The Christmas Truce of 1914

When enemies refused to kill each other

Shefali O'Hara
4 min readDec 25, 2021


Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

It was Christmas Eve, 1914, and World War I was in progress. On one side of the front lines, British troops herd their German adversaries singing a song about a baby boy born in a stable. They countered by singing “Silent Night”.

Both sides of the conflict believed in a Savior born in Bethlehem.

On that first Christmas, an angel declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.”

The soldiers on both sides of that bloody conflict shared a common bond. Back in those days, most people were religious. In Europe, whether they were Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Coptic, they believed in the teachings of Jesus. He had taught them to “love thine enemy” — yet they were engaged in mortal combat.

Then both sides sang songs about an innocent newborn infant.

This made the common soldier on both sides of the front line realize — how could brothers in Christ hate each other when they both worshipped a Savior that commanded them to love? They believed in a Lord that they thought had come to bring peace and forgiveness of sins to a troubled world.

British and German, French, and Belgian soldiers put down their arms.

Christmas reminded them of the gospel of love and peace.

A peaceful resolution of conflict was not the desired outcome, however, for those in charge. Generals, financiers, and politicians had a vested interest in the outcome of war. They had a purpose for the death and destruction that ravaged Europe. What did they care if the conflict killed and maimed so many young men in the prime of their lives? What did they care about the farms destroyed, the civilians murdered? What did it matter to them that these people had had dreams that could not be realized from the grave?

Almost 20 million people died during WWI, and an equal number were maimed. Half of those who died were civilians.

From everything I’ve read about trench warfare during World War I, it was a brutal, horrible experience.

Infantry dug narrow corridors along the frontlines, and then lived and died in these hellish conditions. The trenches…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.