The Christmas truce of 1914
Written by Michal
WWI was a very tough era of evil. The world was divided, families separated, millions of souls were lost battling in terrible conditions. Life in the trenches was rough - they were long and narrow, filled with mud and disease. However, on Christmas Eve 1914, in a dank, muddy trench on the Western Front, a remarkable thing happened. Some might even say it was a Christmas miracle.
Photo: During World War I enemies stopped fighting and celebrated Christmas together, Businessinsider.com
Late on this Christmas Eve, men of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) overheard carols and patriotic songs from the rival territory. Lanterns were seen along the opposing German trenches. The troops were singing and not long after messages began to be shouted between the trenches.
The next day, on Christmas morning, to everyone’s surprise, German and British troops met in no man's land. They exchanged gifts, took photographs, shared family pictures, and celebrated the holiday by playing an impromptu game of football accompanied by song.
Photo: WWI's Christmas Truce: When Fighting Paused for the Holiday, history.com
This cease-fire was not an event that spread throughout the Western Front. Fighting persisted in most areas, and so there were still casualties on Christmas Day in 1914. Some higher-ranking officers were weary with the cease-fire and disallowed it, fearing that it would weaken their men's fighting spirit in the upcoming days.
In the coming months of 1915, both sides' High Commands attempted to avoid similar truces from occurring again. Despite this, soldiers were involved in a few isolated events, becoming further examples of the 'Live and Let Live' system.
Nowadays people can only imagine the harshness of WWI. Nights were long, death was everywhere, and morale must have been low all year round. I believe that this Christmas truce gave everyone present feelings of joy, hope, and relief. It must have presented them with a chance to see we are all human, all the same, and that there is still good in the world even in the worst of times. It must truly have been a Christmas miracle.
Businessinsider.com, “During World War I enemies stopped fighting and celebrated Christmas together”,
History.com, “WWI's Christmas Truce: When Fighting Paused for the Holiday”,
Robson, H., “The real story of the Christmas truce”, iwm.org.uk
During World War I enemies stopped fighting and celebrated Christmas together, Businessinsider.com,
WWI's Christmas Truce: When Fighting Paused for the Holiday, history.com, https://www.history.com/topics/christmas-truce-1914-world-war-i-soldier-accounts