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The Christmas Truce of 1914

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

During the beginning phases of the First World War, the Entente and the Central Powers were fighting in the muddy trenches that were being exacerbated by the rainy downpour. As Christmas loomed, the soldiers were excited for the holiday and this eased the tensions between the two sides. On the night of Christmas Eve, the European countryside's sloppy mire terrain hardened from the cold and the rain stopped, giving way to a soft flutter of snowfall. The glorious Second Reich began singing "Stille Nacht" and having a good time in their trench before a couple of Germans went out into No Man's Land to invite the British to join them. At first it seemed like a trap, but in the spirit of Christmas, both sides (for the most part) agreed to have a ceasefire and celebrate together. The armies traded presents and drank beer with each other. The atmosphere was a sigh of relief for the men as they decorated Christmas trees and were refreshed by the snow. There were even Indian troops who had no idea what Christmas was, but it reminded them of their holiday, Diwali, and were invited to join in on the wintery festivities. That night the men slept peacefully and woke up to a beautiful Christmas morning. They went back into No Man's Land to see their temporary comrades and began engaging in fun holiday activities such as burying their dead and getting haircuts from a kraut barber, but what is most heartwarming was the games of soccer or football or whatever the fuck it's called. The sport brought the two sides closer together and some of the soldiers formed close relationships that would last after the war was over. Several games were played all throughout No Man's Land and they all had a friendly spirit to them. One of the games featured a group of Germans against the Scottish Highlanders where the Germans would laugh every time their opponent's kilts would fly up, exposing the Scotsman's small penises. Even with this uniform malfunction the Scots dominated the game 4-1. Robert Graves, a British officer and author wrote about a game where an English regiment played a German artillery unit. It was the most intense one, but the Germans prevailed for the almighty and extraordinary Kaiser Wilhelm II in a hard fought 3-2 outcome. It is amazing that the sport had such an impact on the young men that were fighting for their respective countries and how it brought people together during a time of militarism, alliances, nationalism, imperialism, and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. However the following year, there was no truce because, you know . . . chlorine gas. There is no way this chivalrous ceasefire would happen today given the different style of warfare that is being fought. Could you imagine if the United States Marine Corps stopped bombing ISIS and asked them if they wanted to play basketball. You can't because they are Islamic extremists.

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