On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an Armistice was declared that ended what had been, up until that point, the bloodiest conflict in human history. Millions of citizens in the US and Europe greeted the peace – declared 100 years ago on Sunday – with jubilation as it meant the end of four years of brutal trench warfare and mechanized slaughter that killed 16 million had finally come to an end.
But the impact of the Armistice was especially palpable on the front, where heavy artillery had been firing right up to the minute that peace was declared. In a stunning recording released by the British Imperial War Museum on observance of the anniversary, listeners can hear the guns firing on the American front near the River Moselle one minute before the Armistice was declared – then the stunning silence that followed one minute after.
As the boom of the guns faded, the silence was punctuated only by chirping birds and a rustling wind.
After the recording’s release, comments poured in from users on Twitter, many of whom were amazed to learn that the guns had been firing up to the minute the war ended.
This soundpiece took me completely by surprise. So moving. I never realised the big guns were firing right up to the hour. I can only wonder at what the silence of the ceasefire meant to those in the trenches. This, then silence, then then The Last Post. Imagine. Well done @I_W_M https://t.co/viJ415D0WF
— LinksEast (@AnnieLinkseast) November 7, 2018
According to Metro, the audio clips were patched together by sound designers Coda to Coda.