Peace on Earth

December 16, 2004

What we see here are two vintage shots of No Man’s Land from World War I.


The first is a stereo shot of a ‘ghostly’ skeleton with its uniform still on. This sort of photo card was made for viewing through a hand held stereo scope. Can you imagine getting one of these and rushing to look through the scope and see the rotten solider in 3D? A nice Xmas gift, eh? And then a long shot of the barbed wire that separated the lines of trenches.

But during WWI, some soldiers had the weird idea of poking their heads above the killing line and fraternizing with the enemy, all in the spirit of Christmas. The trenches were so close that troops from the opposing armies could easily speak to or hurl insults at one another. When the holidays rolled around after the mechanized slaughter had been going on in earnest for quite a while, the troops, British and German, spontaneously called a truce. They climbed out of their rat holes and met in No Man’s Land, exchanged treats, whiskey, buried their comrades who had been left rotting in the mud for days or weeks, and sang songs to one another. Seems bizarre – after all, they knew it couldn’t last.Needless to say, the officers were furious. Not good for morale at all. It was never allowed to happen again. One source states:

“British commanders vowed that no such truce would be allowed again. In all of the following years of the war, artillery bombardments were ordered on Christmas Eve to insure that there were no further lulls in the combat. ” For more info, visit:  Wikipedia Article