- Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Thursday, 20th December 2018
In this holiday season marking one century since the end of the First World War, we depart from our usual coverage of Edwardian-era antagonistics to highlight the events of the 1914 Christmas Truce.
Although the Truce has been subject to some mythologising since the 1970s, the facts of the matter are extraordinary in themselves. Defying strict orders against any type of fraternisation with the enemy, spontaneous cease-fires took place up and down the Western Front during late December of 1914. Sections of No Man’s Land were briefly transformed into common ground, as handshakes, seasonal greetings and small gifts were exchanged between English, French and German soldiers. Under mutual respite, carols were sung and the bodies of the fallen were buried. Evidence strongly suggests that at least one 30-a-side football game was played.
May the unique lesson of the Christmas Truce inspire all fighters to recall the values of dignity, charity, respect and fellowship.