December 24, 2013
The Art of the Christmas Truce

Ninety-nine years ago today, something strange happened on the Western Front: It fell silent. World War I had only just erupted that summer, but the fighting had already proven fierce, claiming nearly a million lives. On December 24, 1914, however, an estimated 100,000 soldiers, mainly British and German troops, laid down their guns, left the trenches, and mingled in the frigid cold of No Man’s Land to mark Christmas—an uplifting if surreal moment in an otherwise soul-crushing war.

"All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machinegun fire and distant German voices," Alfred Anderson, a British veteran and the last survivor of the Christmas Truce, recalled in 2004. “But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted ‘Merry Christmas’, even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.”
Elsewhere on the Western Front, the celebrations were more exuberant and long-lasting, involving everything from impromptu soccer games to spirited renditions of “Silent Night” to free haircuts by a British machine gunner.
Read more. [Image: Imperial War Museums]

The Art of the Christmas Truce

Ninety-nine years ago today, something strange happened on the Western Front: It fell silent. World War I had only just erupted that summer, but the fighting had already proven fierce, claiming nearly a million lives. On December 24, 1914, however, an estimated 100,000 soldiers, mainly British and German troops, laid down their guns, left the trenches, and mingled in the frigid cold of No Man’s Land to mark Christmas—an uplifting if surreal moment in an otherwise soul-crushing war.

"All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machinegun fire and distant German voices," Alfred Anderson, a British veteran and the last survivor of the Christmas Truce, recalled in 2004. “But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted ‘Merry Christmas’, even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.”

Elsewhere on the Western Front, the celebrations were more exuberant and long-lasting, involving everything from impromptu soccer games to spirited renditions of “Silent Night” to free haircuts by a British machine gunner.

Read more. [Image: Imperial War Museums]

  1. geesdogeethings reblogged this from theatlantic
  2. creativitycreep reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. proper-prince-of-bedford reblogged this from theatlantic
  4. thelittleballofhate reblogged this from theatlantic
  5. bal-o-dhia-ort reblogged this from theatlantic
  6. tengokujin reblogged this from katouhayato
  7. rainbowcorgi reblogged this from katouhayato
  8. katouhayato reblogged this from spiffyspiffs
  9. merlenmenrow reblogged this from theatlantic
  10. avantgardepostjazzcore reblogged this from theatlantic
  11. cuddling--i-like-that-shit reblogged this from ultricies
  12. ultricies reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. abaruk reblogged this from theatlantic
  14. richestwarlord reblogged this from simbartez
  15. tarek14dz reblogged this from paulmcfruity
  16. knarfor reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Humanity
  17. you-are-beatiful-dammit reblogged this from flamethroweyes
  18. agelaius reblogged this from theatlantic
  19. flamethroweyes reblogged this from toxicairforpoisonedlungs
  20. jamesdosterr reblogged this from theatlantic
  21. toxicairforpoisonedlungs reblogged this from atrockb0ttom
  22. atrockb0ttom reblogged this from theatlantic
  23. rubencampos reblogged this from theatlantic
  24. g-no-mon reblogged this from theatlantic