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View Diary: The Night the Guns Fell Silent on the Western Front - December 24, 1914 (Update) (59 comments)

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  •  Here's What Happened After the Truce Ended (28+ / 0-)

    Both the German and British high command were not thrilled with this outbreak of peace, even if it only lasted for a few days

    The high brass on both sides quickly determined that they could not let the situation develop.  In the national interest, the war had to go on.  Peace has always been more difficult to make than war, but it was materialising.  Under threat of court martial, troops on both sides were ordered to separate and restart hostilities.  Reluctantly, they drifted apart.  General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien’s order to II Corps from his cushy rear-area headquarters read: "On no account is intercourse to be allowed between opposing troops.  To finish this war quickly we must keep up the fighting spirit. link

    Both the British and German High Commands were outraged by these activities for this was "fraternisation with the enemy" – a serious military offence that could mean the firing squad for any individual identified.  Sensibly this was overlooked, although strict orders were issued forbidding any future repeats.

    It was back to business as usual soon after, with the war extending nearly another four years before ending on the 11th November 1918. Nine million soldiers lay dead in one of histories greatest tragedies.  link

    •  Such events could have taken place,possibly, in (15+ / 0-)

      1939-40 - the start of WW2 for the simple reason that at that point, just as in 1914, hatred hadn't set in. ( this was well before the mass slaughter of Verdun and the Somme ) In 1914 it was all still a grand adventure -- it was before the war had settled in to be part of the psyche of the combatants. Quite likely many of the participants were quite surprised at still being there -- after all, it was supposed to be over before Christmas and everyone was still awaiting their grand victory parade.

       The brass had little to fear of a reoccurance -- the butchery of 2nd Ypres and other battles of 1915 would have taken care of that.

       Just as the German conquists of 1940 took care of any light hearted talk 'Hanging the Wash out on the Seigfreid Line."

       Once soldiers -- and the Army they belong to -- learn to hate, its hard to put back in the bottle.

       ( there was a soccer game played between German POWs and Brit troops shortly after WW2 concluded. The Germans won and one of the Germans remarked to one of the squaddies " We beat you at your your national game"

       He replied back " And we beat you at yours, mate ".

       Takes a while to stuff it back in the bottle........

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 11:16:09 PM PST

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