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The Christmas Truce

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Scharnhorst Survivors at Scapa Flow, 2 January 1944 Blindfolded SCHARNHORST survivors, in merchant seaman rescue kit, walking down a gang-plank from the SS St Ninian on their way to internment. Scharnhorst was sunk on December 26, 1943.

A bit on Christmas Truces:

It’s not wrong to hope that Christmas will offer a moment for reflection about war and peace. Themes of peace and community certainly dominate how we think about Christmas in the United States. Historically, however, armies have rarely viewed the holiday as anything more than an operational speed bump and a mild logistical inconvenience.

I’ll admit that this was inspired by remembrance of a typically terrible Jacobin article on the World War I Christmas Truce that someone retweeted into my timeline. Terri Blom Crocker’s book on the Christmas Truce and memories of World War I is highly recommended. Connecting the Christmas Truce of December 1914 to the collapses in discipline on 1917 and 1918 makes a mess of causation and runs directly counter to the what the soldiers in World War I told us about their lived experience.

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