Students in this lesson will identify, understand and be able to explain the basic facts behind what happened in London and in Flanders in the last days of the Great War, the British public’s reaction to the war, and the story behind Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) in England and around the world, not only in 1918 but also today.
English / Language Arts
See above for key literary characters from the Great War.
Official Radio from Paris - 6:01 A.M., Nov. 11, 1918. Marshal Foch to the Commander-in-Chief.
1. Hostilities will be stopped on the entire front beginning at 11 o'clock, November 11th (French hour).
2. The Allied troops will not go beyond the line reached at that hour on that date until further orders.
At 11:00 local time on 11 Nov 1918, after four long years facing the horror of trench warfare, soldiers in Flanders and across France fired their last shots with the coming of the cease fire. The carnage was over. Millions of men on all sides had given the ultimate sacrifice for ideas that most never really understood. Millions more would forever be scarred, both physically and mentally, by the horrors of war. In the end, the terrors of a new type of warfare: the trench system and gas attacks, unthinkable only a generation earlier, would permanently ingrain themselves on a collective British and European consciousness. During and after the war, new political, social and intellectual philosophies would arise to challenge old ideas. When it ended, Big Ben rang out for the first time since 1914. Citizens all over London, including women over 30 recently granted suffrage by the 1918 Representation of the People Act, flowed into the streets and paused for two minutes of silence in remembrance of those that had died before breaking into spontaneous celebrations that would ultimately last for days, a scene that would be repeated in various places across the British Empire. Poets such as British soldier Wilfred Owen and Canadian officer Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote works that would forever memorialize the deeds of British and empire soldiers who had served at the front. The simple red poppy, a delicate flower that seemed to spring up everywhere on the killing fields of Flanders, soon became a national and international symbol for those who had been lost in the war.
Students here will understand the basic facts behind what happened in London and in Flanders in the last days of the Great War, the British public’s reaction to the war, and the story behind Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) in England and around the world, not only in 1918 but also today.
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While on tour, you will visit Westminster, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. A short distance away down Whitehall is the Cenotaph, a memorial to the British soldiers from both world wars and the site of the annual National Service of Remembrance, held at 11:00 AM on Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to 11 November every year. Students will have the opportunity to see for themselves where Londoners have gathered for the last 90 years to remember their honored dead and where the monarch lays poppy wreaths every year. Remind them to look for the images of poppies everywhere in London.
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