The Day The War Stopped

It is Christmas eve among those that celebrate it. Christmas is a bizarre holiday for me. I’m a bit of a “bah humbug.” I like the family time, but I find gift giving a bit awkward. However, this is basically because I’m a bit socially awkward. But Christmas is a time for miracles as history reminds us.

Today though, let’s touch on a bit more history. When I was writing my blog post about UFOs in WWII, I remembered a bizarre happening from WWI.

On Christmas Day 1914 a Christmas miracle happened. The war had raged for less than 6 months and the fighting had been brutal. The trenches had been awful for all the soldiers. And even though winter had just started, soldiers were already dealing with frostbite.

But as I said, it was Christmas Day and sometimes amazing things happen. Multiple groups of entrenched soldiers decided to celebrate Christmas. And to that end, a temporary ceasefire was ordered by those in charge. From the damp, cold trenches poured soldiers. French, American, British, Australian, Canadian, and South African (in WWI British trenches contained soldiers from all the commonwealth countries), and Germans met on the blood stained battlefield to celebrate together.

For the day, the hostilities were ignored, the differences forgotten, and soldiers shared their rations to prepare a meal, that was enjoyed by all of them. They even exchanged gifts, mostly trinkets, but a few swapped medallions and decorations from their uniforms.

And for a day outside a small village on the Eastern border of France, the war stopped so that everyone could enjoy Christmas. They sang Christmas Carols, played games including the games that unites the world; soccer and poker, and ate a hot meal together, something most of the trench soldiers did not get to enjoy very often.

It always amazes me that Christmas managed to stop WWI for a day and brought enemies together to celebrate. Especially since WWI would be the deadliest war the European continent would ever see. As a matter of fact, the only time so many died in so short a time on the European continent other than WWI would be the Black Death of the 1300s.

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