Wednesday, December 24, 2014

THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE: 100th Anniversary

     There has been some coverage recently of the famous Christmas Truce during the first winter of WWI.  A British company even made a commercial based on it.
     Here is the historical background: On Christmas Eve on the Western Front spontaneous cease-fires broke out along parts of the front. They started in some cases with the Germans putting up Christmas trees and candles along their parapets and singing carols like "Silent Night". The British or French responded with their own songs and then the mood caused some brave souls to go into No Man's Land to fraternize. Gifts, food, and drinks were exchanged. In one case, a soccer (football) game was played between a Scottish unit and a German unit.  The commercial does a good job of portraying this.  It does not attempt to portray the story I tell my class about how the match was between a Scotish unit and a German unit.  The Scots won, partly because the wind would blow up their kilts and they were in the habit of not wearing underwear so it distracted the German footballers.  Believe that if you want.  I want to.
     There have been two movies that have focused on the event.  "Oh! What a Lovely War" has an extended scene about it.  Watch it here: 


      The movie "Joyeux Noel" is based on the incident.  It really enhances the tale, but in a very entertaining way.  Here is the "Silent Night" scene:

     Here is the entire movie.


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