The Final 100 Days: Austria Surrenders! - November 3, 1918

Another Central Power left the war. On November 3rd, 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Government signed the Treaty of Villa Giusti, bringing its involvement in the First World War to an end. 

Germany was left alone. 

Former First Quartermaster General of the Imperial German Army, Erich Ludendorff, had once remarked “...We can’t stand up to the whole world”. Now, they would have to do exactly that. 

The Canadian victory at Valenciennes enabled the advancement of the Allied line all along the Western Front.

Sir Douglas Haig, Commander of the B.E.F, had ordered a huge “set-piece” Offensive for the four Allied armies operating in the Western theatre. 

However, the Germans fell back on to old tactics. In a similar fashion to their withdrawals during the Drocourt-Queant campaign, German forces quietly withdrew from their strongpoints along the Canal de L’Escaut, leaving only a few rearguard forces to cover their retreat.

In place of “set-piece” attacks, Haig ordered a general advance. Allied divisions were encouraged to act on their own initiative, and to continue hounding German forces. 

Though Armistice talks were underway, many on Allied High Command (John Pershing in particular) believed German forces would take advantage of the ceasefire to regroup their forces and relaunch hostilities. With this in mind, orders to push the Germans out of France and Belgium were issued. Regaining lost ground was of paramount importance. 

By nightfall, elements of the 4th Canadian Division had reached the Estreux-Onnaing Road, but had not encountered a single German unit. 

For now, Canadian Forces would receive no rest. Operations would continue the next day.