A Very Scary Christmas

Soldiers on in the battlefield prior to the World War I Christmas Truce
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Original Air Date: 
December 16, 2001

On Christmas Eve of 1914, German soldiers in the Flanders trenches lit candles on small Christmas trees.  British, French, Belgian and German troops serenaded each other with songs.  Soon enemy soldiers broke bread with each other and exchanged letters.  In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, historian Stanley Weintraub shares the story of the World War I Christmas Truce.  And we’ll explore the cultural history of the festive season. 

The Illustrated London News's illustration of the Christmas Truce
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In 1914, over the week leading up to Christmas day, the opposing troops sang carols to each other, played ball and exchanged gifts, in spite of their generals’ wishes. Historian Stanley Weintraub says that the Christmas Truce was a one-time-only event.

Show Details 📻
December 16, 2001
December 15, 2002
Historian (1929-2019)
Professor of Art History
Last modified: 
December 02, 2020