Christmas Truce of 1914

Christmas Truce of 1914

Ideologies are often used to make people kill each other and do all kinds of horrific deeds. No matter are they based on politics or religion, they are can be used to influence people’s minds and plant them the will to go and kill some other people they don’t even know. The same thing happened in 1914 when the world was eagerly waiting for new wars. While there were anti-war protests (mostly by communists and socialists), capitalists needed the war. This is the short memory of the people who shared the faith and a will to live and decided not to fight, at least for Christmas. Let they be remembered.

How it all started?

I guess most of us know that prior the WWI, there were unresolved political and economic issues among the major political powers in Europe. The world only waited for the spark that will start the fire. And is there a better place to start the fire than in Bosnia and Herzegovina!? Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were killed in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. They were shot by Gavrilo Princip (member of organization Young Bosnia and related to Serbian organization Black Hand) who shared a belief that Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia should finish and that Yugoslavia should be unified.

After that Austro-Hungary declared a war on Serbia. Other superpowers of that time (Germany, Russia, France, United Kingdom, Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Italy, United States) joined the party soon and so it started, the most horrifying war the World had seen so far.

How did it end?

The repercussion of the WWI was really great. There were enormous territorial changes, the most important were changes in sizes of colonial empires. Some countries completely ceased to exist like Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, with new ones emerging. The October Revolution in 1917 led to the establishment of the USSR and spread communism along the world.

And maybe the most important was that there were 18 million dead and 23 million wounded, both military and civilian casualties.

All of that was the seed that led to the next major conflict, WWII.

But what happened in 1914?

Most of WWI was a trench warfare with a little or no progress at all. You can easily imagine cold, muddy and moist trenches filled with soldiers that spent last Christmas with their families. Instead of joy and food this time they had bullets, grenades and bombs as their company. Add to that, unreasonable and ill-prepared charges towards enemy lines and deaths in no man’s land and Christmas could look like Hell.

On Christmas Eve 1914 (December 24, Roman calendar), along the Western Front, a series of unofficial ceasefires took place. It all started around the Ypres, Belgium. Germans decorated their trenches with Christmas trees and candles, sang Christmas carols and soon the other side also joined them singing their own songs. Soon, both sides decided they would stop fighting at least for one day. They met in no man’s land, cleared it from dead bodies, exchanged gifts, played football, shared their food and cigarettes. It all lasted for a few hours to a few days until ideology stopped it and the war could continue as planned.

Isle of Man – 2014/02/19

Denomination: 1.41 Pound

Christmas truce

Isle of Man / Germany – 2014/02/19

Denomination: 1.41 Pound, 70 and 75 Euro cents

This occasion was also used to repair their trenches and even opposed sides helped each other in doing so. All of them were aware that they’ll continue living in these trenches and that this is the opportunity to make their lives at least somewhat better.

United Kingdom – 2014/11/11

Denomination: 1st

Still, this event serves as a candle in the night. We can still hope that people would rather choose to love each other and share their joy than to shoot at each other.

I encourage you to watch Joyeux Noël, 2005 epic war drama filmed in the coproduction of Belgium, France, Germany, Romania and the United Kingdom, depicting events from 1914.

Christmas truce

São Tomé and Príncipe – 2016/09/12

Denomination: 31000 Db (Dobra, STD)

São Tomé and Príncipe – 2016/09/12

Denomination: 96000 Db (Dobra, STD)

 

Stamp Ninja wishes you all Merry Christmas. Always remember to be nice towards others (no matter are you a believer or not) because it’s the only thing that really counts. Don’t let ideologies and politics ruin that.

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1 Comment

  1. Mel Green · January 4, 2018 Reply

    I had not seen these stamps before, really interesting story. Thank you 🙂

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