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Check Six: Christmas Truce

December 24, 2016
christmas-truce-1914

An artist’s impression from The Illustrated London News of 9 January 1915: “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches”

The Christmas truce (GermanWeihnachtsfriedenFrenchTrêve de Noël) refers to a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War I around Christmas 1914.

In the week leading up to the holiday, FrenchGerman and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most memorable images of the truce. Peaceful behavior was not ubiquitous; fighting continued in some sectors, while in others the sides settled on little more than arrangements to recover bodies.

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From → History

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