British, French and German Soldiers Peace For One Day

Historians agree that one of the deadliest conflicts in human history was World War I, which took place between July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918, and resulted in the deaths of over 16 million people.

It was the first "modern" war, using tanks with powerful cannons, planes, machine guns and poison gas.


Worst of all was the battle of the trenches, where troops would shoot at each other from deep trenches that had been dug for hundreds of miles. Life in a muddy and overcrowded ditch is bad.

To leave a ditch, it would risk being shot and killed. The distance between the two opposing trenches was known as "No Man's Land" and was strewn with soldiers' bodies.


On the eve of Christmas 1914, along the front lines of the war in Flanders, Belgium, a miracle occurred. On the one hand, the British and French soldiers were sheltering in their trenches.

On the other hand, the German army did the same thing. The war has been going on for five months. It was so cold that it could bite a finger.


Suddenly a British soldier watching the front of the German enemy saw a small fir tree adorned with glittering candles. He fixed the binoculars and looked more carefully in disbelief.

Then German troops came across the frozen No Man's Land, chanting "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht ..." at first slowly and slowly, and then with every new twist. Even though they sing in a foreign language, the rhythm and the message should be familiar.


British and French soldiers then responded by amplifying their voices and chanting "Silent Night, Holy Night ..." The troops repeated in English and German over and over again. That happened for a few minutes.

Then from the German side of the trench, a soldier raised a sign that said, "YOU NO SHOOT, WE NO SHOOT"

The British and French soldiers then responded by waving a shabby banner inscribed "MERRY CHRISTMAS"

Carefully, the armed soldiers began to emerge from their trenches. Slowly they passed through the dreaded No Man's Land, until they met their faces in the chilly air.


For a while, the trained soldiers didn't know what to do. Then, with all their guilt, they reached out and shook hands.

They patted each other's shoulders. They hug. Some turned their gaze away, to hide the tears.

They allowed each other to carry their own corpses for burial. They exchanged prisoners.


Later that night and throughout Christmas Day, they sang carol songs, exchanging gifts of cakes, chocolates, cookies, jam, beef and canned pork, newspapers, postcards and wine. They also held a spontaneous football match on the battlefield.


"For a moment, the gracious God once again dominated this corner of the earth," a French official recalled.


The events of Christmas 1914 were extraordinary love and peace that broke through the walls and touched people's hearts in a powerful way even though it lasted only for one day.

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