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What if they called a war and peace broke out instead? That's exactly what happened during the Christmas season of 1914 when the soldiers themselves called a truce and, had it not been for intervention by the higher authorities on both sides, World War I might have ended.
Stanley Weintraub does an excellent job of preserving for posterity this remarkable wartime truce in his book Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, and much of what follows is derived from that valuable source. The truce came as no surprise, Weintraub explains, as there were early indications that some of the fighting men might lay down their arms for a Christmas truce, particularly between the British and German lines near Ploegstreert Wood in Belgium. Many of these troops held no animosities toward each other and questioned their reasons for being involved in the war. The opposing trenches were close enough...
As an after thought and reading another thread about the pope, I am reminded that it was Christians that wanted a truce during Christmas, not athesist. They mentioned one that refused the truce and that was Adolf Hitler a general at that time and an athesist.
I saw the movie also and it was one of the most remarkable and moving things I have ever seen. I almost mentioned this movie when one of the threads was the Christmas story based on the shepherds in the field tending their sheep. Everything was going fine and then the bickering started over the Catholic Church. This story csme to my mind and I thought why can't we put our differences aside and just worship Jesus and think of Him rather than self for once. But sadly I didn't because I would be attacked and so I just stopped reading the comments.
1517 wrote: I saw a movie that was loosely based on this event. After I watched it and found out it was based on actual events, I was astounded by it. This is a great story.
When my Dad was in the South Pacific in New Guinea in the United States Army during World War II on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday 2 searchlights used to be placed on opposing hills to form a Cross in the sky.
I have read this book, and it's excellent. I recommend it. The author does a good job of sifting through the scanty evidence and explaining the complexity of this informal truce that sprung up at different places along the front for different reasons. He does a good job of explaining who participated, too, since the Germany army was an amalgam of regular Prussian troops, Bavarian reservists, and a lot of others.