Monday, December 21, 2015

Remembering World War I Christmas Day Truce 1914

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog 

Acknowledgement: Photos and Synopsis from Internet  
 Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

The Christmas Truce 1914:During WWI soldiers from opposing sides laid down their guns and celebrated Christmas together.

Truce - how elusive, how evasive,
     rarest in the midst of strife,
when nobody wins, nobody loses,
     mankind in mock and gripe.

yet honor the whole world gains; 
     her greatest hour remembered
but not for long, and soon forgotten,
     peace once more endangered.

Truce in the verge of defeat is pity;
     demeaning where the drone -
not man - is pitted in the battlefield;
     how can truce be drawn?

Chivalry and truce long lost brothers,
     orphans in war torn Syria;
long estranged in Russia and America,
     so with divided Korea.

Wonder the two infamous world wars;
     conflicts that tested mankind;
had truce healed them at the onset,
     would the world in a closer bind? 

                                                                           - AV Rotor


On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas. The warring countries refused to create any official cease-fire, but on Christmas the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce.
Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues.

At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. 
The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the retrieval of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.

During World War I, the soldiers on the Western Front did not expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but even a world war could not destroy the Christmas spirit.

  The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. (They offered toast for peace and unity on both sides.  A makeshift miniature Christmas Tree became not only a symbol of such an occasion but for the world and humanity.  It is the most important Christmas Tree ever for the whole world to remember thus singular great event - the World War 1 Christmas Day Truce of 1914. 

 During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies. Books, cinemas, stage plays, have been written to immortalize the event and to keep alive the spirit of the truce.
There was a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.  Soccer balls are laid among the wreath and other offerings at the foot of the marker.

Christmas Truce1914 Memorial - a triumph of the human spirit for love and peace for all mankind.

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