813 0 0 1 . 696 0 0 0 1. 415 0 0 remains of the day essay 1.
748 0 0 0 2. 624 0 0 0 1. 47 0 0 0 13 6. 5 0 1 0 6. German and British troops celebrating Christmas together during a temporary cessation of WWI hostilities known as the Christmas Truce. On a crisp, clear morning 100 years ago, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front.
In the hundred years since, the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 15 million lives. But what actually happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1914 — and did they really play soccer on the battlefield? Pope Benedict XV, who took office that September, had originally called for a Christmas truce, an idea that was officially rejected. Yet it seems the sheer misery of daily life in the cold, wet, dull trenches was enough to motivate troops to initiate the truce on their own — which means that it’s hard to pin down exactly what happened. Christmas truce as it took place across the Western front. To this day historians continue to disagree over the specifics: no one knows where it began or how it spread, or if, by some curious festive magic, it broke out simultaneously across the trenches. Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce.
O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. Allied soldiers came out warily to greet them. You no shoot, we no shoot. Over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. The phenomenon took different forms across the Western front.
Several mention impromptu kick-abouts with makeshift soccer balls, although, contrary to popular legend, it seems unlikely that there were any organized matches. The truce was widespread but not universal. Evidence suggests that in many places firing continued — and in at least two a truce was attempted but soldiers attempting to fraternize were shot by opposing forces. And of course, it was only ever a truce, not peace. Hostilities returned, in some places later that day and in others not until after New Year’s Day. It was a short peace in a terrible war. As the Great War resumed, it wreaked such destruction and devastation that soldiers became hardened to the brutality of the war.
While there were occasional moments of peace throughout the rest of World War I, they never again came on the scale of the Christmas truce in 1914. Yet for many at the time, the story of the Christmas truce was not an example of chivalry in the depths of war, but rather a tale of subversion: when the men on the ground decided they were not fighting the same war as their superiors. With no man’s land sometimes spanning just 100 feet, enemy troops were so close that they could hear each other and even smell their cooking. In a memo issued on Dec. Indeed, one British soldier, Murdoch M.
I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired. Have you no German sense of honor? Still, a century later, the truce has been remembered as a testament to the power of hope and humanity in a truly dark hour of history. Oh, What a Lovely War! Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain.
And though the Christmas Truce may have been a one-off in the conflict, the fact that it remains so widely commemorated speaks to the fact that at its heart it symbolizes a very human desire for peace, no matter how fleeting. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice. Order The Remains of the Day at BN. As a student athlete I’m always on the grind at basketball practice and I’ve been really short on time all through high school.
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