Compiègne Wagon

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Left to right: Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler, and Walther von Brauchitsch in front of the Armistice carriage

The Compiègne Wagon was the historical wagon in which the First and Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed in.

After the first armistice at Compiègne, the wagon was moved to a protective place in a French museum. After the second armistice at Compiègne, the wagon was moved to Berlin to symbolize Germany's superiority over France.

In the last days of World War II, the SS blew up the wagon with dynamite.

History[edit]

The wagon was originally built in 1914 in Saint-Denis as a dining car and was used as such until August 1918. Then the passenger car was converted into an office for Marshal Foch, who used it until the end of October 1918 to September 1919.[1]

On 11 November 1918, the Supreme Commander of the Western Front, signed the armistice in the then-called "Wagon of Compiègne". The armistice ended the First World War. In September 1919, the wagon was donated to the French Army Museum, in Paris. There it stood from 1921 to 1927 in the courtyard.

At the request of the Mayor of Compiègne and with the support of the U.S. Arthur Henry Fleming, the car was restored and placed in a specially created museum building.

At the signing of the armistice between Germany and France on 22 June, 1940, Hitler ordered the wagon to be taken back to the forest at Compiègne. Subsequently, the wagon was put on the road to Berlin and displayed a week later at the Berlin Cathedral. In 1944 the wagon was sent to Thuringia, in central Germany. Then it came to Ruhla and later Gotha Crawinkel, near a huge tunnel system, where it was destroyed in March 1945 by the SS with dynamite in the face of the advancing U.S. Army. However, some SS veterans claim that the wagon had been destroyed by air attack near Ohrdruf while being at Thuringia in 1944. Even so, it's generally believed the wagon was destroyed in 1945 by the SS.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lehrer, Steven. "Compiègne". Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Compiegne". Eberhardt. Retrieved 2014-10-05.