Saturday, December 11, 2010

Support for the troops

Ah, Jona Lewie is good any time of year.

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, 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium.

The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. 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 the 'No Man's Land', where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery 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 in others.

Have you considered Trees for Troops? Maybe you could write to your congressman and ask them to bring someone home for the holidays.

Bing Crosby - "I'll Be Home For Christmas"

1 comment:

Unknown said...

In one section of the western front, the Christmas Truce lasted until Easter. And despite the anger by commanding generals (who were safely at headquarters 25 miles from the front and away from long range artillery) no one was ever court martialled for this mass mutiny, I believe because the generals did not want a record of how they lost control of so many men. You can see pictures of the truce and read many firsthand accounts in my book TRUCE: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting. Peace. Jim Murphy