The Christmas Truce

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Q9, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Q9

    Q9 General Headache

    1914. World War One. The ugliest, most brutal, and probably most pointless war in history. The war was unrivaled in sheer carnage and human suffering. British and German soldiers shot, killed, and more often than not, maimed each other, without a clear reason why.

    Until Christmas. I'll let others tell the story - they can do it better than I.

    December 19th

    "Lieutenant Geoffrey Heinekey, new to the 2nd Queen’s Westminster Rifles, wrote to his mother, ‘A most extraordinary thing happened. . . Some Germans came out and held up their hands and began to take in some of their wounded and so we ourselves immediately got out of our trenches and began bringing in our wounded also. The Germans then beckoned to us and a lot of us went over and talked to them and they helped us to bury our dead. This lasted the whole morning and I talked to several of them and I must say they seemed extraordinarily fine men . . . . It seemed too ironical for words. There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours."

    Christmas Eve:

    'As night fell on Christmas Eve the British soldiers noticed the Germans putting up small Christmas trees along with candles at the top of their trenches and many began to shout in English "We no shoot if you no shoot."(p. 25). The firing stopped along the many miles of the trenches and the British began to notice that the Germans were coming out of the trenches toward the British who responded by coming out to meet them. They mixed and mingled in No Man’s Land and soon began to exchange chocolates for cigars and various newspaper accounts of the war which contained the propaganda from their respective homelands. Many of the officers on each side attempted to prevent the event from occurring but the soldiers ignored the risk of a court-martial or of being shot.

    Some of the meetings reported in diaries were between Anglo-Saxons and German Saxons and the Germans joked that they should join together and fight the Prussians. The massive amount of fraternization, or maybe just the Christmas spirit, deterred the officers from taking action and many of them began to go out into No Man’s Land and exchange Christmas greetings with their opposing officers. Each side helped bury their dead and remove the wounded so that by Christmas morning there was a large open area about as wide as the size of two football fields separating the opposing trenches. The soldiers emerged again on Christmas morning and began singing Christmas carols, especially "Silent Night." They recited the 23rd Psalm together and played soccer and football. Again, Christmas gifts were exchanged and meals were prepared openly and attended by the opposing forces. Weintraub quotes one soldier’s observation of the event: "Never . . . was I so keenly aware of the insanity of war."'

    They went back to fighting a few days later, but with far less will - many soldiers had to be transferred because of their refusal to fight afterwards.

    Merry Christmas. These men got it right. This story makes me think that maybe, just maybe, peace on Earth is possible.
  2. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    If history has proved anything it has proved that most wars are pointless and, more importantly that peace on earth is not possible.
  3. Q9

    Q9 General Headache

    Quote:You're probably right. Why do I even bother saying something optimistic? [​IMG]
  4. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 2, 2010
    western Oregon
    Q9, I have heard this account and it was remarkable, thanks for sharing it. Peace on earth is possible all one has to to is ask.
  5. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    I hear almost the same story years ago, but it was set during the war between the states.......not sure any truth to it but nice to think it could happen.
  6. eenie114

    eenie114 Completly Hopeless

    Very heartwarming story, Q9. Thank you for sharing.
    Merry Christmas, everybody. [​IMG] Even to those of you intent on saying something pessimistic about something that was intended to bring joy to others. [​IMG]
  7. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

    Quote:Truer words were never spoken! [​IMG]
    Merry Christmas, everyone! [​IMG]
  8. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Quote:yes we have had "peace on earth" for many years........pray we will have those years back again, and ever lasting.


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