The day the enemies met at Christmas – level 3
In 1914, World War I started in Europe. The continent was divided by hundreds of kilometres of trenches. The trenches stretched from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The enemies were the Germans on one side and the French and the British were on the other side. It was December 1914 and soldiers on both sides had been fighting in the cold for weeks.
Then December 24 came. It’s the day when German-speaking countries celebrate Christmas Day. On that day, surprised British soldiers on some Belgian battlefields heard a melody they knew very well. The German soldiers were singing the song “Silent Night“ in German. It was a song the British were also going to sing the next day to celebrate Christmas. The mood started to change.
Burning candles and small Christmas trees appeared on the German side. Soldiers on both sides left their trenches and started to walk cautiously to each other. Then they met face to face.
The enemies who were trying to kill each other in previous weeks were suddenly looking at each other from a close distance. They saw that people on the other side were like them. They had the same feeling and suffered from the same sadness and from the same pain. They began to show each other photos of their loved ones and exchanged food, tobacco, and alcohol.
In the following days, thousands of soldiers on both sides met again and again. They even played some football matches together.
However, this situation didn’t last for long. The front commanders got orders that making friends with the enemy had to be considered treason. After some days, the fights resumed and the war continued for three more years.
Difficult words: trench (a long hole in the ground used in wars), cautiously (very carefully), last (to take some time), treason (the crime of being disloyal to your country), resume (to start again).
What were the long-term impacts of this remarkable event on the soldiers and their respective countries?
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