The Christmas Truce of 1914 - When Troops in World War I Sang Christmas Carols Together

It's Christmas morning, and I have coffee in hand, and a quiet house for the moment.
As I sat here thinking about what kind of a Christmas wish to put on It's Just the Coffee Talking, I found myself thinking about the Christmas Truce during WWI when troops defied orders, went from being soldiers to just men missing their families and loved ones back home and started to sing Christmas carols.  Soon other troops had joined in and at the break of day, some opposing forces met to trade cigarettes and puddings and sang songs together.


Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

Pope Benedict XV, who took office that September, had originally called for a Christmas truce, an idea that was officially rejected. Yet it seems the sheer misery of daily life in the cold, wet, dull trenches was enough to motivate troops to initiate the truce on their own — which means that it’s hard to pin down exactly what happened. A huge range of differing oral accounts, diary entries and letters home from those who took part make it virtually impossible to speak of a “typical” Christmas truce as it took place across the Western front. To this day historians continue to disagree over the specifics: no one knows where it began or how it spread, or if, by some curious festive magic, it broke out simultaneously across the trenches. Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce.

Most accounts suggest the truce began with carol singing from the trenches on Christmas Eve, “a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere”, as Pvt. Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled, in a document later rounded up by the New York Times. Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described it in even greater detail:

“First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”
The next morning, in some places, German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English. Allied soldiers came out warily to greet them. In others, Germans held up signs reading “You no shoot, we no shoot.” Over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. The Christmas truce also allowed both sides to finally bury their dead comrades, whose bodies had lain for weeks on “no man’s land,” the ground between opposing trenches.

The phenomenon took different forms across the Western front. One account mentions a British soldier having his hair cut by his pre-war German barber; another talks of a pig-roast. Several mention impromptu kick-abouts with makeshift soccer balls.

The truce was widespread but not universal. Evidence suggests that in many places firing continued — and in at least two a truce was attempted but soldiers attempting to fraternize were shot by opposing forces.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. In 1915, the bloody conflict of World War I erupted in all its technological fury, and the concept of another Christmas Truce became unthinkable.

And of course, it was only ever a truce, not peace. Hostilities returned, in some places later that day and in others not until after New Year’s Day. “I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,” one veteran from the Fifth Batallion the Black Watch, Alfred Anderson, later recalled to The Observer. It was a short peace in a terrible war.”

Sources:  History.com


Yippee! It's the time of year when my favorite Donut Shop PEPPERMINT BARK COFFEE hits the shelves!

Although I've seen spots for it at the store numerous times in the past 2 weeks it's already almost always sold out! 

Other people obviously know just as well as I do that this is hands down the yummiest peppermint coffee.  Granted - I can't say it's the best in the world, as I've not had all the peppermint coffees.  But I've had about 5 versions and this one wins. 

I'm not a flavored coffee kind of girl - I like my coffee hot, strong and black.  Espresso would be more my style than a vanilla, pumpkin spice, chocolate anything or hazelnut... but given The Donut Shop Peppermint Bark flavored coffee and an espresso as my choices I'd probably go for this one.  There is just something delicious about it!  Smooth and 'creamy', not bitter, not sweet, not a dark chocolate or acidic flavor.  It's like having Ghirardelli Limited Edition Peppermint Bark Squares in my coffee cup.

Today while grocery shopping I happened upon a newly stocked coffee display and managed to snag a box. I've already had 3 cups...  I can't help myself.  It's a seasonal blend that is only available for a short time around the holidays.  I have to get it while I can!  :)

The Original Donut Shop Peppermint Bark Flavored Coffee - 18 K-cups (2 Box)

  • Creamy white chocolate and crushed candy cane finish
  • Light Roast
  • Caffeinated
  • Orthodox Union Kosher

You might also be interested in these related products available at your local retail stores or through these Amazon affiliate links;

The Original Donut Shop Coffee Holiday Buzz Keurig K-Cups, 18 Count
Victor Allen Coffee Holiday Favorites Coffee & Hot Cocoa Mix Single Serve K-cup, 54 Count (Compatible with 2.0 Keurig Brewers)
Contains: 18 Peppermint Bark Coffee, 18 Sugar Cookie Coffee, 9 Gingerbread Cookie Coffee, 9 Chocolate Covered Cherry Hot Cocoa.


Single serve brewers similar to a Keurig but cheaper: Single serve coffeemakers for under $40

Although I've owned Keurig's since 2005 and I've since switched to the iCoffee brand in the last 2 years, I recall how shocking it was to buy my first Keurig and go from spending $25 on a coffee pot to $229 (at the time) for the 'new' coffee systems known as Keurig's.  My husband about had a heart attack when I came home from the car dealership after getting maintenance done on my vehicle and told him about this 'really cool' coffee maker they had and how it was probably the best tasting coffee I've ever tasted.   It was so fresh tasting and hot compared to what we were used to in our little old glass carafe style.

Since 2005 the world of single serve coffee brewers has exploded - and the cost has come down!  But even so, $90, $100 or $200 is still out of the budget for most people.  This morning I did a quick search on Amazon to find some affiliate links to single serve brewers that were all (as of this writing) under $40.  One of them is actually under $20!

Similar to what you might find in a hotel - very basic - no bells and whistles, it does it's thing and serves it's purpose.  But personally I like these smaller, basic versions to pack when we travel!

If you have a limited budget, are buying for a college student, an elderly relative, need a simple brewer to pack and travel with or are putting one in a second or third room in the house, these are all affordable coffee brewing options.

  • ✔ FRESH COFFEE LESS THAN 3 MINUTES - Simple one touch button design and auto shut off, It makes a cup of tasty coffee in a few minutes with just a push of a button, and the wider water tank mouth makes it more convenient to fill water and clean up.
  • ✔ PERFECT FOR TRAVELLING - Light weight and compact design of this single serve coffee maker makes it perfect for your desk at home or work, and small enough for travelling.
  • ✔ FREE 6 UNITS OF iFILL CUP FILTER Includes Free 6 Units of Ifill Cup Filter, Reusable up to 10 times
  • ✔ FAST SINGLE CUP COFFEE MAKER- Compatible with most single cup pods including k-cup pods, you can use the size as per your preference. It takes 3 minutes to get a cup of fresh coffee with fast brew technology. It is brewed hot enough that no need to put in the microwave.
  • ✔ CERTIFICATION AND WARRANTY - BPA-free material for water tank and UL, ETL, certification for coffee brewer give you guarantee. 

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