Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

The war was not over by Christmas, going back to August 1914, when Britain, France, and Germany went to war. By December, with no end to the war in sight, there was a ceasefire along parts of the Western Front. Singing broke out in the trenches on Christmas Eve and soliders from both sides took a risk by walking into no man’s land. Troops sang “Silent Night” as snow began to fall and a truce was never officially declared. Spontaneous truces took place, but not everyone participated. The informal nature of the truce has led to its mythical status and it has become a feature of popular memory. Pre-modern warfare included regular truces and the Christmas Truce of 1914 was appealing due to its innocence given the horrors of the war. One of the enduring legacies of World War I was the shift from an ad-hoc approach to a permanent, professionalized responsibility of states. International organizations have promoted truces as a result. The Vietnam War saw a Christmas truce as well, even though it was met with skepticism. The Christmas cease-fires became more top-down and were ordered by leaders in response to international pressure.

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