This week we are delighted to welcome 137,896 new pages to The Archive, with new pages spanning 128 years from 1871 to 1999. We have additions to eighteen of our existing titles, including extensive updates to the Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle, which cover the years 1873 to 1969 and number nearly 35,000 pages.
This week also sees updates to six of our London titles, including the Acton Gazette, as well as three of our Scottish titles, with pages added to the Hamilton Advertiser, the Dumfries and Galloway Standard and the Aberdeen Press and Journal. We have added pages to publications covering Newcastle and Middlesbrough, as well as new pages to The People.
This week marks the hundred year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended the state of war between the Allied Powers and Germany. The terms of the Treaty required Germany to accept the ‘war guilt,’ namely the responsibility for beginning the conflict, as well as requiring the country to disarm, pay reparations, and cede territory.
Using newly added pages from the Staffordshire Sentinel, it is possible to get a blow-by-blow account of the signing of the Treaty. In the 28th June edition of the newspaper, the headline reads: ‘Peace Treaty Signed – Official Announcement.’ The ‘Sentinel’ office had received a telephone call at 3.37 that afternoon, which announced: ‘Peace was signed at 3-12 this afternoon.’
The Staffordshire Sentinel records how the Treaty was signed 4 years and 328 days since the commencement of hostilities; on the 230th day of the Armistice; on the 161st day of the Peace Conference, and finally, and perhaps most poignantly, 5 years to the day after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, one of the main causes of the conflict.
The Staffordshire Sentinel traces the progress of the German plenipotentiaries across the continent to their final destination of Versailles.
There has been considerable speculation as to the manner of those who would ultimately be chosen to perform the ungrateful task of affixing their signature to the fateful document. The competition for the honour was by no means keen.
In the end it was Herr Hermann Muller and Herr Bell who made the journey from Germany to France to sign the unpopular Treaty. They set out from Cologne, breakfasting the day before in the ex-Kaiser’s waiting room, which had apparently lost ‘much of its grandeur.’ The train was delayed by a lack of furnishing, which was then provided by a French express train. The delegation then traveled through Belgium, where the Union Flag was hoisted on the engine, and the train was driven by a Belgian soldier.
The plenipotentiaries arrived at St Cyr station at 2.35am in the morning, when they were then driven to Versailles. Awaiting them in the Hall of Mirrors, where the German Empire was declared in 1871, were 400 ‘distinguished guests’ and 400 journalists, representing ‘the press of the civilised world.’ 114 plenipotentiaries eventually signed the Treaty.
The weather was apparently ‘cloudy and uncertain,’ and there was an atmosphere of triumph in Versailles: ‘Versailles is filled with triumphal music, marching men and tramping horses. Every street is alive with drums and bugles.’
The Staffordshire Sentinel concludes its commentary on the historic occasion by offering a glimpse of how the news was received in the local area, the Potteries. It apparently ‘proved exceedingly welcome.’ By searching in The Archive using the term ‘treaty signed,’ and filtering your results to June 1919, you can discover more commentary on this historic occasion.
This week we have updated eighteen of our existing titles.
You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.
|Staffordshire Sentinel||1906-1910, 1918-1919|
|Newcastle Evening Chronicle||1894, 1913, 1919|
|Newcastle Chronicle||1875-1896, 1899-1900|
|Aberdeen Press and Journal||1983-1984|
|Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle||1873-1911, 1925-1933, 1958-1969|
|Hayes & Harlington Gazette||1998-1999|
|Acton Gazette||1871-1880, 1885, 1888-1892, 1894-1903, 1910-1917, 1921-1939|
|Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette||1991|
|Dumfries and Galloway Standard||1874, 1884|
|Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough||1901-1902|
|Hamilton Advertiser||1889-1892, 1894, 1897, 1901, 1903-1904, 1906-1908|