Armistice with France (Second Compiègne)
When Adolf Hitler received word from the French Government that they wished to negociate an armistice, Hitler selected Compiègne as the site for the negociations. As Compiègne was the site of the 1918 Armistice that ended in the humiliating defeat for Germany in the Great War, Hitler saw using this location as a supreme moment of revenge for Germany over France.
In the very same railway carriage in which the 1918 Armistice was signed (removed from a museum building and placed on the precise spot where it was located in 1918), Hitler sat in the same chair that Marshal Ferdinand Foch had sat in when he faced the defeated German representatives. After listening to the reading of the preamble, Hitler – in a calculated gesture of disdain to the French delegates – left the carriage, leaving the negotiations to his OKW Chief, General Wilhelm Keitel. The armistice terms imposed on France were far harsher than what France had imposed on Germany in 1918. It provided for German occupation of two-thirds of France north and west of a line through Geneva, Tours and the Spanish border so as to give the German Navy access to all French Channel and Atlantic ports. All political asylum personages had to be surrendered and occupation costs to be borne by France. A minimal French Army would be permitted and the French Navy to be disarmed but not surrendered as one of the few concessions Hitler would make (Hitler realized that pushing France too far could result in France fighting on from French North Africa). The unoccupied third of France was obstensively left free to be governed by the French, until a final peace treaty would be negotiated (eventually occupied by Germany in 1942 in Case Anton). The French delegation – led by General Charles Huntziger – tried to soften the harsher terms of the armistice, but Keitel replied that they would have to accept or reject the armistice as it was. Given the military situation that France was in, Huntziger had no choice but to accede to the armistice terms. The cease-fire went into effect on 25 June 1940. William Shirer's book Rise and Fall of the Third Reich gives an excellent description of the armistice, in particular Hitler's mood on that day.
Losses in the West at the time of the Armistice
At this point the campaign had seen the Germans lose 27,000 (dead), more than 111,000 wounded and 18,000 missing. The French had lost 92,000 (dead) and more than 200,000 wounded. the British Expeditionary Force lost more than 68,000 men.
Aftermath of the Armistice
The Armistice site was demolished by the Germans at Hitler's order three days later. The carriage itself was taken to Berlin as a trophy of war (where it was destroyed in 1945), along with pieces of a large stone tablet which bore the inscription (in French): HERE ON THE ELEVENTH OF NOVEMBER 1918 SUCCUMBED THE CRIMINAL PRIDE OF THE GERMAN REICH. VANQUISHED BY THE FREE PEOPLES WHICH IT TRIED TO ENSLAVE. The Alsase-Lorraine Monument (depicting a German eagle immolated by a sword) was destroyed and all evidence of the clearing was obliterated – with the notable exception of Marshal Foch's statue; Hitler intentionally ordered that statue to be left intact so that it be honoring only a wasteland. After the war, the stone tablet pieces were recovered and reassembled, and a replica of the railway carriage placed at the restored site.