The Christmas truce of 1914 entailed a series of unofficially spread cease-fires along the western fronts during Christmas. The German and the British soldiers crossed their trenches and ventured into no-man’s land on Christmas Eve to exchange greetings and merry together. They mingled freely exchanging food and souvenirs. They conducted joint burials, prisoner swap and played games such as football together. I was a British soldier during the World War I. At around Christmas day, the sounds of rifles firing and shell exploding subsided in most regions along the Western Front. The rifles faded due to the Christmas holiday celebration. It was a sign of goodwill between enemies. It happened five months after the outbreak of war in Europe, and it indicated one of the only examples of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It never occurred again due to the officer’s threats of disciplinary action. At the dawn of Christmas day, through the window of my apartment, I saw some German soldiers emerge from their trenches. At the first, we wanted tempted to fire them. However, we realized they were unarmed. We lowered our firearms trying to figure out what was to happen next (Hendrix, pg 94). They approached the Allied lines across the no-man’s land calling for a celebration of the Christmas in our native tongue. We thought that it was a trick by the German soldiers to attack us. On noticing they were unarmed, we moved out of our trenches and shook hands with them. Some soldiers, on the other hand, utilized the short-lived happiness to retrieve the bodies of their fellow combatants who had died within the no-man’s land.
During that evening, the Germans were the first to sing. I heard the most beautiful music. We joined them in the celebration. The song would start just opposite us, it would then be taken up all along by the Germans when they were done with the line, we would applaud with all our might then we also will give them a song in return. We were getting along very well despite the previous bloodshed. Several talented musicians from both ends had a duty to pay tribute to their fellows by playing their national songs. It indicated that national hatred was far from universal. After dinner, we heard the blast of music that thrilled us. The exchange of music in the no-man’s land created trust and aroused curiosity. It resulted in a verbal exchange and men poking their heads over the parapets. When it became very clear indication that no one fired nor fought, most soldiers were climbing out of their trenches and crossed to the no –man’s land to meet their earlier enemies to merry and celebrate together( Matthew, g 35).They shook hands, hugged and tried to communicate the best they could though there was a language barrier. However, the informal translator helped a lot to bring clear communication. The informal translators were individuals who had lived in the enemy’s country before the war outbreak. It was a time when I met German counterpart who had lived in Britain for years, but after the war outbreak, he lost everything he had. It was the best moments for us to socialize. He had left his best girl in Suffolk. Since then, he could not get a letter to her girl, and he wanted to send it through me. I made him write a postcard in front of me in English and I helped him send it off that night. Even then, the German soldiers protested that they had no feeling of enmity with us, but the authority compelled them and since they were soldiers, they had to obey.
The Truce continued until the following day. During these periods, the junior officers utilized this opportunity to bury the dead. As the burial proceeded, the German Colonel distributed cigars and cigarettes and another German officer, and other officers took photographs of the event. They exchanged presents as a sign of goodwill and enabled them to obtain what they lacked. They gave us several bottles of wines and cigar as we gave the tins of jam, tobacco, mufflers and beef. Personally, I gave out a tin of raspberry and in return, I was given a leather case containing cigars. In most places, the Truce lasted until 26, and some to 27. However, it was bound to end. The senior officers from both ends were against the ceasefire. They viewed it as a undermine to morale and discipline hence; the soldiers got a notice to stop the Truce. The Truce, however, was not universal. The German troops were eager to fraternize since they shared the ethnic heritage with the Anglo-Saxon. On the other hand, the French troops are less inclined to fraternize with the enemies occupying their land (Schrock, pg 94).
To conclude, the Christmas Truce delivered a good message to the world. It brought about the need for humanity, kindness and goodwill did not fall a victim of war. The war made no impact the Christmas celebration. With or without war. The War would continue afterward, but a declaration about the Truce will last. In fact, after the Truce, the soldier in their trenches showed sadness to go back to war since they knew their enemies also had no hatred for the.
Hendrix, J. (2014). Shooting at the stars: The Christmas truce of 1914.
Matthew, K. (n.d.). Truce 1914. S.l.: M J Kirby.
Schrock, D. A. (2011). City of lace: A novel of the Christmas truce, 1914.
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