Christmas Truce

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As we reach the end of 2014, we also reach the end of the ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of WWI.

Being from Normandy I’m more familiar with WWII, but my husband’s family is from Alsace Lorraine, and thus I’ve also heard stories about the bloodiness and misery of WWI.

Despite the violence of this war, something quite exceptional happened around Christmas in 1914. A significant number of men from all sides decided not only to stop fighting but also to celebrate Christmas together.

I hadn’t planned to write about the 1914 Christmas Truce, but I read a blog post that made me change my original piece. Mike’s words about this special cease fire fit with what I believe most of us hope for on Christmas: PEACE.

Growing up in France, I learned at a young age to be cynical and avoid sentimentality. French people, I suspect, use these traits of character to hide emotions and to avoid being too mushy.

Now, though, I want to be like the men in the trenches, who weren’t afraid to choose humanity over cruelty and peace over war.

If you haven’t seen it yet and despite the fact that critics have described it as a little too sentimental, the 2005 French film Joyeux Noël that tells of the 1914 Christmas Truce can be a good movie to watch on Christmas Eve, which also marks the end of Hanukah.

So regardless of religious faith, I propose a toast to Peace.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Yes Evelyne ~~ to peace! Holiday hugs. 🙂

  2. Peace, Evelyne, and happy holidays to you and to your family.

    Love,
    Elizabeth

  3. I had never heard that story. I know way more about WWII than WWI but that is an amazing story. I think it shows what men (people) might do if not concerned with larger issues. I wish we could arrange for enemies to sit and celebrate together today. Thanks for a great holiday post.

    • I’m glad to have told you about a fact of history that you didn’t know. Wouldn’t it be amazing to do what these men did, every day of our lives? Enjoy a peaceful holiday season with your family, Dan.

  4. I learned about the Christmas Truce from John McCutcheon’s song about it. It gets played on my local public radio station this time of year, and it moves me every time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJi41RWaTCs

  5. They did a tribute to this at the Boston Pops this year instead of the usual reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” It’s the first time I’ve ever known the Pops to deviate from their usual program. It was very touching. I’ve read about the truce, and there’s a long section about it on “Oh What A Lovely War,” my favorite WW I movie.

  6. There have been some excellent WWI exhibitions in Rome – hopefully we’ll see more. My husband is an historian who writes a lot about this period (and the Paris Peace Conference that carved up post-Empire Europe), so it’s an era I enjoy learning more about. I knew about the Christmas truce, but not this French film. Food for thought (no pun intended). Joyeux Noël!

    • I’m sure that Europe must have had some excellent exhibiitions all year long. With an hsitorian at home you must know quite a lot, indeed. The French movie would be a good one with your kids. Joyeux Noël, Kimberly!

  7. A beautiful post, Evelyne, and thanks so much for mentioning my post! Have a wonderful holiday!

  8. Hi Evelyne. I love the story of the Christmas truce – a wonderful expression of peace when they still didn’t know of some of the horrors to come.

    • I’m not surprised that you knew about the 1914 Christmas Truce, Andrea, considering the amount of positive human stories you share on your blog. I agree that for these men it was only the beginning of four horrific years and like the fact that they disobeyed their officers and went on their own with their wish for a slice of Christmas.
      Peace to you, Andrea.

  9. Beverly Broughton says:

    Peace, love, and happiness to you and yours, dear friend…
    Bev

  10. Peace. The best we could wish for … and yet so seemingly impossible to achieve in some parts of the world. Thank you for this post, Evelyne, and I agree with you that Joyeux Noêl is a fine film to watch for those unfamiliar with the touching events of that day. Sainsbury’s Christmas ad this year is also about that story~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWF2JBb1bvM

  11. Thank you for sharing this wonderful event. The world so desperately needs a Christmas Truce and peace.
    I came across a new picture book on this topic written in the form of a letter. It is called Christmas Truce by Aaron Shepard (author) and Wendy Edelson (illustrator). I’ve added it to my wish list.

    • Yes, peace is what matters most, at home and abroad. Peace to you and your loved ones for this holiday season and beyond.
      I need to stop by your blog and see what you’ve been up too, Claire. I’ve paused for a few days and catching up now. See you!

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