The First World War display has been of major interest to visitors of the Comox Air Force Museum during the last four years, and the recent armistice celebrations happening so close to Christmas brings to mind the celebrated soccer match of 25th December 1914. The pageantry of the solstice, whether Christian or pagan, has engendered much argument or debate over the millennia. But not that Christmas Day.
The soccer match was not an isolated incident on one part of the “Front”, but part of a fairly widespread celebration by the opposing forces. Photographs and illustrations from the time show many different ranks sharing drinks and cigars or cigarettes along much of the trench line.
Historically, there has been close connections between Britain and Germany. Technology was rampant and often cooperative between the two countries, and, of course, the relationship of the royal families was ever present. The causes of the war are a tangled mess but overreactions between heads of state and ghastly errors of judgement played their part. It should not have happened.
What happened after the final whistle blew on that Christmas Day in 1914? The nascent camaraderie that was evident on that 25th was finished. The war became nastier and millions of people died. The peace that followed brought hardship and disorder to the Germans and led to the devastations of the Second World War.
That soccer match is now part of history. But who won?
*Special thanks to Geoff for this post!