Essay: The Christmas Truce – World War I

The Christmas truce which was a not official truce. The truce occurred along the Western Front. The truce occurred during the Christmas of 1914. World War 1 had been going on for many months but the soldiers on both sides stepped out of their trenches. They walked across no mans land which is where they shook hands and agreed to have a truce so that any of the dead from either side could be buried. As well some of the soldiers also used the truce as a way to chat with each other. Some of them even claim to playing a football game. Still today unofficial truces between opposing forces occur and some more happened at other times during World War One but never on the scale of that first Christmas truce. Similar events have occurred in other conflicts that happened in history history and continue to occur.
The assassination of heir to the Austrian throne. Then Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo on June 29 1914 sparked a rapid sequence of events which led to the outbreak of World War One. In early August. Germany swept past Luxembourg and Belgium on their way into France. That at first made rapid progress. The Allies and Germans tried a series of trying to out flank the movements which eventually led to a battle line the Western Front stretching from Lorraine in the south into the English Channel into the north. Soldiers dug trenches and erected barbed wire to hold their positions the nightmare that was to become trench warfare had begun. In places the trenches were just yards apart. Then as the soldiers realized that neither side was going to make any rapid victories or progress, the trenches became more fortified. The opposing forces now had time to regroup and strengthen their lines with more men but it soon became apparent to the Generals and to the men on the front line that this was going to be a war of attrition the only way a winner would be decided would be when one side ran out of men or out of bullets. As Private .R. Fleming of the 2nd Durham Light Infantry put it. It is not war. It is who can kill the most enemies in the shortest time possible.
The proximity of the enemies also allowed men to shout out to their opponents or stick up signs on wooden boards. After a particularly heavy barrage of missiles or bullets. The soldiers might shout out Missed or Left a bit. This black humour was the start of a conversation between the troops that would hasten the on set of the Christmas truce. Another factor that assisted conditions for an unofficial truce between the men was the weather. For much of December it had been wet but on Christmas Eve the temperature dropped and a sharp frost enveloped the landscape. A White Christmas as depicted on all traditional Christmas cards would provide the backdrop to one of the most remarkable Christmas stories in 2,000 years. Shouting between troops was turned into something way more Christmas Eve. Germans celebrate Christmas on December 24 more than they do on the day itself in Britain and France, December 25 is the main day of celebration. It is on the 24th that the Germans have a large meal with family and Father Christmas delivers his gifts. So on the Western Front on Christmas Eve. German soldiers began to sing carols and place Christmas trees lit with lanterns above the trenches. As a subaltern told the Press Association and it was then published in numerous UK newspapers. In their trenches were a blaze of Christmas trees. Some of the sentries were regaled for hours with the traditional Christmas songs of their Fatherland. Their officers even showed annoyance the next day that some of these trees had been fired on.
A white Christmas singing of carols shouts of good wishes. These shouts were coming from both side the trenches. The erection of illuminated decorations. The truce which days earlier had seemed impossible was now possible and happing. The night before Christmas. A British captain serving at Rue du Bois heard a foreign accent from across the divide that said. Do not shoot after 12:00 and we will not shoot at you either. Then if you English come out and you talk to us we will not shoot. Commonwealth troops fighting were in Belgium as France started hearing some odd sounds coming from across no mans land. German soldiers were singing Christmas carols like Silent Night and Holy Night. Allied troops applauded and cheered. They were shouting out for more. Soldiers on both sides began to sing in unison, trading verses in alternating languages.Then very cautiously and with great courage, unarmed German and Allied soldiers climbed out of their trenches to stand atop their defenses. As well as near the Neuve Chapelle. Which is where a Irish soldier had got up and started to walk across no mans land. Thats where he was greeted with a cigar instead of a bullet. This act of bravery on his part inspired other people that were in his troop to do the same thing. More things similar to this event began to repeat in other places as well. As soldiers got up and walked towards the opposing trench and some just met halfway.

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