December 01, 2015

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #94: The Christmas Truce 1914 by W. Britain

The Christmas Truce 1914
Though there was no official truce, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front during Christmas of 1914.

German and British soldiers fraternizing on the battlefield
In the early months of static trench warfare during World War I, opposing infantry units in close proximity to each other often developed an attitude of “live and let live.” In some cases, overtly aggressive behavior ceased and troops participated in small-scale fraternization, engaging in conversation or bartering for cigarettes. Through the week leading up to Christmas 1914, this behavior became even more widespread. On Christmas Eve, German troops began decorating their trenches with candles and putting up Christmas trees, and when the German troops began singing Christmas carols, the British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings back and forth between the lines and in many sectors the two sides agreed to and an unofficial truce.

On Christmas Day, many soldiers from trenches on both sides independently ventured into “no man’s land,” where they mingled and exchanged small gifts such as food, tobacco and alcohol. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently killed soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties and in some cases joint services were held. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another. First-hand accounts of these “friendly games” are recorded by several units including the Rifle Brigade, the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, the Royal Field Artillery and The Lancashire Fusiliers.

The Christmas Truce - No Mans Land Soccer Match is recreated in 1/30th scale pewter miniatures with these two limited edition sets of 1/30th scale (56mm) pewter figures sculpted by Ken Osen. Order Here

WBN 23088 A Friendly Game! 1914 Christmas Truce Soccer Set #1
WBN 23086 Look At Him Go! 1914 Christmas Truce Set #2

Digitally enhanced image from December 1914
Digitally enhanced image from December 1914
Fanciful artist's impression from The Illustrated London News of 9 January 1915: "British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches"

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