Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Truce of 1914

Did you know????

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

Starting on Christmas Eve, many Germans and Bristish troops sang Christmas Carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soildiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man's-land, calling out "Merry Christmas" in their enemies' native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum pudding and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of a good-natured game of soccor.

Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the retrieval of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man's land between the lines.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated-future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officer threats of disciplinary action-but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers' essential humanity endured.

7 comments:

Julianna Sage said...

Aw! That's a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it. I can see why it was never repeated - and they were lucky it wasn't a trick, but imagine the feelings those men took away from that experience.

Pixie said...

That is a great story I remember seeing an old movie about that quite a while ago. Of course, I can't remember the title. lol. It is great to see that even during the worst of times we can come together for a small moment and share a common bond.

Thanks for sharing, Lorelei.

Pixie

Lorelei Confer said...

Thanks for visiting Julianna and Pixie: I agree with you both. I was so intrigued with this story when I first read about it. I had to write something.

Cecile said...

Learn something new every day. I did not know that. Thank you for sharing this with us! I hope you had a great weekend and a wonderful day!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

OMG, what an awesome tale...I wish it were that easy today. Times have changed. Man has changed.
Sad.

Hawk

Sunelby said...

I am looking forward to reading your blogs every week, this is a great way to get people in the christmas spirit.

Sunelby

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Hey Hon,

just stopping by to say hi and see what new!

Hope you're having a great holiday so far!

OMG I just got an Over The Top award too! Woo Hoo, congrats!

Hugs
Hawk