WWI: Christmas in the TrenchesThu Nov 10, 2005 17:02
On Christmas day, 1914, the first day of World War I, German, British and French soldiers disobeyed their superiors and fraternized with "the enemy" along two thirds of the Western Front. German troops held up Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs,"Merry Christmas." "You no shoot, we no shoot." Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man's land strewn with rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols,exchanged photos of loved ones back home, shared rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few hours before. They agreed to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.
A shudder ran through the high command on either side. Here was a disaster in the making: soldiers declaring brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March,1915 the fraternization movement had been eradicated and the killing machine put back into full operation. By the time of the Armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.
Not many people have heard the story of the Christmas Truce. Military leaders have gone out of their way not to publicize it. On Christmas Day 1988, a story in the Boston Globe mentioned that a local FM radio station host played,"Christmas in the Trenches," a ballad about the Christmas Truce several times and was startled at the effect. The song became the most requested recording during the holidays in Boston on several FM stations.
"Even more startling than the number of requests I get is the reaction to the ballad afterward by callers who never heard it before," said the host. They telephone me deeply moved, sometimes in tears, asking,"What the hell did I just hear?" I think I know why the callers were in tears. The Christmas Truce goes against most of what we have been taught about people. It gives us a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be and says," This really happened once." It reminds us of those thoughts we keep hidden away, out of range of the TV and newspaper stories that tell us how trivial and mean human life is. It is like hearing our deepest wishes really are true: The world really can be different. ( Say no to this despotic new world order ruled by an elite ruling class. Lay down your arms in mass and refuse to fight). Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!!!
Source: WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD by David G. StratmanAPFN: Your requested URLThu Nov 10, 2005 19:35
The Christmas Truce can be found at www.wagingpeace.org . Click on "resources and archives" Look under the year 2003. Its posted as article 15. This is a good website. Also, Stratman has a website at www.newdemocracyworld.org . Very interesting an eye opening articles on both sites and message of hope that WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. Please share with family, friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and veterans. Hope this helps.
Daniel E. Moore,Founder
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