Wednesday 11 November is Armistice Day, when we remember New Zealanders and others who served in the First World War and other conflicts since. 2015 is 97 years since the agreement that ended fighting in the First World War came into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
While Anzac Day has become the main memorial day in New Zealand and Australia, events still take place on Armistice Day. Using resources such as Papers Past we can find out more about how the day has been celebrated and then commemorated over time.
On 13 November 1918, in a article called 'the city rejoices with wild enthusiasm' the Star records:
Never before in the history of the city has such intense enthusiasm been displayed as yesterday, when the news of the signing of the armistice with Germany was received. The people streamed into the town, leaving the suburbs all but deserted. Throughout, the tramwaymen stuck heroically to their tasks, this factor being a large one in the general success of the celebrations.
A year later the Press laments how long it took to move from an armistice to a final peace treaty:
Just as nobody imagined, when the war broke out, that it would last for over four years, so few people, on November 11th last year, supposed that the world would, after twelve months, be as far as it is from a return to normal conditions.
By 1935 another article in The Press states:
The celebration of Armistice Day this year will show, as previous celebrations have shown, that the anniversary does not grow less poignant or less significant with the passage of time.
This sentiment is still true.
- For more detailed information, see our page about Armistice Day.
- The Bridge of Remembrance opened on Armistice Day 1924. Take a look at this DigitalNZ set of images about Armistice Day and the Bridge of Remembrance.
- See how the media around the world reacted to the Armistice, using our historical newspaper resources.