The Christmas Truce 1914
Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.
At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.
The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. In 1915, the bloody conflict of World War I erupted in all its technological fury, and the concept of another Christmas Truce became unthinkable.
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1776 Washington crosses the Delaware
- 1880 Layne Hall is born; will become oldest licensed driver in United States
- 1862 Christmas for Union soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes
- 1991 Gorbachev resigns as president of the USSR
- 1996 Young JonBenet Ramsey is murdered
- 2000 Christmas party in China turns deadly
- 6 Christ is born?
- 1962 To Kill a Mockingbird debuts
- 1996 Jimmy Buffett departs on a cruise that inspires A Pirate Looks at Fifty
- 1941 Bing Crosby introduces “White Christmas” to the world
- 1869 John Wesley Hardin kills over a card game
- 1776 Washington leads troops on raid at Trenton, New Jersey
- 2002 Katie Hnida is first woman to play in Division I football game
- 1966 Harrison Salisbury reports on damage caused by U.S. bombing
- 1972 Linebacker II resumes after Christmas pause
World War I
- 1914 Enemies exchange Christmas greetings
World War II
- 1941 British surrender Hong Kong