Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peace In No Man's Land

On Sunday 28 June 1914 Bosnian assassins attacked the motorcade of Austrian Archduke anarchists Franz Ferdinand. The first attempt was foiled by the Hapsburg heir deflecting a diabolical device. His bodyguards strongly recommended seeking safety, however Franz Ferdinand insisted on a hospital visit to see bystanders injured by the bomb. His driver took a wrong turn and nineteen year-old Gavrilo Princip stepped out of the crowd and fatally wounded the archduke and his wife with a Browning .32 pistol. Within weeks massive armies mobilized across Europe. In August Germany invaded Belgium, routing the French and British troops. The Emperor's troops were stopped 43 miles short of Paris a month later and after the Battle of Ypres millions of soldiers on the Western Front occupied two opposing sets of trenches stretching hundreds of miles from the Channel to the Swiss border. The deadly stalemate continued into December without any end in sight. Peace feelers were rejected by the High Commands of the Axis and Allies. The daily grind of blood, sweat, and tears abated with the approach of Christmas and hundreds of thousands of soldiers declared an unofficial truce on December 24. Germans and British soldiers met in no man's land. Shared carols were sung in both languages. Fallen comrades were retrieved from the shattered battle ground. The truce continued past Christmas, but military commanders recognized the danger of fraternization and prohibited any repeat of the Christmas peace for the rest of the War to end all wars. I myself am having a truce in Fort Greene and wish everyone peace and love. It's my gift to the world. Peace, brothers and sisters.

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