Flanders Fields

Armistice Day 1918: What Happened Next?

For four long years, Flanders Fields was the scene of unprecedented carnage. On November 11th 1918, peace was declared. It was just the start of amazing scenes of reconstruction and human fortitude.

This article has now been updated and is available to read here.

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  1. I enjoyed reading this Denzil. When we visited Flanders we sat in the town square in Ypres and even though we knew the Cloth Hall, Town Hall and the Cathedral had been completely rebuilt we just couldn’t imagine that these buildings hadn’t always been there. The rebuilding program was amazing.

        • I can understand his thinking, to leave a memory of what it was like. But maybe not a whole town. And thankfully we have photos to remind us of what it was like.

          • Yes, but it wasn’t his home that was wiped out. I’m pleased the people ignored him and rebuilt their beautiful town. We saw photos there. It’s almost impossible to believe that anything could be resurrected from the rubble that was left. But they did an amazing job.

  2. I couldn’t hit ‘like’ on this historical post because of all the devastation and lives lost. But, I applaud the tenacity and strong willed people who came back and resurrected the area through fierce determination and hard work. I think every politician around the globe could benefit from reading this account because maybe they would get a visual the next time they think being a proponent of going to war is a good thing.

  3. Lovely post. It is truly amazing what people can do when they put their minds to it. Unfortunately the War to end all wars hasn’t happened yet. Re politicians, there is an old soldiers saying that if politicians had to go to war instead of sending other people, there would be no wars.

    • Yes Glen you are right. The very same politicians who sadly plant wreaths around memorials on Armistice Day are often those who approve warfare and the consequent suffering.

    • Thanks Anabel. No need to feel shame. Until I researched this topic I had never once thought what actually happened after Armistice Day. I had somehow thought “great, the war has stopped, peace has broken out, back home and back to work.” Unfortunately life was never the same again for these people.

  4. Very interesting read. Thanks.
    And even despite the big clean up, 100 years on, still so much ammunition and remains of bombs are found in the fields every year.
    Also makes you think about the bombings currently around the world, and how it will affect those areas for decades to come …

  5. Reblogged this on Life Sentences and commented:

    November 11th 1918 marked the end of the First World War, but the beginning of a huge clear-up of a totally desolated region. This reblog of a post I wrote a couple of years ago for my other blog tells the story of the reconstruction of Flanders

  6. This is a fascinating story, especially to me as I studied (W. Hemisphere, not so much European) history in university. Thank you for sharing it. I was just reflecting on the date and how next year it will be a full century since the Nov 11 Armistice brought the horrors of the Great War to an end…

  7. Learned so much from reading this posting. Well written and informative. Thanks for sharing this information about something I knew little about. Reminds me of Bosnia-Herzegovina after the Bosnian war. Even in the major base camp at Tuzla, they were finding unexploded landmines.

  8. This post taught me such a lot, Denzil. I never considered how the area had to be totally regenerated, how locals lost everything, and shockingly, how lives were still being lost due to the dangers that still lurked beneath the surface. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • It was fascinating to research Judy. Those first folk who returned to their lands must have thought they were entering Hell. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be attempting to dig in that soil that was full of bodies and shells. Thanks for dropping by!

    • Thank you Sue. While not wishing to trivialise this story in any way, I think the recolonization of Flanders and north-west France is is one of the war stories that hasn’t been made into a movie yet (or maybe not a book either). I could see this as a great human interest story.

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