|Click on image above to view the singing by a German soldier of 'Stille Nacht' & 'Adeste Fideles', the latter to the accompaniment of bagpipes played by Scottish soldiers|
May I wish you and yours a joyful festive holiday (still a few days left!) and a progressive New Year.
Background to the film:
Along the Western Front on Christmas Eve 1914, soldiers from German, Scottish, English and French regiments organised unofficial ceasefires. Troops ventured into No Man's Land to exchange gifts, play football, sing songs together and bury their dead.
Ordinary soldiers saw that they were one and the same, no matter what was the colour of the uniform.
|Click on image above to hear Scottish soldier pipers playing "I'm Dreaming of Home"|
Generals on both sides were incensed and scared that this laying down of arms and friendship across the divide would spread. So they ensured that no such large scale fraternisation ever happened again by ordering artillery barrages during subsequent Christmases. In an insane brutal war, there were already 3.5 million casualties by the end of 1914. Another 32 million would die before the war ended.
The leaders of the main warring nations dressed up the conflict as a 'War To End Wars', a struggle for peace and liberty when in reality they were only concerned about expanding their empires. Whilst the ‘Allies’ promoted the war as a struggle to free small nations (e.g. Belgium) from German, Austrian and Turkish tyranny, World War One actually resulted in the victorious French and British dividing up the Middle East between them against the wishes of the local populations.
The horrible legacy of this imperial carve up and the promises made to financiers and oilmen during and soon after WW1 are the conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Palestine that we have today.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono recognised that throughout the ages, war and conflict were used by those in power to kill, butcher and maim peoples and the planet in order to maintain and expand their control. Their 1971 classic, Happy Christmas, War is Over (below) perfectly encapsulates this message
|Click on image above to hear John, Yoko & Plastic Ono Band sing their 1971 anti-war song 'Happy Christmas, War is Over'|