Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Christmas Truce of 1914

The Great War (First World War) of 1914-1918 saw a new world order of violence that spawned the hallmarks of Twentieth Century conflict - machine guns, tanks, air raids; and gas.

The Great War transformed the common soldier into a unit of sacrifice, to be processed and exterminated on an industrial scale.

The war machine was born, a machine that ran on men. In the course of four years, it would get through 20 million soldiers of all nationalities. 

Today on Far Future Horizons we focus our attention on one miraculous day when the war machine faltered. A day when men who were meant to operate as killing machines stopped. A day when they put down their guns, shook hands, exchanged gifts and discovered they had more in common with each other than with their leaders, kings or governments. Enemies became friends, and for a brief time the world was at peace. It was Christmas Day, 1914.

Christmas Day 2016 marks the hundred and second anniversary of that truce. 

We would like to wish all our dear readers a blessed and joyous holiday season and for the coming New Year we would like to bestow upon all of you this heartfelt wish:

As the dawn breaks on a new year, let us give thanks for all we hold dear: our health, our family and our friends.

Let us release our grudges, our anger and our pains, for these are nothing but binding chains. Let us live each day in the most loving ways, the God-conscious way. Let us serve all who are in need, regardless of race, colour or creed.

Let us keep God of our own understanding in our hearts and to chant God’s name each day. Let us lead the world from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth and from wrong to right.

Let us remember that we are all one, embracing all, discriminating against none.

May your year be filled with peace, prosperity and love. May God's blessings shower upon you and bestow upon each of you a bright, healthy and peaceful new year.

The Christmas truce was a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front and began at Flander's Field around Christmas of 1914, during the First World War. During this time, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides -- as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units -- independently ventured into "No man's land" (the space between opposing forces trenches), where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides had also been so friendly as to play games of football (Soccer) with one another. The truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of modern history.

              Soldiers from both sides playing Football (Soccer)

The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man's Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held. The fraternisation was not, however, without its risks; some soldiers were shot by opposing forces. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but it continued until New Year's Day in others.


This wonderful History Channel documentary is available on DVD from Amazon.com.

The Christmas Truce

Joyeux Noel (2005) - Official Movie Trailer 

 The Motion picture Joyeux Noel (2005) tells the story of this wonderful day.

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