Armistice and after

Accession Number F00193
Collection type Film
Measurement 64min
Object type Documentary
Physical description 16mm/b&w and colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker Grigg, John
British Broadcasting Corporation
Brown, Malcolm
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1978
Access Open - view only
Conflict Period 1930-1939
Period 1970-1979
Period 1920-1929
First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: External copyright


In November 1918 the victorious Allies were pushing the German army steadily back through occupied France and Belgium while in a railway carriage tucked away in the beautiful Compiegne woods, plenipotentiaires from both sides were haggling over peace terms. At 5 am on the morning of November 11 the word went out that hostilities should cease at 11 am. One of the tragic ironies of the day is that men were still being killed up to the very stroke of the 11th hour. This is the story that the distinguished journalist and historian John Grigg tells in the first half of 'Armistice and after'. He also describes how people reacted to that most memorable of days; how most were filled with delight and delirium but some could only mourn the millions of youthful dead who had fallen in the trenches and on the battlefields. In the second part of the film Grigg describes how people tried to cope with the enormity of the experience of the four year long war. How for example the British emotionally transmuted the massacre of millions into an all-atoning sacrifice which they believed had somehow rid the world of conflict for ever thus making it all too easy for warmongers to bring about the second world war. He tells the story of the origin of the idea of the Unknown Warrior and his equivalents in France and elsewhere. He also describes the growth of the poppy cult and the mood and significance of the moving Armistice Day commemorations of the twenties and thirties and after. To make the documentary Grigg and a production team filmed at Mons, Ypres, Verdun, the Arc de Triomphe, West Minister Abbey, a village in the Cotswold Hills and at Compienge itself. There is also much rarely seen film of the period.