Top News

EDITORIAL: Peace through victory

Canadian soldiers and civilians at Mons, shortly after the armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918. Did the armistice end conflict and suffering in Europe and beyond? Not at all, explains Sean Howard. CANADIAN CENTRE FOR THE GREAT WAR
Soldiers and civilians at Mons, France shortly after the armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CANADIAN CENTRE FOR THE GREAT WAR

(Editor’s note: We hope readers will reflect upon this editorial from The Evening Telegram of Nov. 12, 1918, the day after the armistice was signed ending the First World War.)

Never since the sun first rose over a created world, has there been a more glorious dawn than that of this morning, when after a period of over four years of magnified and unprecedented carnage, the first rays of the orb of day shone on a universe at peace.

Stilled are the noises and tumults; captains and kings have departed; millions of men rest on their arms, and to Victor and Vanquished alike comes the feeling of relief and thankfulness, because the strain is eased and the burden of battle lifted from their shoulders.

We almost fail to estimate the new blessing with which we have been endowed, nevertheless our appreciation of the dawning of a new day over a blood-stained and battle-weary world is such that mere language fails to express the new born thankfulness, which the cessation of hostilities and the early approach of permanent peace, generates in the heart of mankind. We scarcely realize as yet that fighting has been suspended and that peace is assuming a concrete form.

Though not unexpected, the absolute and unqualified submission of Germany to the Allied terms comes almost as a surprise, and more especially since the terms of the armistice to which her representatives have agreed have become known. Not in all history is there any surrender which parallels that of the German nation, which is now entirely at the mercy of the Allied powers. Shorn of all her arrogant power and humbled in the dust, her submission is complete, her degradation accomplished — the latter not so much by the prowess of arms of those arrayed against her, as by the hideous and inhuman acts of her soldiers at the instance of those in higher authority.

Mere language fails to express the new born thankfulness, which the cessation of hostilities and the early approach of permanent peace, generates in the heart of mankind. We scarcely realize as yet that fighting has been suspended and that peace is assuming a concrete form.

The misfortunes brought upon others by the Germans have recoiled upon themselves. The miseries which others endured are being duplicated in Germany. Her intrigues have failed, her conspiracies have been foiled and her armies beaten. With her Emperor a fugitive — another Cain, with the mark upon his brow, shunned by mankind as unclean and unfit to inhabit any country, once a Caesar, now a pariah, and with revolution and anarchy biting at her vitals, and the Conqueror within her gates — the once proud German people have found that the conquests which they sought, the dominion which they craved, and for which they schemed and connived and plotted, is but dead sea fruit.

Out of this discovery may come the future regeneration of Germany, but it must be a Germany purged and cleansed in heart and body which must humbly crave entrance into the Council of Nations. Repentance meet for her inglorious and spotted past must be genuine and sincere and proof of her good intentions must be beyond cavil or criticism.

And in his hour of victorious triumph, the triumph of the just over the unjust, the victory of light over darkness, the vanquishment of the dragon of evil by St. Michael, and his casting forth from the high places, let us not forget that we too must humble ourselves before the throne of the Great Commander of all armies, lest in our pride, we forget the honor due Him, who alone giveth the victory. “Not unto us O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory.”

Recent Stories