Peace and Goodwill … in the Midst of Carnage

This is still one of the most remarkable stories of spontaneous peace and goodwill … in the midst of the carnage of war. From today’s Los Angeles Times article by Kevin Baxter:

The first Christmas of World War I was a hellish time for Alfred Dougan Chater, a second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, who woke that morning in a freezing, muddy trench less than 100 yards from the German lines in West Flanders, Belgium. It was 1914 and the bloodiest fighting of the still-young conflict had ended in a stalemate. Corpses littered the deadly “No Man’s Land” separating the two sides along the Western Front, where hope had long since given way to despair and disillusionment. So what Chater saw next, he wrote his mother, was “one of the most extraordinary sights that anyone has ever seen.” All along a 20-mile stretch of the Western front, unarmed German troops began climbing over the parapets and walking toward the British side simply to shake hands and exchange greetings, the first tentative steps toward what is likely the largest spontaneous Christmas truce in modern history, one in which the warring armies shared cigars, good cheer, chocolate and, in more than one place, a game of soccer.

Check out “Peace for a day: How soccer brought a brief truce to World War I on Christmas Day 1914.”

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