Today is the 11th of November, the day of St. Martin, Martinus turonensis, patron saint of soldiers, and France.
You may know the famous story about Martin: As Roman soldier he met a beggar who was nearly dying from cold. Martin took his sword, cut his cloak in half and gave the garment to the man.
It’s Day of Rememberence, Veteran’s Day, Day of Armistice, when finally the worst slaughter mankind had inflicted on itself until then was officially ended in that train waggon in Compiègne on 11.11.1918. The 19th century’s fin de siecle longing for “a purifying thunder” (“ein reinigendes Gewitter”) ended in the Flanders trenches, the 20th century started with a massacre which sowed out the seeds for the coming atrocities: The first worldwar is “the great seminal catastrophe of this century” (“die Urkatastrophe des 20. Jahrhunderts”), as George F. Kennan put it.
They signed that paper on the day dedicated to the soldier, who used his weapon to do something good, in a gesture of humanity in a barbarous time, then and now.