In response to the shipping losses being inflicted by German submarines in the Atlantic, the US entered World War I in April 1917, slowly building up the Allies’ land forces to the point when, in August 1918, they could launch a final, decisive ‘Hundred Days Offensive’, which forced the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line and left them no further hope of military victory. More Allied breakthroughs in September obliged the Germans to sue for peace, and negotiations began. On 29 September Bulgaria signed the Armistice of Salonica, and on 30 October the Ottoman Turks signed the Armistice of Mudros. On 9 November, in the wake of domestic rebellion and the disintegration of his armed forces, German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and fled to the Netherlands. The final Armistice signed at Compiègne in northern France on 11 November 1918 was not, strictly speaking, an instrument of surrender, but a ceasefire agreement. No Allied troops were to advance into Germany itself. However the Germans were obliged to withdraw their forces back beyond the River Rhine and to relinquish their warships, aircraft and other military materiel. Allied prisoners would be released and the naval blockade of Germany would continue. War reparations would later be itemized in the Treaty of Versailles agreed in June 1919. The map shows the disposition of troops at the time the Armistice was signed, that is, before the agreed German withdrawals.
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