing the damage done, recognized that the war had taken a decisive turn. At a conference at Advanced General Headquarters that day, the Kaiser said: ‘I see that we must strike a balance. We have nearly reached the limit of our powers of resistance. The war must be ended.’

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