The Christmas Truce of 1914, World War I

This is based on a true story. The Christmas truce (German: Weihnachtsfrieden; French: Trve de Nol) was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War I around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, French, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most memorable images of the truce. Peaceful behaviour was not ubiquitous; fighting continued in some sectors, while in others the sides settled on little more than arrangements to recover bodies. The following year, a few units arranged ceasefires but the truces were not nearly as widespread as in 1914; this was, in part, due to strongly worded orders from the high commands of both sides prohibiting fraternization. Soldiers were no longer amenable to truce by 1916. The war had become increasingly bitter after devastating human losses suffered during the battles of the Somme and Verdun, and the incorporation of poison gas.

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