Truce by Jim Murphy.
Scholastic Press: NY, 2009.
What would happen, I wonder, if the armies suddenly and simultaneously went on strike and said some other method must be found of settling the dispute?
wrote Winston Churchill to his wife November 23, 1914. This is how Murphy starts Truce regarding a spontaneous ceasefire agreed upon by the soldiers, both German and Allied along the Western Front, during World War I. The time was Christmas the same year after months of unproductive battling in the trenches and the No Man's Land in between them. In spots, the soldiers were near enough to listen to conversations of the enemy (or Christmas carols). It was only a matter of time before they started to see each other as people instead of the enemy, despite the efforts of military command.

I have heard of this incident before. It was explained as Christmas fellowship, but after reading Truce, I believe it was more than that. The Front stretched longer than I knew and so did the truce. The details Murphy includes make it clear that the soldiers had had enough, most of them, and they wanted the war to stop. Some of them realized it was pointless, some that they had been lied to and used. The wonder to me is that after that experience they could go back to brutally killing each other, for 4 more years. It was a fleeting moment of peace and truth.

I'm glad there are some authors like Murphy who can sift through the endless battling of history to point out events such as this. The wars (American Revolution, WWI and WWII specifically) were the reasons I had little interest in history before college. This is an incident worth remembering and broadcasting, with the hope that other soldiers will dare to go against their ruthless orders for the good of mankind as well, with the belief that all men have the ability within themselves to ascertain whether the cause is worth the price, even after they have a contract with the military, with the understanding that the government can be wrong (and often is).

related-Christmas truce 1914, World War I, Western Front-France, European history, armistices, ceasefire, peace
RL=6th and up, looks like it might have been targeted for younger but because of content I wouldn't give to younger unless the person has a specific interest.

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