What is the difference between armistice and peace treaty?

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  • A good dictionary will provide you the answer to questions of this sort. – StoneyB Nov 4 '14 at 22:54

From Wikipedia:

An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, since it might be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace. It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning weapons and statium, meaning a stopping.

An armistice is a modus vivendi and is not the same as a peace treaty, which may take months or even years to agree on. The 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement is a major example of an armistice which has not been followed by a peace treaty.

Also, from Wikipedia:

A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties. It is different from an armistice, which is an agreement to stop hostilities, or a surrender, in which an army agrees to give up arms, or a ceasefire (truce) in which the parties may agree to temporarily or permanently stop fighting.

The difference should be quite clear by now. A peace treaty is a formal arrangement to end war permanently. Armistice is just a temporary cessation of armed conflict.

Usually, an armistice is the first step taken towards a peace treaty.