New Jersey July 24, 2016
Most People Have No Idea How World War I Actually Ended In New Jersey
This tidbit of trivia is one that often escapes even the biggest history buffs. The majority of Americans (understandably) believe that World War I ended with the signing of the Treaty of Verssailes in 1919, but that isn’t exactly the case.
Germany Signs Armistice
Some believe the war ended on November 11th, 1918, when Germany signed an armistice and a ceasefire came into effect.
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
In the seven months following the signing of the armistice, a formal state of war was still in existence. Many acknowledge June 28,1919 as the official end of the war with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. While Woodrow Wilson did attend the Paris Peace Conference and witnessed the formation of the League of Nations, America did NOT sign the treaty.
The former site of the Frelinghuysen Estate.
President Wilson never signed the treaty and his successor, Warren G. Harding, also refused to sign. America technically remained at war with the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) until the Knox-Porter Resolution came about in 1921. The resolution was passed by congress on July 1, 1921 and on July 2, 1921, the resolution received an executive signature.
President Harding was visiting a friend in Raritan, New Jersey when the papers were brought to him. Legend has it that he was brought in from a game of golf to sign. The friend President Harding was visiting was Joseph Sherman Frelinghuysen, Sr., a United States senator, and the papers were signed at his New Jersey estate. A plaque on the Easton Turnpike sits inconspicuously among shrubbery, commemorating the signing of the resolution on the site of the former estate.
You’ll find the plaque between P.C. Richards and Burger King, right near the entrance to the Somerville Circle Shopping Center. The day after the resolution was signed, the New York Times proclaimed, “War with Germany ended as it began, by Congressional declaration and Executive signature on American soil.” See a snip of that article
here and check out these articles for more New Jersey history: Most People Don’t Know How These 21 Towns In New Jersey Got Their Start, Not Many People Know That New Jersey Was Almost Changed Forever In 1980 and There’s Something Incredibly Unique About This New Jersey Restaurant…And You’ll Want To Visit.