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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4453/the-christmas-truce-of-world-war-i/

The Christmas Truce of World War I

December 18, 2005 by

The Christmas Truce, which occurred primarily between the British and German soldiers along the Western Front in December 1914, writes John Denson, is an event the official histories of the “Great War” leave out, and the Orwellian historians hide from the public. Stanley Weintraub has broken through this barrier of silence and written a moving account of this significant event by compiling letters sent home from the front, as well as diaries of the soldiers involved. [FULL ARTICLE]


Sudha Shenoy December 19, 2005 at 12:50 am

Wars are conspiracies amongst the govts concerned against their respective — & hapless — peoples. Sans govt, people spontaneously prefer peaceful interaction. The Christmas truce was entirely spontaneous — initiated & perpetuated by the ordinary soldiers & officers involved. It was the High Command & the political rulers on both sides who gained from war & therefore initiated & contd it.

Tom Coyne December 19, 2005 at 9:21 am

The problem is educating world leadership in developing “mutually beneficial trade” in moving the world’s surpluses to deficit areas/
Most oil surplus areas are food deficit areas.
Creating logistic efficient delivery systems will reduce tensions between areas.

Curt Howland December 19, 2005 at 11:12 am

Excuse me whilst I go dry my eyes and blow my nose.

For those interested in movies which feature the absurdity of war, there is a title out of Japan called “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Highly recommended.

iceberg December 19, 2005 at 11:29 am

Simply amazing!

Kudos to John V. Denson and the Mises Institute for showing us the humane side of civilization, versus the “anarchy=chaos=tyranny”- school of thought that the ruling class wants us to swallow.

Don Beezley December 19, 2005 at 11:35 am

A great and poignant piece. The destructuve waste of human life and potential that is caused by government is truly staggering.

zuzu December 19, 2005 at 12:45 pm

Curt (and all)-

Indeed, with global trade you can buy Howl’s Moving Castle now. (Or infringe copyright by duplicating a copy from others online.)

Though, the first fiction/film which this story brought to my mind was A Midnight Clear.

gene berman December 19, 2005 at 1:20 pm


While I am sure that many people in all cultures wish no specific harm to their counterparts in others, I do not believe for a moment that hostilities are simply the result of government propaganda or fearmongering.

Ordinary people are quite able, even likely, to perceive personal threats emanating from others, whether these be neighbors up the street, across town, across a border, or on the other side of the world. Simplistic ideas about economic relationships, such as “just price,” “unfair competition,” and a host of others are not bills of goods sold by scheming leaders to unsuspecting consumer-voters but are, more often, merely the better-worded and more cannily crafted versions of spurious though deeply-held, common beliefs. An old saying has it that leaders are those who can ascertain where their followers want to be led–akin to the recognition that all who govern do so with the consent of the governed, whether in a democracy or not. Leaders are those who marshal the characteristics of others–who then follow. As long as a main characteristic of a great majority is ignorance (of many sorts but very especially of Economics), you can be sure that such ignorance will be one of the chief means by which such followers are led.

In short, the diminution of the role of government is desirable, not because governments uniformly promote hostilities but simply because they are unnecessary and inefficient providers of almost any goods and services imaginable AND because the single justifiable service for which they’re intended–exertion of a monopoly of–force– so damaging to all those other processes in which humans engage AND because, insofar as other functions are legitimized, greater leeway is provided for some to exploit the force monopoly on behalf of various fears and hostilities, justifiably or not.

Marwan December 19, 2005 at 5:39 pm

If we were truly living in a State-free state, we would be better off and yet we may be attacked by another state for plunder or fear or any reason. In that case we,a s individuals, would unite by employing our various defense agenices and defend the attackers in an efficient, coordinated and effective manner. The defensive war we would wage would be justified. This means that NOT all wars are between governments, just the ones we’ve fought so far.

Sudha Shenoy December 19, 2005 at 6:11 pm

People may feel hostile towards others but any violence is on a relatively small scale & quickly over. Only taxation allows _sustained_, wide-ranging warfare. To survive & prosper, people have to interact peacefully — continuously. Groups & individuals who insisted on raiding & fighting as a _general_ rule — disappeared.

Peter December 20, 2005 at 12:33 am

Another war poem I love (but not from WWI) is “The Battle of Blenheim” by Robert Southey.

“With fire and sword the country round
   Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
   And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
   At every famous victory.

They say it was a shocking sight
   After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
   Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
   After a famous victory.

Great praise the Duke of Marlbro’ won,
   And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ’twas a very wicked thing!”
   Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay… nay… my little girl,” quoth he,
   ”It was a famous victory.

And everybody praised the Duke
   Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
   Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why that I cannot tell,” said he,
   ”But ’twas a famous victory.”

Gregor December 20, 2005 at 3:57 am

A movie featuring this plot has just been released in Austria, titled Merry Christmas. The reviews are overwhelming, though I haven’t yet seen it myself.

Paul Aubert December 20, 2005 at 4:39 pm

The History Channel has a documentary on this called The Christmas Truce, directed by one of the producers of “When We Were Kings.” It will be appearing at 11 am and 5 pm eastern time on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005.

Forrest December 27, 2005 at 1:20 pm

A very moving piece. I am much haunted by the reaction I got from someone when I mentioned the part at the end re: what might have been had the fighting not begun again. How perhaps no Stalin, Hitler, etc and the hundreds of millions who died and suffered. My associate reacted by saying ‘not to defend it, but what would we do with all those people?’ If I ever doubted that there really are those who think the planet would be better off without the inconvenience of mankind, this dispels it. Imagine the great good that is coming from Aids worldwide and think about the possibilities of a true pandemic. Why it thrills the heart.

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