I have been trying to find a reason to share a segment from Hardcore History and today seems like a great day to share this clip.
100 years ago today, all across the Western Front of World War I, soldiers spontaneously stopped fighting in the spirit of Christmas. Both sides started singing and celebrating together in the midst of absolute horror. An article from Business Insider today stated that we should not romanticize this truce because it is a symbol of the old worlds illusion of war being a gentlemanly game contested between worthy and respectable opponents.
After listening to the third of what will eventually be five Hardcore History episodes on World War I, the Business Insider take seems like it couldn’t be farther from the truth. By December 1914, there were no illusions left about the nature of war, especially not in the minds of the men in the trenches. If there was an illusion which brought those men together, it was the same illusion shared by President Kennedy when he said,
“For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”
That is certainly an illusion worth celebrating and spreading. Earlier this year an ad was released with a dramatization of the Christmas Truce.
Beyond this one little clip, you can find this entire episode on the Hardcore History website or on iTunes. This is from episode three of the five episode history of World War I, and it is absolutely amazing. Dan Carlin has a way of bringing history to life in his exceeding long podcasts. Though it usually takes him several months to produce each podcast, which are sometimes over three hours long, they are worth the wait.