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World War 1 1914 A Christmas Truce In The Trenches
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
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
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.