An armistice is an agreement signed by several governments ending of hostilities between armed forces in time of war. But it does not end officially at war. This is the day that officially marks the end of a conflict, it is often regarded as a national holiday for the country emerged winners of an armed conflict. It is a suspension of hostilities by agreement between the belligerents. It is different from a cease-fire, which may be temporary, and a peace treaty is a treaty proclaiming the end of the war and often containing reciprocal counterparties for the former belligerents, and which is usually unconditional surrender to the government defeated.


Not officially ending the war, an armistice allows the applicant to have a treaty cease-fire country. But in fact, the terms of the armistice may be very humiliating, for example requiring the loser to cede territory or to pay for the damage caused during the war.

Difference between capitulation and armistice

Capitulation and armistice cease fighting, the meaning and the consequences are different. Each case is different, but we can still draw some significant features.

The surrender was a military decision, recognizing a major defeat. This decision may be taken by an army commander, it is a decision fraught with consequence for the military question (knockout) for the area or the entire country (taking stronghold, etc.). … and the chief who surrendered: the surrender can be considered an act of treason, punishable by death. The capitulation transfers power to the enemy army on the territory concerned, which can range from a city (a garrison surrender) to the whole country, through a province (eg surrender of Montreal). The winners can organize their administration as they please. In terms of domestic politics defeated the responsibility of the losing army is engaged symbolically.

The armistice is a political decision. The army is still in a state of fight or train (at least officially and theoretically). It is the policy negotiation that determines the outcome (whether the armistice was offered or requested, the terms of the armistice, etc..). Even if the military situation is such that all or part of the territory occupied by the enemy, there is theoretically under the administration of the conquered (subject to the pressures and demands of the occupier, of course). In addition, when a capitulation necessarily implies that there is a loser, a truce is possible between belligerent none of which shall be decisive.

Thus, and roughly the capitulation transfers political power to overcome the enemy army, while the armistice does not change the internal powers (but of course change the balance of power, vis-à-vis other belligerents who can impose their wishes by force, that internally, which could lead to revolutions or coups).

For example, when in 1918 the military defeat of the Central Powers was clear (but not yet fully consumed: the German army was still fighting), the choice of the Armistice allowed to avoid yet many victims and destruction, but This left the field open to the rhetoric of the “stab in the back” of the German army by politicians and revolutionaries.

Similarly, when in 1940 the military defeat of France in France was clear, there was discussion on how to respond (decrease of the empire, which would, in practice, ended the fighting, request for an armistice, or capitulation (choice adopted by the Netherlands), the military, led by Petain, being of those who preferred the armistice. Thus, France retained its administration and self-government (albeit under the influence, of course), unlike in the Netherlands under direct German administration.

However, do not exaggerate the significance of the distinction: the form (armistice or capitulation) that can take the submission of the vanquished to the victor of much less than reports of political, military and diplomatic forces as reflected in the terms of the agreement or the terms of its application.

Some armistice

        Armistice Pleiswitz. Napoleon sign Pleiswitz, June 4, 1813, an armistice until 20 July.

        Franco-German armistice which marks the end of the war in 1870 and leads the Paris Commune

        World War I:

o        Thessaloniki armistice between the Allies and the Kingdom of Bulgaria ending the conflict on the eastern front

o        Mudros armistice between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) ally of Germany

o        Padua armistice between Italy and Austria-Hungary’s ally Germany

o        1918 armistice between the Allies and Germany signed in Rethondes clearing at Compiegne (hence its name in the English-speaking world Armistice of Compiègne) in the parlor car of Marshal Foch to be called by Following the Armistice wagon. It is concluded for a period but will be regularly renewed until the peace treaty of Versailles.

        World War II:

o        armistice of June 40 between France represented by the general Huntziger for Petain and General Keitel for Germany of Adolf Hitler. This requires it to be signed in Rethondes clearing in the car of the Armistice of 1918 (in English). It will also present at the signing. The armistice agreement was valid until the conclusion of the peace treaty that never came.

o        armistice between France and Italy, signed at Rome.

o        Cassibile armistice or truce short secret armistice between the Allies and the Italians, released 8.

o        Moscow Armistice between Finland and the USSR ending the Continuation War

o        The conflict is marked by the unconditional surrender of Germany May 8, 1945 and by that of Japan 2 September 1945.

        After 1945:

o        1949 Arab-Israeli agreements 1949 armistice ending the Palestine war of 1948 (signed on different dates each with Arab countries involved in the conflict and Israel between February and July 1949)

o        Panmunjeom armistice signed between North Korea and South Korea ending the Korean War

o        armistice between France and North Vietnam to end the war in Indochina

See also

Related article



Law of War

Public international law

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