Welcome to our Christmas episode of Footsteps of the Fallen.
The Christmas Truce has often been portrayed as a mass act of rebellion by soldiers tired of fighting, who wilfully disobeyed the instructions of senior officers not to fraternise with the enemy. The commander of II Corps issued an order on the 5th of December 1914 forbidding any form of ceasefire or armistice with the enemy. Yet, within his Divisions, seven battalions reported fraternisation with the enemy on or around Xmas day. If, as it is portrayed, the Truce was a direct contravention of orders, then it seems highly likely that it wouldn't be mentioned or recorded in the various official records kept by Battalions, Brigades, and Divisions.
In this episode, we look at how the truce was reported by the men who were involved in it and question whether the impromptu armistice really was a mass act of collective indiscipline as is so often reported. We look at how the Truce was reported in the various war diaries of the regiments who were involved and discover a tale where fact and popular fiction are sometimes hard to differentiate.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year - Footsteps of the Fallen will be back on Sunday 15th January 2023.
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