The Christmas Truce of 1914

This is Simon Rees' account of "The Christmas Truce" at this link http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/christmastruce.htm

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You are standing up to your knees in the slime of a waterlogged trench.  It is the evening of 24 December 1914 and you are on the dreaded Western Front.

Stooped over, you wade across to the firing step and take over the watch.  Having exchanged pleasantries, your bleary-eyed and mud-spattered colleague shuffles off towards his dug out.  Despite the horrors and the hardships, your morale is high and you believe that in the New Year the nation's army march towards a glorious victory.

But for now you stamp your feet in a vain attempt to keep warm.  All is quiet when jovial voices call out from both friendly and enemy trenches.  Then the men from both sides start singing carols and songs.  Next come requests not to fire, and soon the unthinkable happens: you start to see the shadowy shapes of soldiers gathering together in no-man's land laughing, joking and sharing gifts.

Many have exchanged cigarettes, the lit ends of which burn brightly in the inky darkness.  Plucking up your courage, you haul yourself up and out of the trench and walk towards the foe...

The meeting of enemies as friends in no-man's land was experienced by hundreds, if not thousands, of men on the Western Front during Christmas 1914.  Today, 90 years after it occurred, the event is seen as a shining episode of sanity from among the bloody chapters of World War One.

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A romanticized version of a true story which Rees lays out more fully. A true story though, nonetheless.

As we head into this Christmas season, what is your response and reaction to this true historical episode?

In the new year I will blog about this story and perhaps include some of your responses and thoughts.

 
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