The 1914 Christmas Truce of World War I was a spontaneous event initiated by the soldiers themselves. Truces today are ordered from military and political authorities and are very brittle as some factions use them to bring about an advantage for their purpose. I remember Marie Curie’s words:
“ It’s hard to think that after so many centuries of development, the human race still doesn’t know how to resolve difficulties in any way except violence.”
There was a Christmas Truce during World War I from Christmas Eve seven thirty to Christmas Day three in the afternoon. Accounts of these events were documented in soldiers diaries from both sides of the conflict.
It began with the German soldiers singing Christmas carols and lighting candles. The Germans invited the “Tommys” to cross into “no-mans-land” for some wine. One allied soldier accepted and took with him a big cake to share.
Some soldiers held a church service and sang hymns. Then both sides met to participate and exchanged buttons, badges and caps.
Some soldiers played a football game in “no-mans-land” using a bully-beef can to kick and helmets to mark the goal posts.
These practices spread across eight hundred kilometers of the front as soldiers shared cigarettes, shook hands and sang carols.
The truce ended at three pm on Christmas day when they returned to warfare.
The allied soldiers reported that the Germans were very nice, but were tired of the war. The war at its outset was expected to last a few weeks, but continued for years.
Today there is a monument with a wooden cross in Flanders Fields in western Belgium to mark the truce.