WW1 Christmas Truce

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Kitty, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    Need a bit of a heads up from you WW1 bods. The truce at that first christmas when both sides came together. Is it true that Adolf Hitler objected to the fraternisation? I have been given this page as evidence from a Norwegian poster elsehwere, but it's purely the last line that mentions it. Surely others objected? Can you give me some references?

    Christmas Truce
     
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    It depended on the unit whether they partook of the Truce.
    Some units did others didn't.
    It was by no means universal.
    Here are extracts from war diaries.The Wardrobe - Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (Salisbury) Museum -
    1st Wiltshire Friday 25th December 1914 Belgium, Kemmel

    In trenches. A thick fog all day. Practically no shelling on either side, but a little sniping in the trenches. The same system was in vogue in the trenches i.e. one Coy in the fire trenches, one in support, one in reserve. Owing to moonlight a good deal of difficulty in relieving fire trenches. Cold.
    2 killed, 1 wounded, 1 missing

    2nd Wiltshire Friday 25th December 1914 France, Trenches

    Christmas Day No Firing. An unofficial armistice took place and troops of both sides met and buried the dead. The Battalion fixed up a board with " a merry xmas" written on it in German midway between the trenches and was evidently much appreciated by the enemy.

    1st Royal Berkshire Friday 25th December 1914 France, Givenchy

    In morning Commanding Officer went round trenches and distributed Kings and Queens Xmas card, which was much appreciated. Sapped into a German communications trench. GOC 2nd Division sent congratulatory message on work done by the battalion. C&D Coys relieved A&B in trenches. Buried Capt Wyld in garden of house near Pont FIXE.

    2nd Royal Berkshire Friday 25th December 1914 France, FAUQUISSART

    Men got up on parapet and advanced half way towards German trenches and in some cases conversed with them. Orders given at 11 am prohibiting men from going beyond parapet.

    Much work done in improving trenches during this day, the enemy protested against barb wire being repaired and we stopped enemy from repairing theirs. (5 men to hos, 7 from hos).
     
  3. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    Is it true that Adolf Hitler objected to the fraternisation? I have been given this page as evidence from a Norwegian poster elsehwere, but it's purely the last line that mentions it. Surely others objected? Can you give me some references?

    From your link: The truce was especially warm along a 30-mile line around the Belgian town of Ypres, Jürgs notes. Not everybody, though, approved. One Austrian soldier billeted near Ypres complained that in wartime such an understanding "should not be allowed". His name was Adolf Hitler.

    Much would depend, wouldn't it, on Jürgs's source. There is no mention of it that I can find John Toland's biography of Hitler.

    JT
     
  4. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    I wonder also where the reference comes from. Would an Austrian "nobody"s opinion really be noted at the time, especially when there were so many other, more influential as well as equivalent, soldiers (on both sides) who disapproved?

    Jürgs' mention of an "Austrian Soldier" can be a little misleading also. Although he was an Austrian, A.H. was a "Bavarian (or German) Soldier".

    Dave

    (Strange how little reference there is to the truce at Easter 1915 between German and Russian troops which was of a similar scale to this Christmas Truce! - there were others also)
     
  5. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Not everyone was so charitable. Cpl. Adolf Hitler of the 16th Bavarians lambasted his comrades for their unmilitary conduct:
    Such things should not happen in wartime. Have you Germans no sense of honor left at all?

    When Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, commander of the British II Corps, learned of the consorting, he was irate:
    I have issued the strictest orders that on no account is intercourse to be allowed between the opposing troops. To finish this war quickly, we must keep up the fighting spirit and do all we can to discourage friendly intercourse.


    From: Books and Arts - The Truce of Christmas, 1914



    This is the most extensive:

    First World War.com - Feature Articles - The Christmas Truce

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    After a quick "google" on this subject, I notice that most references to AH's opinion on the Xmas truce come from soldiers who served in different regiments to him (especially one Saxon Lt). I wonder if this is a case of the "I knew him before he was famous" syndrome?

    To be honest, I can't see how an insignificant L/Cpl (he never attained the dizzy heights of Corporal) would make such an impression on soldiers who didn't know him at the time for them to recount his personal feelings on the matter. The event obviously didn't mean enough to AH himself for it to warrant a mention in Mein Kampf anyway.

    Dave

    (can anyone confirm that the List Regiment was actually in the line that day anyway?)
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    The event obviously didn't mean enough to AH himself for it to warrant a mention in Mein Kampf anyway.

    Dave

    (can anyone confirm that the List Regiment was actually in the line that day anyway?)

    I was reading that on another site which is interesting referring to Erich Remarque" "All Quiet on the Western Front"

    The Heritage of the Great War / First World War 1914 - 1918

    There has been said a lot about the content of Mein Kampf. But striking as well is what Hitler did not write in that book. For instance he does not mention the Christmas Truce, where he and his unit were involved in. It happened in those days that the 16th and 17th Bavarian reserve regiments were relieving each other in the frontline near Mesen (Belgium), where you can oversee the valley of the river Douve.
     
  8. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    This reminds me of the alleged incident of the British infantryman who claimed he nearly shot Hitler in the first world war. It makes one think how one would remember one face out of all the enemy that he came across. I think the same applies to this and I would only take it on face value. Everyday we come into contact with people we don't know from Adam but ten fifteen years down the line will become famous for x,y or z. Why would one person stand out in people's minds unless that person made theirselves memorable in that person(s) mind.

    Also bear in mind that AH doctored a lot of information so it put him in a favourable light. Those who remember the events which lead to him being decorated, could /would be the person who could give definite support to the anti -fraternisation mentality of AH, apart from that how and to who would he have stood out in the bloodshed of the first war??.
     
  9. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    (can anyone confirm that the List Regiment was actually in the line that day anyway?)


    They weren't. Just looked them up - they were actually in billets behind the line at the time and weren't involved in the truce. Seems to be a lot of (understandable?) mythology about these events (even read one account by a British officer who claimed to have met Hitler in No-man's land during the truce - impossible!)

    Dave
     
  10. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    ... he does not mention the Christmas Truce, where he and his unit were involved in.It happened in those days that the 16th and 17th Bavarian reserve regiments were relieving each other in the frontline near Mesen (Belgium), where you can oversee the valley of the river Douve...

    See my above post...

    Dave
     
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Looks like that settles that one.

    Disaproval/approval was surely equally balanced on both sides??
    People are funny like that.
    Hitler was probably never too keen on truces...

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     

Share This Page