Not only was peace signed in the region, but the fate of WW1 was also decided here, in Hauts-de-France. In August 1918, the German offensives in Aisne and the Somme ended in failure. On 8th August, Foch, who had just been appointed Marshal, launched the 100 Days Offensive from Amiens and did not stop until the final moment of victory.
The Germans realized that they had lost the war and sought to obtain Armistice. The allied forces who had been counting on victory in Spring 1919 were caught off-guard by the German collapse and hastily drew up a treaty that would be finalised on 4th November.
Didn’t an Armistice that put an end to 1561 days of combat involving all 5 continents deserve more ceremony? To understand why such a discreet forest clearing was chosen, you have to look at the background to the situation. Marshal Foch wanted to avoid publicly humiliating the German delegation so that signing the peace did not trigger a desire for vengeance and so that it would last for as long as possible.
Armistice was signed in Foch’s mobile command centre, a train whose dining carriage had been converted to an office. It was taken to “a place that will ensure calm, silence and respect for our adversary”. It was, in fact, a luxurious train with comfortable green and gold upholstered carriages that had been used by Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie when they visited Compiègne.