Silent Night

World War I began when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian, Archduke Francis Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip. As a complicated web of alliances unraveled, war broke out on July 8, 1914, one month after Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination. Everyone at that time expected the war to end by the Christmas of 1914. However, both sides were stuck in deadlock. The main cause of deadlock was the fact that all the nations had a different goal to achieve. Before the war, Germany had conquered the French territory of Alsace-Lorraine, which is modern day Belgium. The French wanted to re-conquer this land. Britain was focusing on the Ottoman Empire, which is modern day Middle East. Germany was having difficulty fighting a two front war. Also, both sides had equal military power. As the war dragged on, each side attempted to break the deadlock.

In 2014, the Sainsbury supermarket aired a commercial depicting the Christmas Day Truce of 1914. This event was real. On December 7, 1914, the newly elected leader, Pope Benedict XV called for a Christmas truce but the idea was rejected. Accounts suggest that on Christmas day, the Germans initiated this famous and highly significant truce. Witnesses say that the German troops began singing in their language and the British would follow. On Christmas day, soldiers came onto No Man’s land and exchanged gifts. They even played soccer. The saddest event was when the British and German troops buried their dead. An estimated 100,000 soldiers participated in this miraculous event. However, the truce did not happen everywhere. Accounts say that soldiers attempted to make peace but they were shot.