Friday, June 13, 2014
The Train Car for Surrendering
The Magician and I have just finished watching a big pile of Hercule Poirot movies and series episodes. A co-worker lent them to us, and I have enjoyed them very much. I'm a big Agatha Christie fan.
One DVD's special features included David Suchet, the actor who plays the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, taking a trip on the Orient Express. (Agatha Christie's Poirot: Set 5) That doesn't sound all the interesting, but the story of the famous train is really the story of Europe.
One little tidbit was particularly fascinating. Apparently, the Germans signed an agreement to end the fighting at the end of World War I in a particular train car in France. The train car was at one time part of the Orient Express. The agreement was known as the "Armistice of Compiègne," based on the field where it happened. (The official end was the Treaty of Versailles, but stopping the fighting was obviously a pretty big deal!)
When Hitler over-ran France, he dragged the same train car out of its museum and forced the French government to sign their surrender in the same train car.
Later, when it was clear that the days of the Nazi regime were numbered, the Germans destroyed the train car so that the surrender couldn't possibly take place in that same spot.