An armistice is a situation in a war
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

 where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace. It is derived from the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 arma, meaning weapons and statium, meaning a stopping.

A truce or ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 usually refers to a temporary cessation of hostilities for an agreed limited time or within a limited area. A truce may be needed in order to negotiate an armistice.
An armistice is a modus vivendi
Modus vivendi
Modus vivendi is a Latin phrase signifying an agreement between those whose opinions differ, such that they agree to disagree.Modus means mode, way. Vivendi means of living. Together, way of living, implies an accommodation between disputing parties to allow life to go on. It usually describes...

and is not the same as a peace treaty
Peace treaty
A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, that formally ends a state of war between the parties...

, which may take months or even years to agree on. The 1953 Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 Armistice is a major example of an armistice which has not been followed by a peace treaty.

The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 often imposes or tries to impose cease-fire resolutions on parties in modern conflicts. Armistices are always negotiated between the parties themselves and are thus generally seen as more binding than non-mandatory UN cease-fire resolutions in modern international law.

The key aspect in an armistice is the fact that "all fighting ends with no one surrendering". This is in contrast to an unconditional surrender
Unconditional surrender
Unconditional surrender is a surrender without conditions, in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological...

, which is a surrender without conditions, except for those provided by international law.

International Law regarding armistices

Under International Law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 an armistice is a legal agreement (often in a document) which ends fighting between the "belligerent parties" of a war or conflict. The Hague II (1899) Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

, says "If its [e.g., the armistice's] duration is not fixed," the parties can resume fighting (Article 36) as they chose, but with proper notifications. This is in comparison to a "fixed duration" armistice, where the parties can renew fighting only at the end of the particular fixed duration. When the belligerent parties say (in effect), "this armistice completely ends the fighting" without any end date for the armistice, then duration of the armistice is fixed in the sense that no resumption of the fighting is allowed at any time. For example the Koreas are still technically at war, since there has not been a peace treaty just a ceasefire

Important armistices in history

The most notable armistice, simply known by Europeans as "The Armistice", was the armistice at the end of World War I
Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
The armistice between the Allies and Germany was an agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender...

, on 11 November 1918, signed near Compiègne
Compiègne Forest
The Forest of Compiègne is a large forest in the region of Picardie, France, near the city of Compiègne and approximately north of Paris.-Geography:...

, France, and effective at the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

1949 Armistice Agreements
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

 between Israel and its neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Korean War Armistice Agreement, July 1953.

Other armistices in history

  • Armistice of Copenhagen
    Armistice of Copenhagen
    The Armistice of Copenhagen of 1537 ended the Danish war known as the Count's Feud. No formal peace was signed but the Swedish debt to Lübeck was considered settled and the trade monopoly of Lübeck in Sweden came to an end....

     of 1537 ended the Danish war known as the Count's Feud
    Count's Feud
    The Count's Feud , also called the Count's War, was a civil war that raged in Denmark in 1534–36 and brought about the Reformation in Denmark...

  • Armistice of Stuhmsdorf of 1635 between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden.
  • Peace of Westphalia
    Peace of Westphalia
    The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

     of 1648 that ended the Thirty Years' War
    Thirty Years' War
    The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

  • World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    • Armistice between Russia and the Central Powers, at Brest-Litovsk, 1918 (see Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
      Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
      The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, mediated by South African Andrik Fuller, at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year,...

    • Armistice with Bulgaria
      Armistice with Bulgaria
      The Armistice with Bulgaria was signed on September 29, 1918 at the Bulgaria Armistice Convention in Thessaloniki, Greece, between the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Allied Powers. The convention followed from a request of the Bulgarian government on September 24, asking for a ceasefire...

      , also known as the Armistice of Solun, September 1918
    • Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
      Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
      The armistice between the Allies and Germany was an agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender...

      , 1918
    • Austrian-Italian Armistice of Villa Giusti ended the First World War on the Italian front in early November 1918
    • Armistice of Mudros
      Armistice of Mudros
      The Armistice of Moudros , concluded on 30 October 1918, ended the hostilities in the Middle Eastern theatre between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I...

       Between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies, 1918
  • Armistice of Mudanya
    Armistice of Mudanya
    The Armistice of Mudanya was an agreement between Turkey on the one hand, and Italy, France and Britain on the other hand, signed in the Ottoman town of Mudanya on 11 October 1922....

     between Turkey, Italy, France and Britain and later Greece, 1922.
  • World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    • Armistice with France (Second Compiègne)
      Armistice with France (Second Compiègne)
      The Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed at 18:50 on 22 June 1940 near Compiègne, in the department of Oise, between Nazi Germany and France...

      , 1940
    • Armistice of Saint Jean d'Acre
      Armistice of Saint Jean d'Acre
      The Armistice of Saint Jean d'Acre concluded the Syria-Lebanon Campaign of World War II. It was an armistice signed between Allied forces in the Middle East under the command of British General Henry Maitland Wilson, and Vichy France forces in Syria and Lebanon, under the command of General Henri...

       between British forces in the Middle East and Vichy France forces in Syria, 1941
    • Armistice with Italy
      Armistice with Italy
      The Armistice with Italy was an armistice signed on September 3 and publicly declared on September 8, 1943, during World War II, between Italy and the Allied armed forces, who were then occupying the southern end of the country, entailing the capitulation of Italy...

      , 1943
    • Moscow Armistice
      Moscow Armistice
      The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War...

      , signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 19 September 1944 ending the Continuation War
      Continuation War
      The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

  • Armistice of Trung Gia signed by France and the Viet Minh on 20 July 1954 ending the First Indochina War
    First Indochina War
    The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

  • 1962 armistice in Algeria
    Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

     attempted to end the Algerian War.

Armistice Day

Armistice Day
Armistice Day
Armistice Day is on 11 November and commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day...

 is still celebrated in many countries on the anniversary of the World War I 1918 armistice; alternatively 11 November, or a Sunday near to it, may still be observed as a Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognized as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth...

. In the United States of America, November 11 is observed as Veterans' Day.

External links

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