Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Truce of 1914

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914, my second favorite Christmas story.

This song written and sung by John McCutcheon, Christmas in the Trenches, commemorates the event:

Consortium News presents two articles on the Christmas Truce and what it may tell us about war and peace today: Gary Kohls, The Christmas Truce’s Moment of Hope 12/24/2014; and, Greg Maybury, Anything Learned from ‘Christmas Truce’? 12/23/2014.

Kohls writes of the First World War and the Christmas Truce:

The chest-pounding of the deluded, arrogant, out-of-touch leadership on all sides resulted in a war fever that had unstoppable momentum. Their indoctrinated testosterone-laden rookie soldiers soon found themselves, as always, to be the elite's dutiful trigger-pullers as the slaughter on the Western Front commenced. Some nine million combatants died and many of those who survived bodily were rendered insane, criminally psychopathic or otherwise psychologically and/or spiritually disabled for the rest of their lives.

No one, including the glory- and power-seeking militarists at the top, had foreseen the coming holocaust or the intolerable stalemates from this new kind of warfare which relied on shovels, machine guns, artillery and poison gas. Heroic cavalry charges with swords drawn were suddenly obsolete. Everyone, especially the out-of-touch generals and the clergymen who were supposed to be in charge of the nation’s souls, had been blinded by the propaganda lie that war was something other than satanic.

As tantalizing as is the story of the Christmas Truce, it is also a reminder of what could have happened if there had been less obedience to authority and more organized opposition to senseless war in the families, schools and churches.

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