“Every infraction of this order will be punished as treason”: the fallout from newspaper coverage of the ‘Christmas Truce’
Over Christmas in 1914, one of the most extraordinary and civilised moments of the combat on the Western Front happened: the press dubbed it ‘the Christmas Truce’, an event to modern eyes so inexplicable and contradictory to our perceptions of war that it seems it almost cannot be true.
‘It ain’t the guns nor armament
Nor funds that they can pay,
But the close co-operation
That makes them win the day.
It ain’t the individual,
Nor the Army as a whole,
But the everlasting teamwork
Of every bloomin’ soul.’
Bournemouth offers many attractions—but before you take off to see the Lower Gardens or the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, why not familiarise yourself with a bit of the history of this scenic spot?
It is widely regarded as the battle of the First World War; an enormous clash of attrition which epitomised the bloody stalemate of the war. The ten-month Battle of Verdun began 100 years ago, with German Chief of Staff General von Falkenhayn seeking to ‘bleed France white’ by launching an all-out attack on the narrow stretch of land at Verdun. Over a thousand German artillery guns fired upon the vastly inferior number of French troops – they had just 30,000 men, against 140,000 Germans – along a six-mile stretch of the French front. The battle which followed was to last for over 300 days. By looking at personal sources from Nineteenth Century Collections Online, the sheer scale of this part of the conflict is clear to see. Continue reading