100 years ago, to the present day, the truce was signed, which ended the First World War, which killed nearly 10 million fighters between 1914 and 1918
Early November German troops retreat to the west. Your enemies are asking for surrender. On the 7th at 20:30, near La Capelle in the north, a buzzer sounds. He announces a truce for a German delegation to pass. She takes a train to Rethondes Clearing. There awaits you the Marshal of France, Ferdinand Foch.
The atmosphere is icy. "Are you asking for a truce?" We ask. Thirty-four conditions, including disarmament and retreat from the left bank of the Rhine, which will later bear the seeds of humiliation, are set.
The Germans have three days to think. They negotiate into the night from 10 to 11 o'clock. Then in a car between 5:12 and 5:20 o'clock it became famous to sign the document. At 11 o'clock the fighting has to stop.
Meanwhile, the bombing continues. The Frenchman Augustin Trébuchon, the Canadian George Lawrence Price and the American Henry Gunther fall in the last five minutes.
Joy and relief
Everywhere the beetles announce the good news. The soldiers leave the trenches relieved and stunned. It is jubilation in big cities. The bells ring in all the communities of France as on November 11, 2018.
But 100 years later, direct witnesses of the conflict have disappeared in France. The last "hairy" are wiped out and bear the memories of the horrors of the trenches. Some of them recalled a few years ago the joy and relief of announcing the end of hostilities.
When the trumpets rang, "I did not believe it and the friends too," said Claude-Marie Boucaud. Ferdinand Gilson recalled that he had danced "a few steps from the polka with a shooter" who had "never danced in his life". To conclude: "On November 11, 1918, we were butchering in Western Europe for us completed. "
In Africa a story disappears
Between 1914 and 1918, nearly 30,000 African skirmishers died in the trenches. With 77,000 of 200,000 soldiers from the mainland, the Senegalese formed one of the largest contingents. But a century after the end of this war, this common history seems to disappear.
Student, Amadou Diallo believes that few young people know her. "We can say that the majority of Senegalese adolescents do not really know what it means to be a skirmish, and also what we teach in the classroom and what we see on a documentary level seems completely different."
In history school, you must visit the elders, such as restaurateur Aliou Kane, to share a common past. "We are very happy because we have our old Senegalese shooters, I have my stepfather, there he has made the French army, we have helped France, especially we Africans, we have worked for us, we have worked for Africa."
On the bench next door, a student listens. When asked if she will follow the November 11 rites in France, she admits that she does not know this "story".
Lamine Dia Baye is an archivist at the College of Letters. For him, the skirmishes were humiliated and France pays his arrogance today. "It's a real problem! When we needed skirmishes, they were fighting for the liberation of France, and today France is preventing their children from going to France! It's a lack of humanity."
But not only in Senegal does this common past gradually diminish. Also in Mali the memory of skirmishes disappears. The Malian historian Soumaïla Sanogo explains that in Mali, "when we talk about World War I, there are other memories that are not necessarily related to the memory of the war: taxes, taxes that have increased, grain requirements, etc. These are the things which hit the population much harder, it caused a shock and people were outraged. "
And this story was more or less exploited by the colonial administration, which "has more to forget than to preserve a memory of the war," says the specialist of the First World War. Because it could be a ferment for other uprisings. "