Led by Erzberger of the Centre Party, the German armistice negotiators have crossed the lines and boarded a special train. Now after a long journey that seems calculated to show them the devastation their army has wreaked on France they arrive in a forest clearing where Foch, Weygand and the Allied negotiators are waiting for them. The armistice negotiations will take place in these woods near Compiègne.
Proceedings begin with Foch reading the terms the Allies have agreed. They require the Germans to surrender large quantities of military materiel and to completely evacuate France and Belgium. The German fleet and its U-boats will also have to sail for internment to Allied ports. And the Allies will occupy Germany up to Rhine, as well as bridgeheads across the river. The British navy’s blockade of Germany will not be lifted until a final peace settlement. The terms are clearly intended to make it impossible for the Germans to treat the armistice as an opportunity to rest and regroup before continuing the war.
Erzberger nevertheless asks for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, so that the German can be deployed at home to restore order in a country where revolution is on the march. But Foch rebuffs him; the war will continue until the armistice terms are agreed in full. One of the Germans leaves to bring the Allied terms back to army headquarters at Spa. Foch then leaves the German delegation to their deliberations.
Different trains: the one on the left is Foch’s while the one on the right houses the German negotiators (Roads to the Great War: Armistice Glade at Compiègne)