Generally, people don’t like to kill one another, on the whole. Most wars of our history were more about the agendas of the leaders than the soldiers on the field. Few events of history illustrate this, for instance, a remarkable episode that took place during World War 1. In that instance, despite the orders of officers and leaders, soldiers threw aside their weapons, went out of the trenches, and had a make-shift Christmas party with those they had been trying to kill. This event from World War 1 became famous as The Christmas Truce.
In 1914, leading to the impromptu truce, Pope Benedict 15 asked the various governments of different nations participating in the war to negotiate a truce for one day, so that the guns may get silent upon the night at least when the angels sang. It is believed that there was also an open Christmas Letter sent out by British Women suffragists to the women of Germany and Austria, asking for peace.
In the US, a resolution was submitted in the Senate to get the countries involved in the war to stop fighting for at least 20 days. The leaders of the warring governments paid very little attention to these attempts of peace. Such events of temporary peace typically did not last very long and were usually only limited to very small pockets. Everything changed on Christmas Eve of 1914, starting along the trenches near Ypres, Belgium. It was reported that it all started with the Germans setting up Christmas trees, lighting candles, and singing carols.
The French and British then responded with peace, singing along, and soon the two sides in various places along the line wished each other. There was something more surprising between these groups that were previously exchanging shots and explosives having some good time with one another. It was reported that there were even prayer circles formed with members of both sides participating.
The nations who were less enthusiastic about being friendly with their enemy also took advantage of this good time, burying the dead and fortifying without fear of being shot. Even the spirit of friendliness appeared to be prevalent. One soldier notes in a letter home, “I honestly believe that if I called on the Saxons for fatigue parties to help with our barbed wire, they would come and do so”.
Many other soldiers wrote similar letters home about the Christmas truce, but this type of behavior went against the massive propaganda campaigns going on at home. The next day the Daily Mirror went so far, saying that the only real wartime hostilities that did not to be forced were those going on at home. Thanks to a “gospel of hate” spread by the leaders of the nations.