The sport during Christmas truce in WW1 by Jade and Emma
To begin, all we know today about this subject is through archives, photos, videos, audios, and testimonies or soldiers’ diary. During World War One, sport developed on the front when there was no battle or, exceptionally, during the Christmas truce. Then, during World War II, the values of team games were used to train the future soldiers. At the beginning they started to do sport because of their boredom when they were not at the front. There were different kinds of ‘sport’ like pillow fights or wheelbarrow races and even wrestling on mules.
The Christmas Truce of 1914 is often remembered as a symbolic moment of peace in an otherwise devastatingly violent war, that’s why we must remember the context of this truce. British and German soldiers in Plugstreet laid down their arms, sang Christmas Carols and played football.
But, we must know that although soldiers diverted themselves for a short time during which they exchanged gifts and played football, the war was always present. In fact, there were some ceasefires between few German and British forces. So, where it didn’t occur 25 December 1914 was a day like the others. And where it did men sang carols and sometimes left their trenches to meet enemy in No man’s land.
Unofficial truces, presents, funerals and kick-about
Because of the proximity with the enemy, men developed a certain attitude. Along parts of the front, some men responded to Christmas Eve by emerging attempts from trenches to No Man’s Land. There were times of a reciprocal ceasefire. It means that soldiers agreed to don’t shoot at each other. That happened in all the years of war. During that time men began to swap cigarettes between them. Moreover they exchanged gifts, took photos, and sang carols. These unofficial truces were importantly used to bury the dead and recover wounded soldiers who are in No Man’s Land. But they also repaired and reinforced the trenches which are damaged. There was not a single organised football match between German and British sides. They may have been “small-scale kick-abouts” but it was just one of many different activities which one men took the time to enjoy. These truces which were useful were certainty not unique to Christmas.