The Truce at Christmas

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The Truce at Christmas

Christmas is a party to celebrate with family and friends in peace and harmony, but unfortunately during history there have been a lot of soldiers who have spent their Christmas at war.

The 24th December of 1914 a historic moment happened  during the First World War. That night soldiers from UK and Germany had a ceasefire because of this party. Everything started when Germans started to decorate their trenches and to sing the Christmas carol “Stille Nacht”. After that, British answered them with Christmas carols in English.

Later, some gifts like whisky or cigars were exchanged, dead people were buried in peace and soldiers read a fragment from Salmo 23. There are also many stories about a possible football match between both countries, and there are several letters which confirm that the result of one of these matches was the victory of Germany (3-2).

This illegal truce, given that their “bosses “didn’t approve of it, despite of a previous petition by Pope Benedict XV, lasted in many places only that night, but in other places this situation lasted until New Year’s Eve or even until February.

Next year, this kind of situations were forbidden and every next year many bombings used to be commanded on Christmas’ Eve. Despite of this, many soldiers got on well, but not like the Christmas of 1914.

This historical truce has been recreated in the cinema in many films like “Joyeux Noel” and “Oh What a Lovely War”; in books like “Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce”  “Si te quedas en Escocia” or “ La caida de los gigantes” in videoclips like “Pipes of Peace” by Paul McCartney and in songs like “All Together Now” by The Farm.

The truce at Christmas shows us an alternative to the war, and shows us that the soldiers which we used to study about in history books were more than pupils of a boss, they were normal people like us who only wished for Christmas to be quiet and in peace during this party, and it also shows us the power of the friendship and the human, values seen every Christmas, despite of the situation.

 

By Lucia Yanez Arencibia

Student at CET Services