Wednesday Video: When the Guns Fell Silent

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With the holidays just around the corner, a topic that will certainly arouse the interest of some military historians in particular is the Christmas truce on the Western Front during the Great War. Leading up to and on 25 December 1914, tensions between the two sides eased as German and British soldiers mingled, exchanged gifts and greetings, and even partook in games of football.

The following clip, taken from the 1969 film Oh! What a Lovely War, provides an interpretation of the truce:

Although these temporary, unofficial ceasefires did not occur across the entire Western Front, they symbolized not only the possibility for peace, but also the humanity present within members of both sides.

The second video examines the truce in greater detail, focusing on a British veteran who was part of the truce. Particularly revealing is that this veteran was surprised to discover that the so-called enemy was fighting for many of the same reasons as himself.

To explore excerpts from those who participated, please consult the article “The Truce of Christmas, 1914” from The New York Times.



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