Soldiers Celebrate Armistice. After the last shots of World War I on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m., men from Battery D, 105th Field Artillery, celebrate by hoisting the U.S. flag. (Hillie John Franz, 1918, courtesy of Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

World War I was fought on a global scale, the likes of which had never before been seen. More than thirty nations declared war between 1914 and 1918, with fighting throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. Far away from the battlegrounds, the effects of the war also were felt in Chicago—a city comprised largely of immigrants—as communities were divided and loyalties questioned. The war brought about extraordinary advances in weaponry and military technology, along with innovations in communications, medicine, and manufacturing. It also was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, with millions of lives lost—both military and civilian—and countless more wounded on both sides.

One hundred years later, we reflect on the Great War’s tremendous impact as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra commemorates the Armistice of November 11, 1918—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month—that ended this “war to end all wars.”

Over the course of the next several weeks, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association will present programs and special events at Symphony Center and across Chicago that explore themes of peace and reflection. A Time for Reflection—A Message of Peace—a companion exhibit curated by the Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Pritzker Military Museum & Library—will be on display in Symphony Center’s first-floor rotunda from October 2 through November 18, and the content also will be presented on CSO Sounds & Stories and the From the Archives blog.

This article also appears here. For event listings, please visit

This exhibit is presented with the generous support of COL (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), Founder and Chair, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, through the Pritzker Military Foundation.

Additional thanks to Shawn Sheehy and Jenna Harmon, along with the Arts Club of Chicago, Newberry Library, Poetry Foundation, and Ravinia Festival Association.