Christmas truce

Christmas truce

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Encyclopedia
Christmas truce was a series of widespread unofficial ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

s that took place along the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 around Christmas of 1914, during the First World War. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 and British
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

 and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 units – independently ventured into "No man's land
No man's land
No man's land is a term for land that is unoccupied or is under dispute between parties that leave it unoccupied due to fear or uncertainty. The term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dumping ground for refuse between fiefdoms...

", where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides had also been so friendly as to play games of football with one another.

The truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of modern history. It was not ubiquitous, however; in some regions of the front, fighting continued throughout the day, whilst in others, little more than an arrangement to recover bodies was made. The following year, a few units again arranged ceasefires with their opponents over Christmas, but to nothing like the widespread extent seen in 1914; this was, in part, due to strongly worded orders from the high commands of both sides prohibiting such fraternisation.

The truces were not unique to the Christmas period, and reflected a growing mood of "live and let live
Live and let live (World War I)
Live and let live is the spontaneous rise of non-aggressive co-operative behaviour that developed during the First World War particularly during prolonged periods of Trench Warfare on the Western Front. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this is the Christmas Truce of 1914.It is a process...

", where infantry units in close proximity to each other would stop overtly aggressive behaviour, and often engage in small-scale fraternisation, engaging in conversation or bartering for cigarettes. In some sectors, there would be occasional ceasefires to go between the lines and recover wounded or dead soldiers, whilst in others, there would be a tacit agreement not to shoot while men rested, exercised, or worked in full view of the enemy. However, the Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation – even in very peaceful sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable.

Background


The first months of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 had seen an initial German attack through Belgium into France, which had been repulsed outside Paris by French and British troops at the Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Marne was a First World War battle fought between 5 and 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. The battle effectively ended the month long German offensive that opened the war and had...

 in early September 1914. The Germans fell back to the Aisne valley
Aisne River
The Aisne is a river in northeastern France, left tributary of the river Oise. It gave its name to the French département Aisne. It was known in the Roman period as the Axona....

, where they prepared defensive positions. In the subsequent Battle of the Aisne
First Battle of the Aisne
The First Battle of the Aisne was the Allied follow-up offensive against the right wing of the German First Army & Second Army as they retreated after the First Battle of the Marne earlier in September 1914...

, the Allied forces were unable to push through the German line, and the fighting quickly degenerated into a static stalemate; neither side was willing to give ground, and both started to develop fortified systems of trenches
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

. To the north, on the right of the German army, there had been no defined front line, and both sides quickly began to try to use this gap to outflank one another; in the ensuing "Race to the Sea
Race to the Sea
The Race to the Sea is a name given to the period early in the First World War when the two sides were still engaged in mobile warfare on the Western Front. With the German advance stalled at the First Battle of the Marne, the opponents continually attempted to outflank each other through...

", the two sides repeatedly clashed, each trying to push forward and threaten the end of the other's line. After several months of fighting, during which the British forces were withdrawn from the Aisne and sent north into Flanders, the northern flank had developed into a similar stalemate. By November, there was a continuous front line
Front line
A front line is the farthest-most forward position of an armed force's personnel and equipment - generally in respect of maritime or land forces. Forward Line of Own Troops , or Forward Edge of Battle Area are technical terms used by all branches of the armed services...

 running from the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 to the Swiss frontier
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, occupied on both sides by armies in prepared defensive positions.

The approach to Christmas



In the lead up to Christmas 1914, there were several peace initiatives. The Open Christmas Letter
Open Christmas Letter
The Open Christmas Letter was a public message for peace addressed "To the Women of Germany and Austria", signed by a group of 101 British women suffragists at the end of 1914 as the first Christmas of World War I approached...

was a public message for peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

 addressed "To the Women of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

", signed by a group of 101 British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 women suffragists at the end of 1914 as the first Christmas of World War I approached. Pope Benedict XV
Pope Benedict XV
Pope Benedict XV , born Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa, reigned as Pope from 3 September 1914 to 22 January 1922...

, on 7 December 1914, had begged for an official truce between the warring governments. He asked "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang." This attempt was officially rebuffed.

Christmas 1914



Though there was no official truce, about 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front. The first truce started on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

, 24 December 1914, when German troops
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 began decorating the area around their trenches
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 in the region of Ypres
Ypres
Ypres is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

.

The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carol
Christmas carol
A Christmas carol is a carol whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas or the winter season in general and which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas.-History:...

s. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man's Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held. The fraternisation was not, however, without its risks; some soldiers were shot by opposing forces. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but it continued until New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

 in others.

Bruce Bairnsfather
Bruce Bairnsfather
Captain Bruce Bairnsfather was a prominent British humorist and cartoonist. His best-known cartoon character is Old Bill...

, who served throughout the war, wrote: "I wouldn't have missed that unique and weird Christmas Day for anything. ... I spotted a German officer, some sort of lieutenant I should think, and being a bit of a collector, I intimated to him that I had taken a fancy to some of his buttons. ... I brought out my wire clippers and, with a few deft snips, removed a couple of his buttons and put them in my pocket. I then gave him two of mine in exchange. ... The last I saw was one of my machine gunners, who was a bit of an amateur hairdresser in civil life, cutting the unnaturally long hair of a docile Boche, who was patiently kneeling on the ground whilst the automatic clippers crept up the back of his neck."

General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien
Horace Smith-Dorrien
General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien GCB, GCMG, DSO, ADC was a British soldier and commander of the British II Corps and Second Army of the BEF during World War I.-Early life and career:...

, commander of the British II Corps, was irate when he heard what was happening, and issued strict orders forbidding friendly communication with the opposing German troops.

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, then a young corporal of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry, was a notable opponent of the truce.

Later truces


In the following months, there were a few sporadic attempts at truces; a German unit attempted to leave their trenches under a flag of truce on Easter Sunday 1915, but were warned off by the British opposite them, and later in the year, in November, a Saxon unit briefly fraternised with a Liverpool battalion. Come December, there were explicit orders by the Allied commanders to forestall any repeat of the previous Christmas truce. Individual units were encouraged to mount raids and harass the enemy line, whilst communicating with the enemy was discouraged by artillery barrages along the front line throughout the day. The prohibition was not completely effective, however, and a small number of brief truces occurred.

An eyewitness account of one truce, by Llewelyn Wyn Griffith
Llewelyn Wyn Griffith
Llewelyn Wyn Griffith was a Welsh novelist, born in Llandrillo yn Rhos, Clwyd. A captain in the 15th Royal Welch Fusiliers during First World War, he is best known for his memoir, Up to Mametz, which he wrote in the early 1920s, although the work was not published until 1931.-Other works:*Spring...

, recorded that after a night of exchanging carols, dawn on Christmas Day saw a "rush of men from both sides ... [and] a feverish exchange of souvenirs" before the men were quickly called back by their officers, with offers to hold a ceasefire for the day and to play a football match. It came to nothing, however; the brigade commander threatened repercussions for the lack of discipline, and insisted on a resumption of firing in the afternoon. Another member of Griffith's battalion, Bertie Felstead
Bertie Felstead
Bertie Felstead was a British soldier, World War I veteran and centenarian who gained fame at the end of his life as to be the last surviving soldier to have taken part in the Christmas truce of 1915.Felstead, who was born in London in October 1894, was called to action earlier in 1915 and went...

, later recalled that one man had produced a football, resulting in "a free-for-all; there could have been 50 on each side", before they were ordered back.

In an adjacent sector, a short truce to bury the dead between the lines led to official repercussions; a company commander, Sir Iain Colquhoun of the Scots Guards
Scots Guards
The Scots Guards is a regiment of the Guards Division of the British Army, whose origins lie in the personal bodyguard of King Charles I of England and Scotland...

, was court-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

led for defying standing orders to the contrary. Whilst he was found guilty and officially reprimanded, this punishment was quickly annulled by General Haig
Douglas Haig
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig was a British soldier and senior commander during World War I.Douglas Haig may also refer to:* Club Atlético Douglas Haig, a football club from Argentina* Douglas Haig , American actor...

, and Colquhoun remained in his position; the official leniency may perhaps have been because he was related to Herbert Asquith, the Prime Minister.

In the later years of the war, in December 1916 and 1917, German overtures to the British for truces were recorded without any success. However, in some French sectors, singing and an exchange of thrown gifts was occasionally recorded, though these may simply have reflected a seasonal extension of the live-and-let-live approach common in the trenches.

Evidence of a Christmas 1916 truce, previously unknown to historians, has recently come to light. In a letter home, 23-year-old Private Ronald MacKinnon told of a remarkable event that occurred on December 25, 1916, when German and Canadian soldiers reached across the battle lines near Vimy Ridge to share Christmas greetings and trade presents. "Here we are again as the song says," the young soldier wrote. "I had quite a good Xmas considering I was in the front line. Xmas eve was pretty stiff, sentry-go up to the hips in mud of course. ... We had a truce on Xmas Day and our German friends were quite friendly. They came over to see us and we traded bully beef for cigars."

The passage ends with Pte. MacKinnon noting that, "Xmas was 'tray bon', which means very good." MacKinnon was killed shortly afterwards during the Battle of Vimy Ridge
Battle of Vimy Ridge
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps, of four divisions, against three divisions of the German Sixth Army...

.

In the following years of the war, artillery bombardments were ordered on Christmas Eve to try to ensure that there were no further lulls in the combat. Troops were also rotated through various sectors of the front to prevent them from becoming overly familiar with the enemy. However, situations of deliberate dampening of hostilities also occurred. For example, artillery was fired at precise points, at precise times, to avoid enemy casualties by both sides.

French-German truce


Richard Schirrmann
Richard Schirrmann
Richard Schirrmann was a German teacher and founder of the first youth hostel.Born in Grunenfeld , Province of Prussia, as the son of a teacher, Schirrmann studied to become a teacher himself. In 1895 he received his qualification, and was sent to Altena, Westphalia, in 1903...

, who was in a German regiment holding a position on the Bernhardstein, one of the mountains of the Vosges
Vosges mountains
For the department of France of the same name, see Vosges.The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. They extend along the west side of the Rhine valley in a northnortheast direction, mainly from Belfort to Saverne...

, wrote an account of events in December 1915: "When the Christmas bells sounded in the villages of the Vosges behind the lines ..... something fantastically unmilitary occurred. German and French troops spontaneously made peace and ceased hostilities; they visited each other through disused trench tunnels, and exchanged wine, cognac and cigarettes for Westphalia
Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

n black bread, biscuits and ham. This suited them so well that they remained good friends even after Christmas was over." He was separated from the French troops by a narrow No Man's Land and described the landscape as: "Strewn with shattered trees, the ground ploughed up by shellfire, a wilderness of earth, tree-roots and tattered uniforms." Military discipline was soon restored, but Schirrmann pondered over the incident, and whether "thoughtful young people of all countries could be provided with suitable meeting places where they could get to know each other." He went on to found the German Youth Hostel Association
Hostelling International
Hostelling International, formerly known as International Youth Hostel Federation , is the federation of more than 90 national youth hostel associations in more than 80 countries who have over 4,500 affiliated hostels around the world....

 in 1919.

Public awareness


The events of the truce were not reported for a week, in an unofficial press embargo which was eventually broken by the New York Times on 31 December. The British papers quickly followed, printing numerous first-hand accounts from soldiers in the field, taken from letters home to their families, and editorials on "one of the greatest surprises of a surprising war". By 8 January pictures had made their way to the press, and both the Mirror and Sketch
Daily Sketch
The Daily Sketch was a British national tabloid newspaper, founded in Manchester in 1909 by Sir Edward Hulton.It was bought in 1920 by Lord Rothermere's Daily Mirror Newspapers but in 1925 Rothermere offloaded it to William and Gomer Berry The Daily Sketch was a British national tabloid newspaper,...

 printed front-page photographs of British and German troops mingling and singing between the lines. The tone of the reporting was strongly positive, with the Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

 endorsing the "lack of malice" felt by both sides and the Mirror regretting that the "absurdity and the tragedy" would begin again.

Coverage in Germany was more muted, with some newspapers strongly criticising those who had taken part, and no pictures published. In France, meanwhile, the greater level of press censorship ensured that the only word that spread of the truce came from soldiers at the front or first-hand accounts told by wounded men in hospitals. The press was eventually forced to respond to the growing rumours by reprinting a government notice that fraternising with the enemy constituted treason, and in early January an official statement on the truce was published, claiming it had happened on restricted sectors of the British front, and amounted to little more than an exchange of songs which quickly degenerated into shooting.

In Petermann makes peace or the parable of German sacrifice, a 1933 play by national socialist
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 writer and World War I veteran, Heinz Steguweit, a German soldier, accompanied by Christmas carols sung by his comrades, erects an illuminated Christmas tree between the trenches, but is shot dead by the enemy. Later, when the fellow soldiers find his body, they notice in horror that enemy snipers shot down every single Christmas light from the tree.

Legacy


The Christmas truce features in many writings, and in popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

.

Books


Several full-length books have been written by both British and German authors.
  • Stanley Weintraub's 2002 book Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.
  • children's novel The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy
    Kate Seredy
    Kate Seredy was a Hungarian-born writer and illustrator of children's books, written in the English language.-Life:...

     features a recollection of the truce
  • Oh Holy Night: The Peace of 1914 by Michael C. Snow (2009) ISBN 978-1-61623-080-7
  • Michael Foreman's 1993 children's book War Game

Film

  • The 1969 British film "Oh! What a Lovely War", a musical telling of the Great War using popular songs and quotes from the period, depicts the truce between German and Scottish soldiers on one section of the front. The cordial exchange ends when British artillery fire commences.
  • The truce is dramatised in the 2005 French film Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas), depicted through the eyes of French
    French Third Republic
    The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

    , Scottish
    Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

     and German
    German Empire
    The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

     soldiers. The film, written and directed
    Film director
    A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

     by Christian Carion
    Christian Carion
    Christian Carion is a French film director, dialogue writer and screenwriter.-As director and writer:*2009 : L'affaire Farewell*2005 : Joyeux Noël, starring Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann and Guillaume Canet...

    , was screened out of competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival
    2005 Cannes Film Festival
    The 2005 Cannes Film Festival started on May 11 and ran until May 22. Twenty movies from 13 countries were selected to compete. The awards were announced on May 21...

    .
  • The short film adaptation of Michael Foreman's children's novel War Game
    War Game (film)
    War Game is a 2001 animated short film made by the British animation company Illuminated Films, and based on the Michael Foreman novel of the same name...


Music

  • Acoustic rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, Bread and Roses's song "Boxing Day 1914" tells a first-person historical fictional story of a WWI veteran remembering the truce.
  • British folk singer Mike Harding
    Mike Harding
    Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

     related the story in his song "Christmas 1914",
  • American folk singer John McCutcheon
    John McCutcheon
    John McCutcheon is an American folk music singer and multi-instrumentalist who has produced 34 albums since the 1970s. He is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and is also proficient on many other instruments including guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and...

     in his "Christmas in the Trenches",
  • American country music singer Garth Brooks
    Garth Brooks
    Troyal Garth Brooks , best known as Garth Brooks, is an American country music artist who helped make country music a worldwide phenomenon. His eponymous first album was released in 1989 and peaked at number 2 in the US country album chart while climbing to number 13 on the Billboard 200 album chart...

     in the song "Belleau Wood".
  • American country music singer Collin Raye
    Collin Raye
    Floyd Collin Wray Floyd Collin Wray Floyd Collin Wray (born August 22, 1959 or 1960,Although multiple online sources all indicate Raye's date of birth as 1959, Raye's MySpace lists his date of birth as 1960. Furthermore, the 2004 Deseret News article cited in this article indicates the singer as...

     in his song "It Could Happen Again".
  • The truce provided the basis for "All Together Now", a 1990 song by The Farm
    The Farm (band)
    The Farm were a British band from Liverpool, popular through the early 1990s. Their album Spartacus reached the top position on the UK Albums Chart when it was released in March, 1991.-History:They formed in early 1983....

     which has become a football anthem.
  • The video for Paul McCartney
    Paul McCartney
    Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

    's 1983 song "Pipes of Peace
    Pipes of Peace (song)
    "Pipes of Peace" is a song written by Paul McCartney, which was first released on his album of the same name on 31 October 1983. It was also released as a single on 5 December 1983 and reached number one on many singles charts for two weeks....

    " depicted the truce.
  • The music group Celtic Thunder
    Celtic Thunder
    Celtic Thunder is a singing group composed of male soloists who perform both solo and ensemble numbers. Celtic Thunder debuted in August 2007 at The Helix in Dublin, Ireland...

     recounted the event in a song called "Christmas 1915".
  • The Royal Guardsmen
    The Royal Guardsmen
    The Royal Guardsmen are an American rock band, best known for their 1966 hit single "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron".-Snoopy vs. the Red Baron:...

     recorded Snoopy's Christmas
    Snoopy's Christmas
    "Snoopy's Christmas" is a song performed by The Royal Guardsmen in 1967. It continues to be played as a holiday favorite on most "oldie" radio stations, however is also often played on radio stations playing a Hit Music format as well as Adult Contemporary format stations...

    , a fictional account, with Snoopy
    Snoopy
    Snoopy is an fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly conventional dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip's most dynamic character—and among the most recognizable...

     and the Red Baron in 1967.

Television

  • In the Christmas episode "River of Stars" from the Fox series Space: Above and Beyond
    Space: Above and Beyond
    Space: Above and Beyond was a short-lived mid-90s American science fiction television show on the FOX Network, created and written by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Originally planned for five seasons, it ran only for the single 1995–1996 season. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards and one Saturn...

    , Joel Delafuente
    Joel de la Fuente
    Joel de la Fuente is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as 1st Lieutenant Paul Wang in Space: Above and Beyond, Peter Davies in 100 Centre Street, and recurring appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as TARU Tech Ruben Morales.-Early life:Born in New Hartford, New York, de...

    's character narrates the 1914 Christmas truce. He juxtaposes the event against the fact that over the next three years the war became, what was then, the costliest in human history.
  • In the final episode titled "Goodbyeeee" from the series Blackadder Goes Forth
    Blackadder Goes Forth
    Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

    , Tony Robinson
    Tony Robinson
    Tony Robinson is an English actor, comedian, author, broadcaster and political campaigner. He is best known for playing Baldrick in the BBC television series Blackadder, and for hosting Channel 4 programmes such as Time Team and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson is a member of the Labour Party...

    's character Baldrick asks the others if they remember the football match from the Christmas truce. Captain Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson
    Rowan Atkinson
    Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is a British actor, comedian, and screenwriter. He is most famous for his work on the satirical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News, and the sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Thin Blue Line...

    ) replies "Remember it - how could I forget it - I was never offside! I could not believe that decision!"
  • In episode 25 of Warehouse 13
    Warehouse 13
    Warehouse 13 is an American fantasy television series that premiered on July 7, 2009 on the Syfy network.Executive-produced by Jack Kenny and David Simkins, the dramatic comedy from Universal Media Studios has been described as borrowing much from 1980s television series Friday the 13th: The...

    , there was an artifact enchanted in the 1914 Christmas truce.

Monument


A Christmas truce memorial was unveiled in Frelinghien
Frelinghien
Frelinghien is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It is part of the Urban Community of Lille Métropole.-Heraldry:-References:*...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, on 11 November 2008. Also on that day, at the spot where, on Christmas Day 1914, their regimental ancestors came out from their trenches to play football, men from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers
Royal Welch Fusiliers
The Royal Welch Fusiliers was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales' Division. It was founded in 1689 to oppose James II and the imminent war with France...

 played a football match with the German Panzergrenadier
Panzergrenadier
is a German term for motorised or mechanized infantry, as introduced during World War II. It is used in the armies of Austria, Chile, Germany and Switzerland.-Forerunners:...

Battalion 371. The Germans won, 2–1.

Further reading

  • Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton; Christmas Truce: The Western Front, 1914 (1984), ISBN 978-0-330-39065-1
  • Michael Jürgs: Der kleine Frieden im Großen Krieg: Westfront 1914: als Deutsche, Franzosen und Briten gemeinsam Weihnachten feierten. Goldmann, München 2005, ISBN 3-442-15303-4

External links