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Old 12-27-2012, 01:27 AM   #1
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Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce

Since we just enjoyed our own Christmas Truce courtesy of Mac, I thought I'd share this review of Stanley Weintraub's Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce
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The Christmas Truce, which occurred primarily between the British and German soldiers along the Western Front in December 1914, is an event the official histories of the "Great War" leave out, and the Orwellian historians hide from the public. Stanley Weintraub has broken through this barrier of silence and written a moving account of this significant event by compiling letters sent home from the front, as well as diaries of the soldiers involved. His book is entitled Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. The book contains many pictures of the actual events showing the opposing forces mixing and celebrating together that first Christmas of the war.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:34 AM   #2
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It might not be well known in the US as the US did not involve itself in the Great War as the Brits (and Canadians) did. We were taught this in our history classes in social studies as well as the "Big Donkeys." World War I is given more attention in our history classes here than World War II because of the more important battles (Vimy, Passchendaele, Verdun, Somme) that led to Canada's independence from Britain.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:39 AM   #3
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I recall reading a very brief and respectful treatment of this event as a kid (I think I was 14). And while I don't completely recall where I read it, I am pretty sure I read it in a newspaper-ish format. I am also pretty sure that the style of presentation had that semi-comic book look to it with a lone full-color illustration, a comic book-esque caption box explaining the tale via Sans Serif font, and a somewhat hopeful, upbeat tone to it. Part of me is wondering if it was my newspaper's daily (or the Sunday edition's weekly) publication of Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Now that is not my way of dissing the story. I'm simply saying I recall this account from years ago. And I also recall it's not something I found in general media.

The WWI tale of "The Angels of Mons" is also a WWI story which is likewise not too broadly circulated but does pop up from time to time. The story of what happened at Mons, France with the alleged angel aparitions and even alleged angel interventions was for a time used as a recruiting tool of the Theosophical Society. (And accusations of gross exaggeration on the part of the Theosophical Society have been sternly levied at them. )
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:57 AM   #4
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I can assure you that in Britain, we learn about this in school. In fact, my school performed a play about it in which I played one of the Tommys. There is no 'conspiracy of silence' about it, I can assure you. It's a well-known story over here.

ETA: I'm referring to the Christmas truce. And the football match which took place in No Mans Land
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:00 AM   #5
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I just checked on Google and there is almost 1.6 million results.

Conspiracy of silence, my arse.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:50 AM   #6
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirandashell View Post
I just checked on Google and there is almost 1.6 million results.

Conspiracy of silence, my arse.
Yeah, this is the first time I've ever heard of any conspiracy of silence...
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:54 AM   #8
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LOL!
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Old 12-27-2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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We learned this in school in the US, too.

Quote:
There's a movie: Joyeux Noel.

It's very good. VERY good.
Yes, it is.
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:09 AM   #10
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I first heard about it when I saw this short.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirandashell View Post
I just checked on Google and there is almost 1.6 million results.

Conspiracy of silence, my arse.
Don't you see, if we haven't, ourselves, heard about something, we assume that it must be because there was a "conspiracy of silence." I've heard of "the Christmas Truce" for most of my life, and I'm an American, not German, French, or English. Maybe I was more attuned to it because my father fought in WWI. Otherwise, I might have decided to pay attention one day, been shocked at the story, and immediately assumed I'd been kept in the dark by a conspiracy of silence, rather than just plain inattention or ignorance.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:24 AM   #12
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I heard the story circa 1998 when I heard a live performance of this song (by some local folk musicians - the recording in this video is of course by the writer of the song) - the intro has some interesting details - he met one of the German soldiers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9coPzDx6tA

Not quite related, but no doubt the solders involved would be very happy to see this - I just found this new song about Christmas, from someone on a newer and very different international frontier:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YufsbE4-jmY
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:21 AM   #13
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I saw it on TV sometime first, a long time ago. I can't remember what I was watching, but it would have been pretty mainstream.

I can't remember if my teachers ever told it. They probably did. We were introduced to Lysistrata by age 15 in history class
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:22 AM   #14
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:48 PM   #15
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My understanding is that a truce was also attempted in 1915 but was sabotaged by senior officers.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:00 PM   #16
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God damn you all, how am I supposed to mong wars if ya'll keep breaking my conspiracies of silence? Stop talking about this! Just. Stop.

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Old 12-27-2012, 08:02 PM   #17
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It doesn't surprise that a lot of kids learn about it. It was a big deal.

But blurb writers do love to make a conspiracy out of something if it means their book will sell. Then again, that is their job, I guess!
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:14 PM   #18
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The Baron made Snoopy fly to the Rhine
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And then with a roar they were both on their way
Each knowing they'd meet on some other day.

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Old 12-28-2012, 02:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoombie View Post
Yeah, this is the first time I've ever heard of any conspiracy of silence...
The event is, quite apparently, far more famous than the conspiracy. Which goes to show you how incompetent these people are at inventing non-existent conspiracies.
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