On this day: A Christmas truce

By Dec. 25, 1914, World War I had been raging throughout Europe for five months. That all changed just after midnight on Christmas morning.

German troops joined military men from Russia, France, and Britain in a ceasefire to celebrate Christmas Day at some of the most contentious points along the Western and Eastern Fronts. American troops did not enter the war until 1917.

The ceasefire started after a few German soldiers ran toward their enemy’s trenches with their hands up, shouting “merry Christmas” in English, French, and Russian.

The Allied troops were not sure if they could trust the German soldiers, as it could have been an ambush. The German troops earned the trust of their combat enemies by showing up unarmed, with gifts of cigarettes and plum pudding to exchange. After talking it over, the two sides agreed to a daylong ceasefire.

In this photo taken from an image in the collection at In Flanders Fields Museum provided by the family of German soldier Kurt Zehmisch, German World War I soldiers of the 103rd Saxon Regiment sit in their trenches along the Western Front in Warneton, Belgium, during Dec. 1914. Soldiers who had been killing each other by the tens of thousands for months climbed out of their soggy trenches to seek a shred of humanity amid the horrors of World War I. Hands reached out across the divide and in Flanders Fields a century ago, a spontaneous Christmas truce ever so briefly lifted the human spirit. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(Virginia Mayo/AP)

Troops from both sides joined to sing carols, exchange treats, and even play each other in a game of soccer between the trenches.

A statue of two hands shaking that commemorates the Christmas truce now stands at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, England. A separate statue of a German soldier and an English soldier shaking hands is displayed at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, England, honoring the famed soccer game between the two sides.

Britain Soccer Premier League
Stoke fans look at a WWI sculpture on display outside the reception of The Britannia Stadium after the English Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Chelsea, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1914 Christmas truce during the World War One. The ceremony marks the Christmas Day truce 100 years ago when rival WWI troops stopped fighting, left the trenches and are said to have played football instead. The 8ft clay sculpture, by artist Andy Edwards from Stoke, titled All Together Now, shows two soldiers, one British, the other German, greeting each other. At their side a football. The Britannia Stadium, in Stoke on Trent, England, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

(Rui Vieira/AP)

The Christmas Truce of 1914 was the only holiday ceasefire that would take place during the First World War. The conflict ended on Nov. 11, 1918, which is now celebrated as Veterans Day in the United States.

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Author: Washington Examiner