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During the World War I offensives of 1918, the futility of the German war effort became clear to a number of their military leaders. In early October, General Erich Ludendorff urged the new chancellor, Prince Maximilian of Baden, to seek a cessation of hostilities. Swiss representatives were used to convey German interest in seeking an end to the war under the terms of the Fourteen Points that Woodrow Wilson had proposed earlier in the year.
The Germans hoped to negotiate with the American president Wilson, whom they regarded as idealistic and somewhat soft. They were confident they could secure more favorable terms from him than the other Allied leaders. Wilson, however, turned out to be a firm negotiator and insisted on the creation of a representative German government as a prerequisite for peace.
Foot dragging occurred in the weeks following an initial contact. The Allies, especially Britain and France, worked to modify Wilsonís plans for the postwar world, while war and peace factions in Germany struggled for dominance. Three events in late October and early November prepared the way for an armistice:
The elation that Wilson felt in seeing a conclusion of the fighting and the acceptance of his Fourteen Points by the Allies was soon deflated. The American voting public turned a deaf ear to the presidentís appeal for a Democratic Congress in the midterm elections in November 1918, which portended an unhappy fate for Wilsonís peace plans.
Negotiating While Fighting: The Diary of Admiral C. Turner Joy at the Korean Armistice Conference (1978). Hermes, Walter G. Truce Tent and Fighting Front (1966). Joy, C. Turner. How Communists Negotiate (1955). Schnable, J.F., and R.D. Watson.
Wasted Lives on Armistice Day
... were sincere in their desire to have an armistice; and the mere discussion of an armistice would not be sufficient grounds for any judicious commander to relax his military activities....No one could possibly know when the armistice was to be ...
First World War.com - Feature Articles - The Armistice
Initiating the armistice negotiations on 4 October 1918, the Germans directed peace feelers towards the U.S. government led by President Wilson.† The Germans were keen to conclude a peace based upon Wilson's famous Fourteen Points. Wilson was ...