The most unusual truce



When war rages, people usually lose friends. Ordinary people dream of the speediest completion of hostilities and of the truce. But even when bullets whistle around, and people die, there is a place for the manifestation of humanity. The insanity of war recedes before the manifestations of friendship and respect for the belligerents. The warring parties cease to destroy each other and conclude a truce. Some of them are very unusual and are caused by strange, unfamiliar events for the war.

Singing serenades by French and German soldiers.

In the history of the First World War, there was a rather unusual and well-known truce – Christmas. At this wonderful moment, the soldiers laid down their arms and celebrated the great common holiday together with the enemy in no man’s land, leaving the trenches. But this story had a predecessor, during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 there was also an unusual truce. Not far from Paris for Christmas was the front line, in the trenches took the place of the French on the one hand and the Germans on the other. The whole night the parties dug the land and exchanged artillery salvoes. As suddenly a young French soldier rose from his trench unarmed and sang the famous Christmas song “O Hole Night” in his own language. The parties stopped the fire and began to listen attentively to the crank. But as soon as he finished his serenade, a German soldier got out of his trench and sang the Christmas anthem of Martin Luther, “From Heaven Above To Earth I Come.” The moment became so emotional that for a whole day the fight stopped in honor of Christmas. And the soldiers probably asked: “Why do people kill each other, instead of singing songs?”.


Christmas dinner of German and American soldiers.

The Ardennes operation became one of the bloodiest companies for the American army in the Second World War. Given this, it is difficult to relate that battle to merry Christmas. Nevertheless, even in this meat grinder, there was a place for the manifestation of friendship and comradeship between irreconcilable opponents. Thanks to one German woman, Elizabeth Winken, I managed to reconcile the two sides for a while. On Christmas Eve, the woman, along with her 12-year-old son Fritz, picked up three American soldiers, lost in the woods on the slope of the Ardennes mountains. Elizabeth took them to her, provided that they did not carry the weapons into the house. After a while, four more German soldiers, also seeking asylum, knocked on the door. Thanks to the self-control of the hostess, it was possible to force these guests to leave their weapons outside. The woman became a kind of pledge of the Christmas truce. It’s surprising that both sides not only did not kill each other’s friend, but also shared a festive dinner at one table. Do not ignore the wounded. The next day the Germans politely said goodbye to their unwilling companions, but they did not give the compass’s enemies and instructions on how to get to their units.

Russians and Germans against wolves.

While Russian and German soldiers were killing each other in the fields of World War I, a new force appeared. It became large and ferocious wolves. Large-scale military operations devastated their habitual habitat and reduced natural fodder. Then predators in search of food became more desperate, approaching human populations and cattle. Hunger forced wolves to even attack soldiers, patrolling positions or even just sitting in trenches. At first, the Russians and Germans fought with the wolves on their own. The animals were shot, they were poisoned, they threw grenades in packs. But all this did not work – after the death of one group of wolves, as if from nowhere the next appeared. Finally, both sides decided to stop fighting each other for a while and focus on a much more real threat. After a long and difficult battle, the wolves were driven out, and the dogs pursued the tails of predators.

The troops of the Union and the Confederation became friends on different sides of the river.

In 1862, the Battle of Frederiksberg took place.The Rappahannock River shared the feuding southerners and northerners. On its shores, the armies were preparing for an imminent battle. Only now the cold November wind made the river so turbulent that it prevented the crossing. While the generals were racking their brains, how to cross the water barrier patrolling its banks by southerners, met and became friends with the northerners. Between the soldiers there were even trade relations – they changed their coffee and cigarettes. And the goods were transferred to the other side of the river with the help of paper boats. There was even a place where soldiers in general were able to cross the river, exchange newspapers and talk with their colleagues. To drive away the boredom, the Confederates began to conduct sports games. Spectators and fans of matches in baseball and boxing fights were just the military Union. However, the idyll ended on December 11, when the Union forces crossed the river, which gave rise to one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the Civil War.

Joint burial of the deceased by Australians and Turks.

The truce between the Turks and the Australians in itself seems unusual. How can two countries that are divided into thousands of kilometers fight? Meanwhile, during the First World War, British troops, which included the Australian units, conducted a Gallipoli operation. Its goal was to withdraw Turkey from the war. On May 19, 1915, Ottoman troops attacked the entrenched Allied landing, intending to throw it back into the sea. The Turks had to face ANZAC corps, consisting of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand. The British destroyed the wave after the wave of attackers. When the smoke of the battle cleared, the bodies of thousands of Turks and several hundred Australians remained in the middle of the neutral strip. The worst thing was that the hot sun accelerated the process of rotting bodies, and soon the stench filled the neighborhood. On May 24, the ceasefire agreement came into force – both sides were given the opportunity to bury their fallen comrades. On a neutral strip, recent adversaries met to work together and bury the dead. And after that, as it is supposed to good colleagues, they paid tribute to each other’s courage and even exchanged souvenirs and other small trinkets. After the main work was completed, both sides wished each other good luck and returned to their positions. Needless to say, both the British and the Turks soon again tried to fill the corpses with a neutral strip?

American Jewish sniper and German pilot, who became friends for life.

An incredibly touching story of friendship between Max Handelman and Karl Kirchner occurred during the bloody battle in the Ardennes. Before the momentous meeting, Handelman was born in Milwaukee and grew up as a devout Jew. The American had time to experience all the hardships of defense against the German offensive. Gendelman was taken prisoner and was sent to a prisoner of war camp in the city of Lind. But thanks to his knowledge of the German language, the American became a kind of liaison between prisoners and guards. As a result, he met the German Kirchner, who left his part on his own and hid himself on a farm near the camp. A young German pilot taught Gendelman how to hide from the guards. So the American could go to a friend’s house to visit – to have coffee and play chess, and then went back unnoticed to the camp. Such trips were repeated several times. At one of these meetings, the couple decided to plan an escape from Nazi Germany. As a result, the couple, after taking another American prisoner, went on a journey to the front line. Kirchner portrayed an escort who takes the prisoners to another prison. As a result, friends could get to the Americans. Gendelman himself never forgot about the help from his friend. Later, he helped Kirschner move to the United States, where the men kept the partnership for the rest of their lives.

Roman Jewess and Officer SS.

Today, for young people, a romantic love story is one that is represented in some “Twilight”.Life creates much more dizzying subjects. Edith Han Beer experienced an exciting love story. She was born in Vienna, Austria and studied law when the Nazis came to power. The persecution of the Jews led to her deportation, and Beer was sent to forced slave labor. After a year of hard labor, the woman fled and took the train, which was to return to her native Vienna. But on the way Edith joined the Christian mission, became a nurse and in 1942 she was in Munich. Here in the picture gallery she met the SS officer Werner Vetter, her future husband. In just two weeks of courting the Nazi made her an offer. Beer tried to slow down the development of relations, resting on their inappropriateness during the war. Then she could not stand it and admitted that she was Jewish. Fortunately, Vetter not only did not extradite her, but also told his family secret about the divorce of his parents. Lovers got married, and Beer became an exemplary housewife. After the war, Vetter found himself in a labor camp. In the absence of her husband, Beer regained her Jewish status and completed her studies by becoming a lawyer. The returning husband was indignant at the fact that his wife became an independent person, and filed for divorce. Looking back, Beer could not understand whether she really loved her husband or just treated him well and married under the influence of circumstances. Anyway, a woman is grateful to her husband, who helped her survive in a very difficult and delicate situation.

British and German pilots who lost their way in the desert.

Pilots of the British Royal Navy and the Luftwaffe were forced to fight together for survival, finding themselves in the cold and severe Norwegian ice desert. Such an unusual scenario took place on April 27, 1940, when three British fighters attacked a German bomber, deviating from his course. After a while, the Luftwaffe car fell near the village of Grottli. Nearby was forced to land and make an English plane. British pilots, Captain Richard Partridge and his wingman, Lieutenant Robert Bostock, found a small hut that they used for shelter. Soon, they were joined by three surviving crew members of the German bomber. Which was piloted by Lieutenant Horst Chopis. The intense atmosphere was dispelled when the pilots shook hands, and the British shared their meager rations. Soon, unwitting friends decided to make a joint trip to the nearest settlement, in the hope of getting help and food there. But the motley company unfortunately came to the attention of the Norwegian patrol. The soldiers opened fire and killed one German pilot. The rest of the fascists were taken prisoner, and the British repatriated to their homeland. In 1977 there was a landmark meeting between Chopis and Bostock. Veterans said that they never felt enmity towards each other.

“Quiet fronts” of the Civil War in Spain.

Both the fascists and the Republicans had a hard time, forcing men to fight their own compatriots during the Civil War in the 1930s. How can one conduct full-fledged military operations if soldiers are unwilling to fight and are quickly approaching the enemy? Numerous cases of fraternisation between enemy soldiers took place on the “quiet fronts” of that war. Most of the rank and file fighters did not want to offend others like the Spaniards themselves. As a result, friends openly met and behaved as if there was no war. In one incident, several hundred Republicans exchanged fresh newspapers with their Fascist counterparts. Soldiers often warned each other about the impending attack and often celebrated the survival of friends after the battle. The Spaniards showed so strong indulgence towards each other that they even hated die-hard foreign volunteers for their desire to kill enemies.

Joint defense by the Turks and Australians from ANZAC.

A lot of strange and unusual things can happen in the war.For example, in the last days of the Second World War, the Germans fought side by side against the SS and American units. A similar extraordinary event occurred during the First World War. Then the Australian soldiers helped the Turks defend their positions against the Arab raiders. At that time, ANZAC units liberated the capital of Jordan, Amman, from the Turks. This led to the flight of 5,000 soldiers and the creation of a camp in Ziza. Local Arabs, saw in this a chance to take revenge on their invaders and began to surround them. The raiders gathered about 10 thousand people. It’s good that a few parts of the Australian army have agreed to help their recent enemies defend their positions. But those already were ready to lay down their arms at the mercy of the winner. Only one night it was necessary that the Australians made friends with the Turks. The soldiers talked at the fires, watching vigilantly, so that the Arabs would not attack. By morning, the reinforcements of the Australian soldiers arrived to the camp, which helped the Turks peacefully surrender. The Arabs eventually retreated, cursing the British and the Turks for their unexpected cooperation.



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