An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on of November, repeating indefinitely
11 November every year: Commemorating the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war.
Armistice Day, also known as Poppy Day or Remembrance Day, commemorates the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since World War I (1914-1918). It is observed on 11 November because World War I ended on that date in 1918.
Because red poppies bloomed on the Western Front during World War I they became a symbol of remembrance and are often worn in the UK around the time of Armistice Day, with sales raising funds for people who have served in the armed forces, and their dependents, through the poppy appeal of the Royal British Legion. The Peace Pledge Union and many pacifists support the wearing of white poppies as an alternative. Some people wear both red and white! This could form the basis of an interesting issue to discuss in class, with students researching the background and debating the different reasons for wearing different coloured poppies.
For some images exploring Armistice Day in different countries, take a look at The Boston Globe Big Picture | Armistice Day Remembrances (date: 2009).
- The Royal British Legion has a learning pack and poster set, suitable for Key Stages 2-4 (ages 7-16), updated every year: Download or order Royal British Legion Learning Pack.
- The British Postal Museum & Archive have used some of their artefacts to create primary and secondary learning packs based around soldiers’ experiences of the First World War.
- The Peace Pledge Union has created an assembly about remembrance.
- This resource from ForcesWatch explores ways in which teaching remembrance in schools can be used as a way of encouraging critical thinking about what and how we remember, and how this can be used to foster a culture of peace.
- The Peace Education Network’s Teach Peace Pack contains ten assemblies, follow-up activities, resources, prayers, and reflections on peace and peacemaking for 5-12 year olds.
If you are teaching about the centenary of World War One, the following resources may also be useful:
- The British Library website article Origins and outbreak provides an in-depth (but easy-to-read) explanation of how WWI began.
- British Council Schools Online – Passchendaele: Pack focused on Modern Foreign Languages to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele which took place between July and November 1917 in Belgium.
- British Council Schools Online – Football Remembers – exploring the 1914 Christmas Truce.
- BBC History – World War One Centenary – includes a School resources section.
- British Library – World War One – brings together over 500 historical sources from across Europe, plus insights from experts. Also has a range of secondary teaching resources.
- Imperial War Museum: First World War Learning Resources
The following reports also provide interesting global perspectives:
BBC News Magazine: Six unexpected WW1 battlegrounds – explores sites outside Europe where WW1 fighting took place, including Togo, Lebanon, Mexico, Tanzania and China.
British Council: Remember the World as well as the War – presents findings from an survey of people in Egypt, France, Germany, India, Turkey, Russia and the UK. It explores their perceptions and knowledge about the First World War and highlights the truly global nature of the conflict and its lasting legacy. The report also identifies that international perceptions of the UK today are, in part, still influenced by Britain’s role in the First World War.
British Future: Do Mention the War – draws on original research into what the public know and don’t know about the first world war, why they think the centenary matters and what they want it to be about. Explores the contribution made by soldiers from the Commonwealth.
For further teaching resources to help your school mark Armistice Day, browse through the listings under the topic of Peace, conflict & security. You could also read through our article on conflict resolution, which provides an introduction to this topic.