The Christmas Truce Of 1914

By | August 15, 2019

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The Illustrated London News's of the Christmas Truce: British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches. Source: (

War is terrible at any time of the year, particularly when that war is World War I, the horror of which is overshadowed only by that of World War II. Being stuck in the trenches on Christmas Day, a time traditionally spent celebrating with family, not knowing when or if they would ever see their loved ones again, only made it that much worse. Which is probably why on Christmas Day in 1914, many soldiers along the Western front decided to take a break from the war.

A Christmas truce had originally been suggested by Pope Benedict XV, but the idea had been rejected by the powers that be. However, based on numerous accounts from soldiers who had been on the battlefield during that time, approximately 100,000 troops took it upon themselves to initiate a truce of their own. Historians are unclear as to how the truce began and what caused it to spread to various locations along the Western front. Some believe it happened because they had expected the war to be over by Christmas and were simply burned out and in need of a break. Others suggest that it was the snow that put them in the Christmas spirit.

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Artist depiction of the Christmas truce. Source: (

Soldiers told various stories of how it began in their location. According to an officer of the Royal Irish Rifles, it began when the Germans lit up their trenches and began to sing carols and wish the Allied soldiers a merry Christmas. In another area, the Germans and the British soldiers both began singing carols. Another record claims that Private Murker of the Scots Guards met with a German Patrol and was sent back with a message offering a ceasefire for the day. Others describe the German soldiers luring them out of the trenches with songs.