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#747037 - 12/24/04 10:51 PM Christmas 1914  
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Renauda Offline
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Across hundreds of miles in Belgium, German troops were lined up in trenches within shouting distance of French, Belgian, British, Canadian, troops.

A million men had already been slaughtered and frozen bodies lay strewn between the lines. Occasionally a white flag would go up and an unarmed group of soldiers would risk burying the dead and collecting the wounded. Often the other side would do the same thing, and occasionally some fraternizing would take place.

As Christmas approached the Germans were much better supplied than the allies, and had Christmas trees and candles delivered to their trenches, along with gifts. Weintraub reconstructs the events from diaries, letters, newspapers, photographs and other sources to describe what happened. It all began when, on Christmas Eve, some of the Germans placed their lighted trees on the parapets of the trenches.

This action soon spread along the line. Singing began to be heard on both sides.

Soon, newspapers and food canisters were being tossed across the line.

Eventually, the shooting stopped and unarmed men spontaneously came out of the trenches in several locations on both sides. Handshakes, salutes, and gifts were exchanged. Many of the Germans spoke English, and soon conversations and singing began. Some men cut off extra buttons from their uniforms or removed badges and these, along with letters and addresses, were exchanged. Some personal gifts from home were given to the other side, including large quantities of cigarettes and cigars.

Senior officers on both sides were in a panic and tried to stop the activity with threats of court martial and treason, but in most cases the men didn’t care.

On Christmas Day more of the same took place, as the guns remained silent. Barrels of German beer were exchanged for quantities of plum pudding.

Several stray cattle were slaughtered for a feast. In some cases, makeshift soccer balls appeared and games took place among the allies or with the Germans, with spectators cheering them on.

Eventually the day darkened and the men drifted back into their trenches. By then, the officers were implementing orders from higher up, and shooting began again—usually over the heads of the enemy.

Eventually, though, the carnage began to mount. In the forty-eight months that remained in the war, approximately 6,000 men died every day, many from chlorine gas that each side used.

There were a few attempts at truces or cease-fires on other occasions, but nothing materialized.


"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae
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#747038 - 12/25/04 03:51 AM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Where did you find this Renauda? Fascinating. This is the type of story my dad liked telling.

Thank you. Merry Christmas. smile

#747039 - 12/25/04 04:31 AM Re: Christmas 1914  
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It's a well-known fact, Katie, and one of the most bizarre, yet inspiring events in the chronicles of war.


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#747040 - 12/25/04 04:01 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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I watched the story about that on history channel last nigth.


kyle
#747041 - 12/25/04 04:59 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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I read this when it first came out. It's a very good read especially for Christmas.

Silent Night
by: Stanley Weintraub

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bo...fz1glAeANW&isbn=0452283671&itm=4

#747042 - 12/26/04 01:44 AM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Thanks for the link Peggy ... I may look for this.
I need to read something like this now.
smile

#747043 - 12/26/04 08:28 AM Re: Christmas 1914  
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katie, it really is a good book. I recommended it to Apple not too long back because I knew she was interested in WWI.

It's good. Maybe it's in paperback now. Or at least trade paperback.

Hope you had a excellent Christmas. (We did!)

#747044 - 12/26/04 01:52 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Hmmm.. I briefly studied this in History a couple of years ago... the warring countries also played football together when the guns were silent.

Christmas really does bring people together.


why was the mushroom invited to the party? because he was a FUN-GUY! :p
#747045 - 12/26/04 03:09 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Quote
Originally posted by HannahT:
Hmmm.. I briefly studied this in History a couple of years ago...
That war really was tragic. I guess all wars are but that one.... "the war to end all wars"....

Do you study all kinds of history?

I always wanted to ask you guys in Britain if Richard III killed the princes. What do they teach over there?

Just curious,

#747046 - 12/26/04 03:22 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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double post (sorry)


why was the mushroom invited to the party? because he was a FUN-GUY! :p
#747047 - 12/26/04 03:31 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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oooooooooooooh! My favorite area of study.

silly question but! what is GCSE level?????

#747048 - 12/26/04 03:54 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Hi justme:

We study a wide range of History in our school, like all other subjects the topics we cover change or develop as we progress through the school. Few of the things we studied in the lower school were the “Black Death”; Battle of Hastings; the abolition of the monasteries under Henry VIII; Gunpowder plot; effect of Treaty of Versailles; and reasons for WW1 and Hitler's rise to power.

At the moment I study GCSE level History, and the course involves mainly Politics: reasons for establishment of welfare; rise of political parties; women in politics (suffragettes); and the impact of the Great Depression and WW2 in Britain. We’ve also covered US at war; reasons for the Economic Boom; the 21st Amendment - Prohibition; and in the New Year we will study Elvis and the Jazz age.

I will continue learning History after GCSE level and apparently the course relates to Charles II and his relationship with Parliament. I enjoy the topics that we cover in our school and I reckon it is important that you learn about your country’s history, although I wouldn’t mind learning about events that have occurred in different places of the world. History is very interesting: I like analysing evidence and examining why things were the way they were.

I’m not sure what other schools in Britain study because it varies a lot, but this is what we learn in our school (hope I didn’t bore you) smile


why was the mushroom invited to the party? because he was a FUN-GUY! :p
#747049 - 12/26/04 04:19 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Quote
Originally posted by HannahT:
I reckon it is important that you learn about your country’s history, although I wouldn’t mind learning about events that have occurred in different places of the world.
Always very important, IMHO.

Anytime you want to talk history, HannahT, let me know. It's one of my favorite topics.

#747050 - 12/26/04 04:50 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Hi again justme:

Good question – has a very complex answer! (sorry you'll have to hear me go on again).

NB: secondary school = high school; year = grade.

Ok, well over here when you go into secondary school, you study around 14 subjects in the lower school (yrs 7-9). Then after year 9 you have to study 10 or 11 of those subjects to learn in yr 10 and 11, the upper school (7 and a half of them are compulsory at my school and then we have to choose 3 other subjects at our preference – History was one of them). You study these 10/11 subjects at further depth at GCSE level which is a two year course. (GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education – previously known as O-levels) You then have the GCSE exams (government exams) at the end of your course in year 11 which can be seen as the first form of qualifications. A*- C = PASS. The certificate you receive may be valuable if you want to apply for a job. After your GCSEs you are free to leave school if you want, as you have completed compulsory education.

If you achieve 5 or more subjects at A*- C grades then you can go into 6th form (yrs 12 and 13). You then choose 4 subjects to learn at A.S level (yr 12) which is a one year course and then you can drop one of those subjects if you want and study those 3 or 4 subjects fully at A. Level (yr 13). An A at A.S level is the same as a D at A level. Again you have exams at A.S Level and A (Advanced) level and they are also forms of qualifications.

Then, if you pass these exams you can go to university. A – C = PASS. If you do exceptionally well at A level (i.e get straight As) you can go to very successful universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College or even Harvard in the US. This is because the grades you get are based on a point system and high standard universities have higher point requirements.

However, I think they have a similar but slightly different education system in Wales and Scotland. What happens in the US? I have a cousin over there and many in Canada but they are only in elementary (primary) school. The Philippines (which is where my family are originally from) also follow your system, I think.


why was the mushroom invited to the party? because he was a FUN-GUY! :p
#747051 - 12/26/04 06:18 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Oh, how exciting. Is history your favorite field or music? Just curious, too, asto where you want to go to university.

Aside to all Brits: Ya'll oughta have a young people's party!

Come to think of it, we oughta have one here. So many bright futures! laugh

#747052 - 12/26/04 07:01 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Renauda, thanks for the reminder of this remarkable event. I have the book somewhere (unread to date) in the house. Would that there were more such moments in modern history...that the rank and file would trump the generals and make the peace.

Merry Christmas.

jf


"Make the pie higher." GWB
#747053 - 12/26/04 07:03 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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justme:

smile

Hmm..That's a good question...I'd say that music is very important - in fact necessary, but more on a personal level than an academic level. However, academically History is one of the most interesting subjects around. For A levels I’m thinking about Music, History, Chemistry and Biology.

I *might* do medicine at university but there are only a few spaces for so many applications! And then maybe with that do some voluntary work overseas. Hmm…not sure what university to go to, but somewhere not so very far from home! I’d absolutely love to study music at degree level some time in life.

What about you justme? Music vs History? What did you study in university? Or what are your sons thinking about doing in the future?


why was the mushroom invited to the party? because he was a FUN-GUY! :p
#747054 - 12/26/04 07:09 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Hannah, I majored in Political Science and minored in Art. I use neither. woe is me.

My sons:
oldest = Geology/Jazz trumpet

youngest = loves languages and is not yet sure how he wants to use them. Probably in journalism.

We probably hi-jacked this thread long enough so, PM me any time.

Once again, I find myself apologizing to Renauda.

Sorry, Renauda.

#747055 - 12/26/04 07:14 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Thanks justme! That is very interesting.

Renauda: I'm really sorry also.


why was the mushroom invited to the party? because he was a FUN-GUY! :p
#747056 - 12/26/04 07:26 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Apologies for what? I simply thought the story was worth remembering as we celebrate Christmas.

All who have posted did so in the spirit to which I intended the thread. It is my honour that you all took the time to express your thoughts. HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all.


"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae
#747057 - 12/26/04 07:44 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Renauda: the tone of your thread was spot on for this time of year. Merry Christmas also!


why was the mushroom invited to the party? because he was a FUN-GUY! :p
#747058 - 12/26/04 07:58 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Quote
Originally posted by HannahT:
Renauda: the tone of your thread was spot on for this time of year. Merry Christmas also!
ditto.

#747059 - 12/26/04 09:59 PM Re: Christmas 1914  
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Great story Renauda, and thanks for the link to the book Justme.

Another great read about WWI, with lots of similar "human" stories, is "The Guns of August," by Barbara Tuchman.


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