The 1914 Christmas Truce


Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.
At the first light of dawn, many of the 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 puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.
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Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. In 1915, the bloody conflict of World War I erupted in all its technological fury, and the concept of another Christmas Truce became unthinkable.

More at the Imperial War Museum. HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. eddymul says:

    Sainsbury advertisement includes an artistic rendition of this truce:

  2. Manducat in the hat says:

    Lifting from AoSHQ again Fr.?

    Merry Christmas

    [I don’t know what that means.]

  3. MouseTemplar says:

    “The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights,
    He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight.
    Why he didn’t shoot, well, we’ll never know
    Or was it the bells from the village below?”

  4. guans says:

    only wish we could similarly engage with N Korea.

  5. OldProfK says:

    Trying to remember where I read it (I don’t think it was Keegan), but the leadership on both sides allegedly feared a second Christmas truce would lead to a post-Christmas mutiny, and took steps to avoid it.

    I can’t prove it, but I don’t doubt it. The lions are pretty much always led by donkeys.

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