Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Truce of 1914

I've posted a couple of times before (12/26/06 and 12/28/07) about the remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914, a spontaneous, unofficial truce during the First World War that occurred all along the lines between the English and French, on the one side, and the Germans, on the other, at Christmas time.

This is an article that I haven't cited before: Simon Rees, The Christmas Truce FirstWorldWar.com 08/22/09. He writes:

Today, pragmatists read the Truce as nothing more than a 'blip' - a temporary lull induced by the season of goodwill, but willingly exploited by both sides to better their defences and eye out one another's positions. Romantics assert that the Truce was an effort by normal men to bring about an end to the slaughter.

In the public's mind the facts have become irrevocably mythologized, and perhaps this is the most important legacy of the Christmas Truce today. In our age of uncertainty, it comforting to believe, regardless of the real reasoning and motives, that soldiers and officers told to hate, loathe and kill, could still lower their guns and extend the hand of goodwill, peace, love and Christmas cheer.
Indeed it is.

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