“Monday, November 11, will become the most noteworthy anniversary in the history of the nations, for on that day in this year of grace was witnessed the acceptance by conquered Germany of the terms imposed on her by the victorious Allies and the cessation of four years of terrible strife in Europe,” is how, on November 12, 1918, under the simple headline “The Armistice!”, the South China Morning Post reported the end of the first world war, 100 years ago today.
“The breaking up of the Central Alliance has come suddenly, as it was predicted it would,” the story continued. “Since August, 1914, Germany, Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria have presented a united front to the ever-growing power of the Allies, but gradually their military and economic situations became such that one by one they succumbed to the pressure. The structure built by Prussian ambition for power has crumbled to pieces in a few short weeks.”
The following day, the Post reported “Stirring Scenes in London” and “King and Premier Ovated”: “Extraordinary scenes of enthusiasm, mingled with expressions of thankfulness, were manifested throughout the country. The public was beside itself with joy. Bells were pealed and maroons fired at all police and fire stations in celebration.
“H.M. King George, addressing a great crowd from the Balcony of the Palace, said: ‘With you I rejoice and thank God for the victories […] which have brought hostilities to an end and peace within sight.’”
On November 14, under the headline “Victory Day” the Post reported: “Hongkong went to bed inordinately tired last night, supremely happy and full of the glorious doings of the day of days that marked for us the arrival of the inevitable victory over Germany.
“Crowds of disengaged Chinese […] marvelled at the spectacle of the European population in the whole-hearted celebration of an event to which nothing but the most complete, albeit decorous, abandon would do justice. Quite a large number of Chinese […] joined in the celebrations, and made it a real holiday.”