A Christmas Truce

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December 24, 2012 by dontbringlulubook

1914 Europe was in the grip of war. It was a war unlike any other. Bloodshed the likes very few had witnessed. Devastation that was never dreamed possible.

Trench warfare was gruelling. Trenches and a complex system of tunnels and dug-outs went on for miles, either side of ‘No Man’s Land’.

The trenches and dugouts were to offer some protection to small arms fire and artillery. If you survived the bombardments, you were then ordered to ‘go over the top’ – work your way through mud, barbed wire, mines, avoiding the gunfire and grenades, to attack the opposing trench. All in an attempt to gain territory.

Yet in 1914 something special happened.

Christmas approached. Christmas transcended the battle lines. Along the Western Front Christmas caused an impromptu truce.

Soldiers from both sides started to talk, exchange gifts and even held a football match.

The propaganda machine failed. The true spirit of human nature shone through.  Today, this message is just as poignant.

A Carol from Flanders
Frederick Niven

In Flanders on the Christmas morn
The trenched foemen lay,
the German and the Briton born,
And it was Christmas Day.

The red sun rose on fields accurst,
The gray fog fled away;
But neither cared to fire the first,
For it was Christmas Day!

They called from each to each across
The hideous disarray,
For terrible has been their loss:
“Oh, this is Christmas Day!”

Their rifles all they set aside,
One impulse to obey;
‘Twas just the men on either side,
Just men — and Christmas Day.

They dug the graves for all their dead
And over them did pray:
And Englishmen and Germans said:
“How strange a Christmas Day!”

Between the trenches then they met,
Shook hands, and e’en did play
At games on which their hearts were set
On happy Christmas Day.

Not all the emperors and kings,
Who rule us could prevent these things —
For it was Christmas Day.

Oh ye who read this truthful rime
From Flanders, kneel and say:
God speed the time when every day
Shall be as Christmas Day.


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