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World War 1 1914 A Christmas Truce In The Trenches

Updated on August 21, 2013

War In The Trenches 1914

In 1914 the world was at war, a war that would drag out until 1918 because both sides had dug themselves into trenches making it almost impossible for either side to gain ground from the other.

Pestilence and disease were another aspect in the trenches of The Great War and almost as many men died as a result of those than died from a bullet or a shell.

Before both sides dug themselves into trenches, it was thought by many people around the world that the war would be over by Christmas of 1914 and all of the soldiers would return home to the safety their families.

As Christmas approached in 1914, The battles in the trenches raged on with no sign of and end to hostilities.

WW I Christmas Ceasefire

Soldiers meet in No Mans Land on Christmas Day 1914.
Soldiers meet in No Mans Land on Christmas Day 1914. | Source

Christmas 1914

1914 Christmas Truce

After four months fighting in the mud filled trenches soldiers from both sides were suffering in the winter cold, icy rain, wind and snow all took their toll on the soldiers along with the constant bombardment of heavy shells and the constant threat of death from a stray bullet.

Moral in the trenches was at an all time low, death was all around and the soldiers were losing hope.

Christmas eve was just another day in the trenches, snipers picking off easy targets, shells fired toward enemy lines and more young men lost their lives.

At 10pm The guns suddenly fell silent, this was not unusual as there were often breaks in the shell fire but this time something was different, this time the magic of Christmas was about to take over.

Shortly after the guns fell silent, British soldiers heard singing coming from the German trenches.

"Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht!

Alles schläft; einsam wacht

Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.

Holder Knab' im lockigen Haar,

Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!."

It was Christmas eve and the German soldiers were singing Christmas Carols.

After a Few minutes the Brittish soldiers too began singing the same song in English and for the first time in four months there was hope in the air.

Christmas Truce Memorial

Peter Knight and Stefan Langheinrich, descendants of Great War veterans, shake hands at the 2008 unveiling of a memorial to the 1914 Christmas Truce.
Peter Knight and Stefan Langheinrich, descendants of Great War veterans, shake hands at the 2008 unveiling of a memorial to the 1914 Christmas Truce. | Source

Christmas Day In The Trenches Of WW I

As dawn broke in the trenches on Christmas day, Soldiers from both sides lay down their arms stepped out of the trenches into No Mans Land and met at around the half way point between enemy lines.

An unnoficial ceasefire had begun, Soldiers from opposing armies shook hands with each another and exchanged gifts of cigarettes and chocolates.

A ball found by one of the soldiers became a soccer ball and both sets of soldiers enjoyed a game of soccer.

Some soldiers played cards with each other, others shared pictures of their families back at home, some just sat around talking like old friends.

The Christmas miracle brought together men whom the day before had been intent on killing each another in the name of their countries.

Peace came to the trenches even if it was only for one day.

As the darkness of night approached the men made their way back to their respective trenches with a hand shake and a wish of a Merry Christmas to the new friends that they had made.

The Christmas truce was soon a distant memory for the soldiers as the heavy shelling and constant gunfire was soon back as the normal way of life.

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    • profile image

      Ross 4 years ago

      Typically the English lost to the Germans in penalties

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      imnottellingumyname 5 years ago

      thnx

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      Anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks- very useful!

      Merry Christmas?

    • profile image

      jake 5 years ago

      this helped me with my extra homework

      thank u so much jimmy.

      it was a mirical cuz my teacher said "a mirical that u wont see every day in the war" and many Ppl said they was going to do the football match they did. and the song was great for the translation. my teacher said that i might go up to another table for my extra work if i keep up the good work :)

    • profile image

      John Doe 5 years ago

      Wow amazing story peace for a little bit. I have to make a ww1 journal and I will now include Christmas.

    • profile image

      Alex Gwyther 5 years ago

      I'm currently writing a play about the Christmas Truce.

      Here is a spoken word piece and a video I made on youtube about it!

      Hope you like it. Inspiring story. It should be taught in schools.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgRLPmMl1mA

    • profile image

      Alex 5 years ago

      Nice

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      sam 5 years ago

      u r coolio thanks. best web so far if wasnt 4 u i will get a detention 4 not doing my homework

    • profile image

      Eddy 5 years ago

      nice...I want to post on Facebook ..r u ok with it?

    • profile image

      sam 5 years ago

      great page

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      scott 6 years ago

      Although this is true,there was more to the tale than this.The germans were first to leave the trenches.one was shot as he did so by the british.but the germans persisted.they did eet in no mans land,but a few generals got to know about it and werent best pleased.thier fears were founded to be right,cause even though the fighting went on the next day,soldiers on both sides were actually aiming high,and shelling out of range.see they had put a face to the enemey,and no longer thought of each other as faceless monsters.they were moved to another front.and an order was goven this sort of thing is punishable by death.

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      dotty 6 years ago

      that is such a sweet storie and really interesting this will help alot with my english project

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      benny 6 years ago

      I read about this many years ago. The way the story was told, the next day the soldiers on both sides refused to fire on each other . New troops had to be brought in to resume fighting.

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      Faro 7 years ago

      i enjoy history and this reali helped me a lot i hve a test and this was the best site hopefully i'll pass it,wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      Tony Yuan 7 years ago

      WOW!! TYhe info here is soo reliable!! I don't have a history assignment... yet>.>, but we are studying WWI in history at the moment. After reading this, I think I may get a better mark this time. (crosses fingers). THANX!!

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      Gaven 7 years ago

      i have a prject to it sux :0

    • profile image

      bella 7 years ago

      thanks, this helped alot for my history project too :D

    • profile image

      KGKG 7 years ago

      It is not clearly explained man. I need this !!!!!!!

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      Me 7 years ago

      I'm very pleased with the stories on this ssite, otherwhise I wasn't been able to make my report about the World War one. Thank you very much!

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      He 8 years ago

      Thankyou verymuch jimmy this will help me a lot on my exit project, maybe without this site iwouldnt be able to pass my s.s. class.

      -keep up the good work

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      Drew 8 years ago

      Yes i heard something like that a while ago

      Its kind of shows that everyone has their limits of hatred and that there might even be a santa clause yet

    • profile image

      gothgirl 8 years ago

      this will help a lot with my report

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      matt 8 years ago

      Thanks. This and your other page about a day in the trenches have really helped me with my history project! Thank you again so much!

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      dobby 8 years ago

      its good my english

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      devss 8 years ago

      wowwww....thanks...this is good for my history project....

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      adam 8 years ago

      man i would have never thought that would have happened i Guss its a true Christmas marical

    • jimmythejock profile image
      Author

      James Paterson 9 years ago from Scotland

      I am certainly not gay just ask my wife and kids, but anyway if I was gay what difference would it make?, please grow up and get a life.....jimmy

    • profile image

      jimmy is gay 9 years ago

      ^^^^^^^

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      One of the best stories from WWI.

    • greathub profile image

      greathub 9 years ago from Earth

      Good work but reallly short. You didnt mention they also buried their dead. Would you also write "moral of the lesson"?

    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Great Hub as usual, Jimmy. I saw the movie "Joyeux Noel" on DVD and it was quite a movie. Actually, according to a couple of accounts that I have read the truce was rather widespread along the front and lasted for a few days. According to one account, Chanceries all over Europe were working overtime that Christmas trying to figure out how to get the war going again. Chuck

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      wajay_47 10 years ago

      I love old war stories, Jimmy. This is a great one.

    • jimmythejock profile image
      Author

      James Paterson 10 years ago from Scotland

      thanks alison,i know i bore you with it sometimes lol....jimmy

      p.s love you

    • scotslass profile image

      scotslass 10 years ago

      always knew you liked the war jimmy and listening and reading your knowledge about it is amazing