15. The Armistice exposed the crisis in Europe
Following the Armistice on November 11, 1918, censorship of newspapers did not immediately cease. It did ease however, and reporters who had written of the flu in Spain learned of its extent in France, Great Britain, and throughout the British Empire. Its extent in the German sides of the trenches exposed itself, from German prisoners and civilians. In the first and second waves the flu ravaged the troops on the front lines, in the support trenches, and throughout the logistics trails. Railroads and other supply systems, disrupted by absences caused by the flu could no longer support the German Army in the last few weeks of the war.
The widespread nature of the disease in Europe was reported in America, though few Americans paid much attention, too concerned with their own plight to worry about the recently defeated enemy. In Great Britain and Canada the disease spread faster than attempts to contain it could be established. Throughout the European continent, hunger and malnutrition made the survivors of the war more susceptible to the illness, and more likely to die from its symptoms. No person was immune. At the Versailles Conference, in addition to American President Woodrow Wilson, the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, contracted the flu. So did Georges Clemenceau of France, and Johannes Ball, who represented Germany.