Military Culture

Listen to the eerie moment the guns fell silent on Armistice Day, marking the end of WWI

Armistice Day 2020 marked the 102nd anniversary of the day World War I came to a sudden and unceremonious end.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the shelling that had for years tormented those unfortunate souls mired in the Western Front’s muddy trenches finally slowed before coming to a full halt.

Using recordings taken by primitive audio technology that was designed to decipher the point of origin of enemy indirect fire and, according to the Smithsonian, closely resembling a seismometer’s tracking of an earthquake, Britain’s Imperial War Museums and sound production company Coda to Coda were able to recreate the precise audio of the final moments of the war.

Taken from the American front near the Moselle River, the brief audio from Nov. 11, 1918, captures the chaotic and relentless shelling that became commonplace for those embroiled in the unimaginable carnage of the frontlines.

As the timeline reaches 11 a.m., the echoes of the last explosions can be heard before they give way entirely to an unfamiliar stillness and the sound of birds.

“This document from IWM’s collections gives us a great insight into how intense and chaotic the barrage of gunfire must have been for those fighting on the western front,” Coda to Coda director Will Worsley said in a release.

“We hope that our audio interpretation of sound ranging techniques ... enables visitors to project themselves into that moment in history and gain an understanding of what the end of the First World War may have sounded like.”

Listen to the audio below.

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