German soldiers during the Christmas Truce of 1914
The Christmas Truce of 1914 was a brief and unofficial series of cease-fires that took place along much of the Western Front during the first Christmas of World War I.
In the months leading up to Christmas Day, opposing forces had reached stalemates up and down the continuous front line that stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland. The German advance had been halted at the Marne in the south, and fighting in Ypres kept both sides in limbo in the north. German troops settled into defensive trenches opposite those of their French and British foes. Meanwhile, pleas from the world outside the front for an official truce on Christmas Day were rebuffed, including an official attempt by Pope Benedict XV.
However, a lack of sanction did not prevent troops on both sides from taking matters into their own hands. Not all participated in the cease-fire, but in several pockets along the front, soldiers shouted Christmas greetings to each other; sang songs and carols; left their defenses to socialize, take photos, and exchange gifts in the “no-man’s-land” between trenches; and safely collected and buried their dead. Some letters home even reported joint football (soccer) games. The length of the unofficial cease-fires varied; some areas resumed fighting just after Christmas, while others extended the truce into the new year.
Subsequent attempts to recreate the remarkable events of December 1914 during later holidays were quashed, though small-scale fraternization still occurred from time to time over the next four years.
Learn more about the Christmas Truce of 1914 through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Christmas Truce of 1914
Germany accepts the idea of a Christmas truce with the condition that other powers also agree Fri, Dec 11, 1914 – 14 · The Daily Times (Davenport, Scott, Iowa, United States of America) · Newspapers.comEngland leaves decision for the Pope’s proposed Christmas truce to the French Sat, Dec 12, 1914 – Page 2 · The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comWhite House caller, Andrew Carnegie, opposes the idea of a Christmas truce Sat, Dec 12, 1914 – 2 · The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comThe Pope’s plea for a Christmas truce in 1914 has failed Sun, Dec 13, 1914 – 1 · Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Pinellas, Florida, United States of America) · Newspapers.comChristmas truce changes perception of the enemy Thu, Dec 31, 1914 – Page 3 · The Winnipeg Tribune (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) · Newspapers.comGerman and British soldiers take photos together during Christmas truce Sat, Jan 2, 1915 – Page 3 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comChristmas Truce: "Friendly Meetings with the Enemy" Sat, Jan 2, 1915 – Page 3 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comChristmas Truce: A Belgian Point of View Sat, Jan 2, 1915 – Page 3 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comChristmas Truce: "Musical Honours" Sat, Jan 2, 1915 – Page 3 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comChristmas Truce: "Grave Suspicions" Sat, Jan 2, 1915 – Page 3 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comThe Christmas Truce: An Incident of the Great War Sat, Jan 9, 1915 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comCommanders frown down on informal truce Mon, Jan 11, 1915 – Page 1 · Vancouver Daily World (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.comAccount of the 1914 Christmas Truce sent from the trenches of northern France Mon, Jan 18, 1915 – Page 4 · The Eugene Guard (Eugene, Lane, Oregon) · Newspapers.comStory of a man’s hatred for the Germans and his experience during the 1914 Christmas Truce Sat, Feb 20, 1915 – Page 1 · New Castle Herald (New Castle, Lawrence, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.comHow one Christmas truce spontaneously began Thu, Mar 25, 1915 – Page 7 · Fort Wayne Daily News (Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana) · Newspapers.comAmerican soldier-reporter writes a thrilling story of Christmas truce in the trenches Tue, Mar 30, 1915 – Page 4 · The Seattle Star (Seattle, King, Washington, United States of America) · Newspapers.comWorld War I German and British soldiers stand together during the 1914 Christmas Truce Fri, Dec 12, 2014 – 113 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida, United States of America) · Newspapers.comSituations at war on Christmas Eve 1915 upset the predictions of a Christmas truce Fri, Dec 24, 1915 – Page 1 · The Eagle (Bryan, Brazos, Texas, United States of America) · Newspapers.comNo developments yet of a Christmas truce in 1915 Sat, Dec 25, 1915 – Page 1 · Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier (Ottumwa, Wapello, Iowa, United States of America) · Newspapers.comModel of the World War I Christmas truce soccer match between German and British soldiers Thu, Dec 25, 2014 – A19 · The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.com