Soldiers’ protest against World War I


This video says about itself:

Early in World War [I] soldiers on both sides were trapped in muddy trenches, exposed to the cold damp winter weather, sniper shots and deadly machine guns.

But in 1914 something extraordinary happened. Defying all the rules about fraternising with the enemy, soldiers from both sides in the southern Ypres [sic; in Belgium] region of France, temporarily put aside their weapons and met in No Man’s Land in a celebrated act of Christmas goodwill. Soldiers on both sides realised that they had more in common with each other than with the leaders of their countries who sent them out to fight each other.

I first learnt of this incident through a musical stage play, “Oh, What a Lovely War,” which was later made into a film. The story has been retold many times, but nowhere better than in this wonderful song, written in 1984 by American folksinger, John McCutcheon.

German crimes in World War I: here.

George Monbiot on World War I: here.

Neil Faulkner on World War I: here.

Monument for WWI Deserters: here.

First World War [I] mass grave to be excavated: here.

The deaths of Harry Patch and Henry Allingham, the last surviving World War I veterans, brought forth much emotion: here.

Henri Barbusse on WW I: here.

8 thoughts on “Soldiers’ protest against World War I

  1. The Last Act of Harry Patch

    Wednesday 19 August 2009

    Edited by John Rety

    by Andy Croft

    “The noblest of all the generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten.”
    – Gordon Brown

    “We go to gain a little patch of ground/That hath in it no profit but the name.”
    – Hamlet

    “War is organised murder and nothing else.”
    – Harry Patch

    His murder was arranged at Ypres
    With half a million other men,
    But now he’s dead, the simpering vipers

    Come crawling out from Number 10
    To bury him with loud laudation

    And hymns to reconciliation –
    The poisonous, forked-tongued response
    Of those who tried to kill him once,
    Who justify each round of killing

    From Langemarck to Afghanistan,
    Then shed a tear for one old man.

    It’s hard to say which is more chilling.
    These snakes are deaf to what he said.
    There’s nothing else. And now he’s dead.

    Andy Croft writes a monthly poetry column in the Morning Star and has published seven books of poetry

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/culture/well-versed/The-Last-Act-of-Harry-Patch

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