On Christmas Eve in 1914, the first year of the first World War, allied and German troops on the Western front downed their ammunition and sung Christmas carols to each other across the battlefield. Early the next day, German troops actually crossed the trenches to wish their enemies a ‘Merry Christmas’ in English. British soldiers emerged to meet them, shaking hands and exchanging small gifts of souvenirs and cigarettes. Images of soldiers playing games of football came to symbolise the event, later dubbed the Christmas Truce of 1914.
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