The Christmas Truce of 1914

Posted on December 15, 2022 By

World War I was starting, and the war that was expected to be over by Christmas lasted for years. But on Christmas Eve and through Christmas Day, up and down the 500-mile front, about 100,000 soldiers out of a million had spontaneous truces. Christmas carols on one side were joined in by the other side, and there were even soccer games.

The culture of life and the culture of peace (which of course are the same thing) benefit from knowing this: people are quite capable of outbreaks of peace even under the most dire pressures from those in authority.

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From Tony Magliano, one of our blog post writers: A Christmas Miracle – When Enemies Became Brothers • AUSCP

The Importance of the December 1914 Christmas Truce – World BEYOND War

This article lists several other instances where informal truces among enemy soldiers happened, showing that while the 1914 Truce is the largest and most well-known example, it’s quite believable it happened because it’s happened other times as well:  BBC NEWS | World War I | The Christmas truce

Poetry Set to Music

John McCutcheon: Christmas in the Trenches (1984)

John tells the story of writing this song in this video before singing it. There’s a touching story about men who were part of the event letting him know how much that song meant to them.

Christmas in the Trenches

 

Celtic Thunder: Christmas 1915

They have the wrong year for this, but the art of this still has the spirit of it.

Christmas Truce of 1914

Dramas Imagine

 Movie: Joyeux Noel

 From Andrew Hocking, one of our blog post writers, a reflection on the movie’s significance: A Christmas Truce, Civil Religion, and Refugees.

Joyeaux Noel

 

 Audio Drama: Christmas Eve 1914

Christmas Eve 1914

 

 Faith Communities Call for Christmas Truce for Ukraine

World War I’s Christmas Truce continues to inspire peacemaking efforts today. In the spirit of that earlier truce, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and other groups have organized a petition calling on policymakers to seek “a ceasefire and negotiated settlement” in the Ukraine-Russia war, “before the conflict results in a nuclear war that could devastate the world’s ecosystems and annihilate all of God’s creation.”

The petition signatories are leaders from various religious traditions and include Nicholas Sooy of Consistent Life member group the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. Members of faith communities are encouraged to ask their pastors or leaders to sign on to the petition.

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This is a list of holiday editions of our weekly e-newsletter, Peace & Life Connections.

In 2021, there was a somber topic, but one appropriate to the season: the Massacre of the Innocents, and its role in quotations and art that oppose massive violence of all kinds.

In 2020, given what was most on people’s minds at the time, we covered Pandemics Related to Christmas.

In 2019, we showed Christmas as a Nonviolent Alternative to Imperialism.

In 2018, we detailed Strong Women against Violence – Connected to the Holidays.

In 2017, we covered Interfaith Peace in the Womb.

In 2016, we discussed how “The Magi were Zoroastrians” and detailed how good the Zoroastrians were on consistent-life issues. The ancient roots of the consistent life ethic run deep!

In 2015, we had a list of good holiday movies with consistent-life themes – check it out for what you might want to see this season. We also had information on Muslim nonviolent perspectives.

In 2014, we offered a quotation from a lesser-known Christmas novella of Charles Dickens and cited the treatment of abortion in the Zoroastrian scriptures.

In 2013, we shared several quotations reflecting on Christmas.

In 2012, we had a couple of quotes showing the pro-life aspects of two prominent Christmas tales: A Christmas Carol with Ebenezer Scrooge, and the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. We also quote from John Dear about Jesus as peacemaker and Rand Paul about the 1914 spontaneous Christmas Truce; he then related it to the culture of life.

In 2011, we covered the materialism-reducing “Advent Conspiracy” and offered two pieces of children’s art: a 1939 anti-war cartoon called “Peace on Earth,” and the anti-war origins of “Horton Hears a Who,” whose tagline – “a person’s a person, no matter how small” – is irresistible to pro-lifers.

In 2010, we showed “It’s a Wonderful Movement” by using the theme of what would happen if the peace movement and the pro-life movement hadn’t arisen. We also had quotes from Scrooge (against respect for life) and a Martin Luther King Christmas sermon.

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