What Happened When WWI Paused On The Christmas Day

As unbelievable and untrue as it might seem to most of you who might be coming across this for the first time, it is actually true. The great and unquenchable World War I was suspended for Christmas.

Yes, the great festive period we all know and love, which is celebrated by Christians as the birth of Jesus, who is believed to be the Son of God and the One who died for their sins. Though history might not have put it out there as it put the spoils of World War I out there, today we will be looking at how it happened.

How The War Paused

On the Eve of Christmas in the year 1914, the world war was put on hold by soldiers who put the joy of Christmas first and the celebration first before the war.

When asked to narrate his ordeal on the events that took place during the suspended war, Bruce Bairnsfather began by writing, ” It all began on the eve of Christmas, where he and his fellow troops, who were also in the first Battalion, gathered in a 3 foot wide trench in the cold of the sleepless day and sleepless night, eating biscuits and holding onto wet cigarettes, which were impossible to light seeing how drenched they had become from the cold and living in fear of being killed while anticipating the end of the war, when they heard the first Christmas Carol sang by the Germans.

He further wrote, ” Here I was, in this horrible clay cavity, miles and miles from home. It was cold, wet through and covered with mud. There didn’ t seem to be the slightest chance of leaving— except in an ambulance. He had apparently given up hope of Christmas.

They Began Singing

As they were all gathered together in the cold with no thoughts of Christmas or gifts or Christmas carols, they began to hear the Germans wish them a merry Christmas from the land of no man as they began. In his memoir, Bruce wrote that it all began at exactly 10: 00 pm.

I began hearing noise from afar and I listened, ” Away across the field, among the dark shadows beyond, I could hear the murmur of voices. ” In surprise and total disbelief, he recalled having turned to his fellow soldiers, asking if they could also hear what he too was hearing, as he asked, ” Do you hear the Boches [Germans] kicking up that racket over there? “

” Yes, they’ ve been at it for some time! ” they replied. And just when they were trying to figure out what the noise was all about and why it was coming from the Germans, was it another planned attack or a way to distract them, as lots of possibilities crossed their minds, was when they heard Christmas Carols being sang to them and season’ s greetings being thrown at them in a thick German accent.

As the British sat puzzled as to what the Germans were up to, when they heard the Germans ask them to climb out of their trenches to celebrate Christmas, ” come halfway and I would do the same, ” a soldier replied, with doubt as to whether that was a trap or not.

It didn’ t take long, however, until it was discovered that the Germans were geniuses, and within the space of a few minutes, rival enemies were now friends, smoking tobacco together and sharing wine while laughing in the spirit of Christmas. Enemies who once communicated with blazing guns and grenades were now seen smiling and sharing wine and tobacco with each other.

A Description Of The Suspended War By Divers’ Accounts

When the news about the suspended, which was a big deal, was finally something amazing and wonderful to share, the soldiers wasted no time in doing that. The first account given was by a British soldier named J. Readings, who wrote a letter to his wife, telling her about what had just happened. In his letter he wrote, saying,

” My company happened to be in the firing line on Christmas Eve, and it was my turn. . . to go into a ruined house and remain there until 6: 30 on Christmas morning. During the early part of the morning, the Germans started singing and shouting, all in good English. They shouted out, ” Are you the Rifle Brigade? Have you got a spare bottle? If so, we will come half way and you will come the other half. “

Later on in the day, they came towards us, and our chaps went out to meet them. I shook hands with some of them, and they gave us cigarettes and cigars. We did not fire that day, and everything was so quiet it seemed like a dream, ” he ended. In the letter, we could see how shocked he was that this could ever happen, but this was just one of the many letters that were written describing the truce.

Later on, an interview was conducted where a British fighter who went by the name William Ernie was asked to narrate his experience and what transpired. This time around, Ernie gave his own description of the events that took place, including an event he referred to as the ” kick- about” .

He shed more light on the incident by saying, ” The ball appeared from somewhere, I don’ t know where. They made up some goals, and one fellow went in goal, and then it was just a general kick- about. I think there were about a couple hundred people taking part.

The news about the truce and the people who were unhappy about it The stories of the Christmas truce soon made it to the press and, while a little space of time, the news of the truce got out and, just as most were happy, it was gathered that there were equally people who frowned upon it greatly.

One of whom was a 25- year old German soldier, ” Adolf Hitler, ” , who scolded his soldiers with claims that they were not behaving like true Germans. The second was the high command, who rightly condemned the act. It was, however, believed that the soldiers who were involved were severely punished while orders were passed that never again would such a thing happen again.

Even though the 1914 Christmas Truce was not accepted by many people, the few who accepted and appreciated it created a form of memorial when a statue was placed in England’ s National Memorial Arboretum commemorating the Christmas Truce.

Thanks for reading

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