The War is Over
Slightly over one year after the First and Second Regiments of the North Dakota National Guard departed from the State, the war was over. An announcement that the armistice was to be signed was made by the State Department at 2:45 the morning of November 11, 1918. A few minutes later the Associated Press flashed the news across the continent.
The Armistice was signed at six o’clock Washington time, and the announcement that peace was imminent reached the Bismarck Tribune in the early morning hours. Upon confirmation, the Hughes Electric Company power station was advised. A minute later its big siren blared the news to the countryside. Church bells joined in. Crowds began to congregate.
Governor Lynn Frazer issued a proclamation, declaring that November 11 was a holiday to be known as Victory Day. He stated, “The glad news has come across the ocean that the slaughter of mankind and the untold suffering of humans is to cease and that God has permitted the dove of victory to alight on our standards and on those of our Allies.”
In Bottineau, a motorcycle with a side car made a number of trips up and down the main street with an image of the Kaiser perched on a stick. In the center of town, the image was blown to pieces with a shotgun.
The celebrations began a time of healing and a time of social change. As North Dakotans looked forward to the return of the thousands of young men who had gone off to war, hundreds of young women, trained as nurses, were still departing for the hospitals and nursing homes that cared for the wounded in both Europe and America. Many other young women had left the farms to work in jobs normally staffed by men. The war had changed a generation of men and women who witnessed the reality of war. For many, leaving farm life had given them a new sense of personal freedom and accomplishment. For others, resentment would linger for many years over the persecution of German immigrants.
And lingering even longer is loss of loved ones – almost 1,400 North Dakotans who perished in the “War to End All Wars.” 100 years later, we still remember.
Dakota Datebook by Jim Davis
The Bismarck Tribune, November 12, 1918
The Bottineau Courant, November 14, 1918