Sainsbury’s (the British chocolate company) has teamed up with the British Royal Legion to spread the message of holiday goodwill towards men. This 3-minute video depicts the real life events of Christmas, 1914, in the trenches during the darkest days of World War I. For a few short hours, British and German soldiers on the front line declared an impromptu cease-fire, coming together to light candles, sing Christmas carols and even exchange gifts. Watch the video below, and have a tissue ready:
Letters from the front poured into German and British homes, telling stories of the “marvellous” events of that Christmas. There’s even evidence of British and German soldiers going head-to-head in holiday soccer games, and then exchanging military patches with their counterparts. To learn more, watch this video, where you can hear excerpts of the soldiers letters, and an interview with one of the directors of the contemporary British Royal Legion about the inspiring events of that day.
If you want to know more about what happened on during the Christmas Truce of 1914, there are several books and movies that go into much more detail. Order them for yourself or for the veteran in your life, and get caught up in the true spirit of Christmas.
Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting, by Jim Murphy
Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, by Stanley Weintraub
Christmas Truce: The Western Front December 1914 (Pan Grand Strategy Series), by Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton (unfortunately out of print, but you can still find used copies online)
Joyeux Noel, starring Diane Kruger and Benno Fürmann, directed by Christian Carion (In French, with subtitles)
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