World War I, Christmas Truce: Topics in Chronicling America
In 1914, widespread unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front led to song and goodwill from the trenches. This guide provides access to materials related to the "Christmas Truce” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
Following months of trench warfare, unofficial ceasefires erupt along the Western Front during Christmas of 1914. Climbing from their trenches onto battle-scarred "no man’s land," British and German soldiers shake hands, swap cigarettes and jokes, and even play football. "We all have wives and children…we’re just the same kind of men as you are," one German soldier said to Philadelphia's Evening Public Ledger newspaper. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
December 12, 1914
Pope Benedict XV fails to arrange a truce among warring European nations during the Christmas holidays.
January - March 1914
Word reaches America that an unofficial “Christmas truce” was celebrated in trenches on the Western Front.
Americans are disheartened when no such spontaneous armistice occurs the following Christmas.