Poetry Challenge # 09/12/2012

What Was The Christmas Truce?
Although the popular memory of World War One is normally one of horrific casualties and ‘wasted’ life, the conflict does have tales of comradeship and peace. One of the most remarkable, and heavily mythologised, events concerns the ‘Christmas Truce’ of 1914, in which the soldiers of the Western Front laid down their arms on Christmas Day and met in No Man’s Land, exchanging food and cigarettes, as well as playing football. The cessation of violence was entirely unofficial and there had been no prior discussion: troops acted spontaneously from goodwill, not orders. Not only did this truce actually happen, but the event was more widespread than commonly portrayed.
How Did It Start?
There are many accounts of the Christmas truce, the most famous of which concern the meeting of British and German forces; however, French and Belgium troops also took part. The unofficial nature of the truce meant that there was no one single cause or origin; some narratives tell of British troops hearing their German counterparts singing Christmas carols and joining in, while Frank Richards, a private in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, told of how both sides erected signs wishing the other a ‘Merry Christmas’. From these small starts some men crossed the lines with their hands up, and troops from the opposing side went to meet them. By the time officers realised what was happening the initial meetings had been made, and most commanders either turned a blind eye or happily joined in.
How Long Did It Last?
The fraternisation lasted, in many areas, for the whole of Christmas day. Food and supplies were exchanged on a one to one basis, while in some areas men borrowed tools and equipment from the enemy, in order to quickly improve their own living conditions. Many games of football were played using whatever would suffice for a ball, while bodies that had become trapped within No Man’s Land were buried.Most modern retellings of the Truce finish with the soldiers returning to their trenches and then fighting again the next day, but in many areas the peace lasted much longer. Frank Richard’s account explained how both sides refrained from shooting at each other the next day, until the British troops were relieved and they left the front line. In other areas the goodwill lasted for several weeks, bringing a halt to opportunistic sniping, before the bloody conflict once again resumed.

The Frank Richards material comes from the December 2000 edition of BBC History Magazine.

Robert Wilde

Robert Wilde
European History Guide

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As you can see I have two mediums for my challenge. Firstly I used JONA LEWIE‘s  video of Can you stop the Cavalry   You can read about Jona Lewie here

Hey, Mr. Churchill comes over here
To say we’re doing splendidly
But it’s very cold out here in the snow
Marching to win from the enemy
Oh, I say it’s tough, I have had enough
Can you stop the Cavalry?

I have had to fight, almost every night
Down throughout these centuries
That is when I say, oh yes, yet again
Can you stop the Cavalry?

Mary Bradley waits at home
In the nuclear fall-out zone
Wish I could be dancing now
In the arms of the girl I love
Wish I was at home for Christmas
Bang, that’s another bomb on another town
While Luzar and Jim have tea
If I get home, live to tell the tale
I’ll run for all presidencies
If I get elected I’ll stop, I will stop the Cavalry

Wish I was at home for Christmas
Wish I could be dancing now
In the arms of the girl I love
Mary Bradley waits at home
She’s been waiting two years long.

The song tells of how hard life was for the poor soldiers while the politicians and generals lived a life untouched by the first world war.

Then I have reproduced Robert Wilde’s excellent  article on the truce held at Christmas 1914 the one and only truce in both world wars.

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My take ….. you all know my take on war. Thank you for reading my poetry challenge this year. It will be drawing to an end soon. I have learnt so much about about war all over the world. None of it good.

Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. zendictive
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 19:33:58

    Silent Night… is one of my favorite movies, where the germans and americans come upon a woman and her son’s home and her house rule is no guns in the house… if you haven’t seen it… it is a must see. (~_~) also, I just watched War Horse and found it to be awesome. especially when the germans and americans agree to put the war aside to help the horse.

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Dec 11, 2012 @ 19:42:22

      It is amazing the strange things that suddenly with no warning unite people taking away all bars and disagreements. The shame is , the dreadful shame is it does not last! OH! Art if only we could all get on! xxxx

      Reply

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