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A truce – not a compromise, but a chance for high-toned gentlemen to retire gracefully from their very civil declarations of war. By Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly, February 17, 1877, p. 132.

A ceasefire (or truce) is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces. A ceasefire is usually more limited than a broader armistice, which is a formal agreement to end fighting. Successful ceasefires may be followed by armistices, and finally by peace treaties.


  • Historical examples 1
    • World War I 1.1
    • Korean War 1.2
    • Vietnam War 1.3
    • Persian Gulf War 1.4
    • Kashmir conflict 1.5
    • Betrayal of the Assyrians during ceasefire 1.6
    • Israeli–Palestinian conflict 1.7
    • Provisional IRA – British government 1.8
    • Spanish government – ETA 1.9
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Historical examples

World War I

During World War I, on December 24, 1914, there was an unofficial ceasefire on the Western Front as France, the United Kingdom, and Germany observed Christmas. No treaty was signed, and the war resumed after a few days.

British and German officers after arranging the German handover of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the surrounding area, negotiated during a temporary truce, April 1945

Korean War

On November 29, 1952, the newly U.S. president-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, went to Korea to learn what might end the Korean War. With the United Nations' acceptance of India's proposed Korean War armistice, the Korean People's Army (KPA), the People's Volunteer Army (PVA), and the UN Command ceased fire with the battle line approximately at the 38th parallel. Upon agreeing to the ceasefire agreement, the belligerents established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has since been patrolled by the KPA and the joint ROKA, US, and UN Command. The Korean Demilitarized Zone runs northeast of the 38th parallel; to the south, it travels west. The old Korean capital city of Kaesong, site of the armistice negotiations, originally lay in the pre-war ROK, but now is in the DPRK. The United Nations Command (supported by the United States), the North Korean Korean People's Army, and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army, signed the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953, to end the fighting. The Armistice also called upon the governments of South Korea, North Korea, China, and the United States to participate in continued peace talks. For his part, ROK President Syngman Rhee attacked the peace proceedings. The war is considered to have ended at this point, even though there was no peace treaty.

Vietnam War

On January 15, 1973, President Richard Nixon ordered a ceasefire of the aerial bombings in North Vietnam. The decision came after Dr. Henry Kissinger, the National Security Affairs advisor to the president, returned to Washington from Paris, France with a draft peace proposal. Combat missions continued in South Vietnam. By January 27, 1973, all warring parties in the Vietnam War signed a ceasefire as a prelude to the Paris Peace Accord.

Persian Gulf War

After Iraq was driven by U.S.-led coalition forces out of Kuwait during Iraq was bombed in June 1993 as a response, Iraqi forces firing on coalition aircraft patrolling the Iraqi no-fly zones, U.S. President Bill Clinton's bombing of Baghdad in 1998 during Operation Desert Fox, and an earlier 1996 bombing of Iraq by the U.S. during Operation Desert Strike. The war remained in effect until 2003 when U.S. and United Kingdom forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime from power.

Kashmir conflict

Pakistan's government has repeatedly claimed that India is violating the Simla Agreement by constructing a fence along the Line of Control in the Kashmir Conflict. However, India maintains that the fence has decreased armed infiltration into Indian-administered Kashmir.

Then-Pakistani President and ex-Army Chief of Staff Pervez Musharraf promised in 2002 to curb infiltration into the disputed territory. After the November 2003 ceasefire line agreement, building resumed and was completed in late 2004. LoC fencing was completed in Kashmir Valley and Jammu region on 30 September 2004.[1] According to Indian military sources, the fence has reduced by 80% the numbers of militants who routinely cross into the occupied territory of the disputed state to attack Indian soldiers.[2]

Betrayal of the Assyrians during ceasefire

During World War I, Turkey, which was an ally of Germany, had its troops stationed both in the Balkan States in the west and at the Russian-Iranian border in the north and east. The Russian army was holding its positions against Turkey in the Caucasus mountains on the north and at the Turkish-Iranian border on the east, but when the Russian army withdrew from the war zone in this area due to Lenin's Revolution, its army stationed in the Caucasus was no longer there to protect the Assyrian and Armenian minorities. The Turkish government, whom were angry at the Christians, had been kept under pressure by the Russian Army. In the absence of Russian power in the area, however, the Turkish Army, under the leadership of General Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who later was named Kemal Atatürk, and his close associate Enver Pasha, had some time to reconsolidate their positions on the two eastern borders.

In the meantime, the Kurdish bandit Simko Shikak, also considered by his people to be their leader, was secretly working with both the Turkish and Iranian governments for the annihilation of the Assyrians. Simko's hope was that by annihilating the Assyrians he would get an autonomous rule for his people, who lived in both Turkey and Iran. Simko requested a summit meeting for peace with His Beatitude Mar Benyamin Shimun, who was at the time both top religious leader of the Assyrian Church of the East and political leader of the Assyrians. Mar Shimun accepted Simko's invitation for a peace mission, and took on March 3, 1918, an entourage after approximately 150 well armed men with him, because Simko was known to be untrustworthy. As the carriage carrying Mar Shimon reached Simko headquarters, he was graciously greeted by Simko's guards. As Mar Shimon approached the interior of Simko's inner quarters, the Kurdish leader received him with all honour. The two leaders' discussions were most amicable. One of Mar Shimon's men had observed the shadows of some men on the very large roof of the headquarters, not realizing that there were actually several hundred of Simko's armed men hiding on the rooftop and all around the buildings. Simko later escorted Mar Shimun to the gate, kissed his hand, and his horsemen were ready to conduct him on his way. No sooner had Mar Shimon and his entouroge stepped outside of the yard, than a barrage of gunfire opened simultaneously from all directions, killing the religious leader and about 140 of his men. Of the ten men who escaped, 6 were wounded.

To betray the Assyrians and assassinate their leader while on ceasefire was a grave crime. This vicious act by the Kurds and Turks was to seal the fate of the Assyrians. The Assyrians, who were now left without both a political and a religious leader, fled their homes and villages while being persecuted by the Turks of the Ottoman empire and the Kurds. (See Assyrian genocide)

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

An example of a ceasefire in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was announced between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority on February 8, 2005. When announced, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat publicly defined the ceasefire as follows: "We have agreed that today President Mahmoud Abbas will declare a full cessation of violence against Israelis anywhere and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will declare a full cessation of violence and military activities against Palestinians anywhere."[3]

Provisional IRA – British government

Throughout the period of The Troubles, the Provisional IRA and other paramilitary groups have called ceasefires. The most notable of these being the IRA ceasefire which was called on August 31, 1994, and ended on February 9, 1996, with the Docklands bombing. Another ceasefire was declared in July 1997 after negotiations were reopened.

The IRA traditionally called a Christmas truce.[4]

Spanish government – ETA

ETA has declared several ceasefires during its long running campaign against the Spanish state. A ceasefire declared in March 2006, was broken on December 30, 2006, when a car bomb exploded in Madrid killing two people.[5] On 5 September 2010 ETA declared a ceasefire.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "LoC fencing completed: Mukherjee". The Times Of India. 16 December 2004. 
  2. ^ "Harsh weather likely to damage LoC fencing". Daily Times. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  3. ^ Wedeman, Ben; Raz, Guy; Koppel, Andrea (2005-02-07). "Mideast cease-fire expected Tuesday". CNN. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  4. ^ "IRA Declares Usual Christmas Truce". Los Angeles Times. December 24, 1993. 
  5. ^ Second Madrid blast victim found
  6. ^ Spain's ETA 'declares ceasefire'

External links

  • Search for ceasefire agreements in the UN Peacemaker Database
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