The generals on both sides were outraged that their soldiers participated. “What is there for us to fight about?” The most detailed estimate, made by Malcolm Brown of Britain’s Imperial War Museums, is that the truce extended along at least two-thirds of British-held trench line that scarred southern Belgium. Advertising Notice The Christmas Truce: The Western Front December 1914. David Hunt (author) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on January 06, 2013: Thanks christopheranton. Elisabeth blew out the candles and opened the door to find two enemy American soldiers standing at the door and a third lying in the snow. Larry, I hadn't heard about the Civil War truce. Despite their rough appearance, they seemed hardly older than boys. Graham Lee from Lancashire. The Germans produced a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread. Meetings in No Man’s Land: Christmas 1914 and Fraternization in the Great War. Then we organized each side into teams, lining up in motley rows, the football in the center. It is ineed a moving tribute to her and the little bit of humanity that occurred that night. David Hunt (author) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on December 29, 2016: The history of this story is also interesting. It's not always easy to pull off-- but the subject matter here does most of the "moving". Christmas Truce, (December 24–25, 1914), impromptu cease-fire that occurred along the Western Front during World War I. It was far from easy to play on the frozen ground, but we continued, keeping rigorously to the rules, despite the fact that it only lasted an hour and that we had no referee. What follows is an incredible story of how the Spirit of Christmas … So, in fact, this story has been verified by several different sources. The Christmas Truce is a good dvd for history class high school students. There was a corporal and three very young soldiers, who wished her a Merry Christmas, but they were lost and hungry. Larry Fields from Northern California on November 30, 2012: Hi David. On Christmas Eve in 1944, a young boy … That whole region is the best for enjoying Germany outside of Bavaria, but I'm a huge history guy. Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. David Hunt (author) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 27, 2015: Henry, here are some addresses I researched for this article. Fritz Vincken also managed to later contact one of the other Americans, but none of the Germans. Glad you liked it. As the brutality of war escalated in 1915, events like the Christmas Truce of 1914 became unattainable, though some limited truces still … A great many of the passes went wide, but all the amateur footballers, although they must have been very tired, played with huge enthusiasm. While Elisabeth tended to the cooking, one of the German soldiers, an ex-medical student, examined the wounded American. And with that, the Battle carried on. Their Christmas meal would now have to wait for his arrival. I imagine they had a lasting impact on your life. I try to make history readable and interesting, warts and all. WW2: Battle of the Bulge, Young German soldiers, Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J28548/Henisch/CC-BY-SA. So we kept up a running conversation with the Germans, all the while our hands ready on our rifles. Once there, out came the Snapps. Thank you for sharing and voting up. If so could you please let me have the links? On Dec. 25, 1915, the 28-year-old Colquhoun had written in his diary: “A German officer came forward and asked me for a truce for Christmas. David Hunt (author) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on November 30, 2012: Alex, you are absolutely correct-- these were Wehrmacht ("ordinary") soldiers and, of course, totally different from the Waffen SS. Cookie Policy William H Taylor from Binghamton NY on November 29, 2012: This is truly an amazing and powerful story showing what humans have in common. Interesting story. on November 30, 2012: Hi UH. In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from … How fortunate all those boys were to have stumbled on Elisabeth's house. A celebration of the human spirit, the Christmas Truce remains a moving manifestation of the absurdities of war. Whitehaven, Cumbria: Operation Plum Puddings, 2006; Marc Ferro et al. For years he tried to locate any of the German or American soldiers without luck, hoping to corroborate the story and see how they had fared. The truce occurred during the Christmas of 1914. “Demystifying the Christmas truce.” The Heritage of the Great War, accessed December 19, 2011; Stanley Weintraub. For those entrenched in this war, there would be no Christmas truce like there had been during WWI. I truly enjoyed reading this hub, Harald. But what was the real story behind the truce? Blood and peace, enmity and fraternity—war’s most amazing paradox. That woman must be a saint now. Always great to hear from you. WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 29, 2012. She took their weapons and stacked them outside next to the Germans'. London: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Eventually, this “developed into a regulation football match with caps casually laid out as goals. The Christmas Truce has become one of the most famous and mythologised events of the First World War. World War 1 had been going on for many months but the soldiers on both sides stepped out of their trenches. Even so, accounts of a Christmas Truce refer to a suspension of hostilities only between the British and the Germans. Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on December 06, 2012: Hi David, another masterpiece! Ralph told Fritz “Your mother saved my life”. Thank you for letting me know this. But it wasn't until the television program Unsolved Mysteries broadcast the story in 1995, that it was discovered that a man living in a Frederick, Maryland nursing home had been telling the same story for years. The football match during the 1914 Christmas truce has become one of the most iconic moments of the First World War. Most people have heard the story of the front-line, Christmas-time, truce in France during World War One, partially due to its retelling in the 2005 movie, Joyeux Noël, but not … I am thankful I never served in a war but want to always remember the great cost of our freedom. It is estimated that about … that has been considerably appreciated. The Famous Christmas Truce of 1914 _____ In the midst of heated battle during World War I, there was a brief moment of true “Peace on earth and good will toward men”. Soon they were all out of sight; the truce was over. There was more singing, and in at least one spot presents were exchanged. They're even better when they're based on fact. Mike Dash is a contributing writer in history for Smithsonian.com. The Christmas Truce is the name given to a series of unofficial ceasefires which happened during World War 1 on the Western Front in 1914 around Christmas time. Hermann's namesake was Hermann Goering, the Nazi leader, who Elisabeth didn't care much for. I replied that this was … I was searching for this story for a long time but couldn't until a fellow blogger like me replied a comment I made in a blog post mentioning this story. This Christmas … Perhaps it was inevitable that some men on both sides would produce a ball and—freed briefly from the confines of the trenches—take pleasure in kicking it about. Hello, wtaylorjr2001. Suzie from Carson City on December 05, 2012: Harald This is an amazing and heartwarming story! They invited us back to their ship. She sent Fritz to get six potatoes and Hermann the rooster-- his stay of execution, delayed by her husband's absence, rescinded. Keep up-to-date on: © 2021 Smithsonian Magazine. Thank you faith, brus and isadore for your kind comments. Is that the roasted recipe. He was in his late 80's. Richards, a young officer serving with the East Lancashire Regiment, had been greatly disturbed by reports of fraternization between the men of his regiment and the enemy and had actually welcomed the “return of good old sniping” late on Christmas Day—”just to make sure that the war was still on.” That evening, however, Richards “received a signal from Battalion Headquarters telling him to make a football pitch in no man’s land, by filling up shell holes etc., and to challenge the enemy to a football match on 1st January.” Richards recalled that “I was furious and took no action at all,” but over time his view did mellow. Thanks for reading and commenting. A sergeant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders recorded that a game was played in his sector “between the lines and the trenches,” and according to a letter home published by the Glasgow News on January 2, the Scots “won easily by 4-1.” Meanwhile Lieutenant Albert Wynn of the Royal Field Artillery wrote of a match against a German team of “Prussians and Hanovers” that was played near Ypres. When fighting resumes, they promise to reunite on the first … Yet, the Christmas Truce … The same basic understanding seems to have sprung up spontaneously at other spots. Two of the Germans were only sixteen; the corporal was 23. What followed, though, was something more than that, for if the story of the Christmas Truce has its jewel, it is the legend of the match played between the British and the Germans—which the Germans claimed to have won, 3-2. 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