Soccer Tournament Emulates WWI Christmas Truce

By Lidman, Melanie | National Catholic Reporter, January 2, 2015 | Go to article overview

Soccer Tournament Emulates WWI Christmas Truce


Lidman, Melanie, National Catholic Reporter


HAIFA, ISRAEL * It was Christmas Eve 1914. Soldiers were dug deep into the trenches of World War I across Europe. The hope that the war would be over by Christmas disappeared as the temperatures dropped across the Western Front, and a sense of despair settled over the soldiers.

And then, on Christmas Eve, strange things began to happen. On a few battlefields, the Germans decorated their front line with Christmas trees and candles. Melodies of carols began to drift from the British camp, loud enough for the Germans to hear, and some of them joined in.

When the sun rose, the soldiers at these battle sites spontaneously and informally agreed to a daylong truce.

Soldiers emerged from the trenches and walked tentatively into the no man's land between their front lines. They exchanged gifts and jokes with their counterparts, swapping cigarettes and rations. Someone produced a soccer ball, and soon there was a British-German informal soccer game. The story of the Christmas Truce is a popular holiday story in Europe, highlighting a moment of hope in a dark and dreary war.

Across Europe, a number of countries have organized events to commemorate

the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce. In Belgium, they had re-enactments, complete with soccer games featuring teams from the German and Welsh armies. Prince William dedicated a statue honoring the truce at the National Memorial Arboretum, and Belgium also hosted a soccer tournament for youth from across Europe.

To bring the message of the Christmas Truce to the world outside Europe. British consulates in 25 countries around the world organized soccer matches. The counterparts at the German embassies sometimes joined in the games at consulates in Tunisia, Japan, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Cyprus and the United States, among others.

In Israel, a youth soccer competition captured the true spirit of the Christmas Truce as Matthew Gould, the British ambassador to Israel. oversaw a tournament of more than 200 Arab and Jewish students from the Haifa region of northern Israel on Dec. 15.

"Just for a short moment, the (soldiers] put all their differences to one side to find a spark of shared humanity," Gould said as the kids took the field. "Jewish, Arab and Druze are coming together here to play football, which breaks down barriers between commun ides. It is a really lovely way to remember what happened 100 years ago."

In Israel, the Christmas Truce soccer tournament was especially poignant. coming on the heels of the summer war in Gaza and the ongoing violence and terror attacks concentrated in Jerusalem. Relationships between Jews and Arabs are at one of the lowest points in the past decade and show little signs of improving.

"Right now, we're not just in a crisis situation, we are in a total and utter collapse," said Zouheir Bahloul. a well-known Arab-Israeli soccer announcer on Israel Radio. "Here, we have an island of equality, and we need to develop projects like this ... especially at this age. This is when we can change the next generation."

A number of professional soccer players from Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv teams also joined the tournament in support of the concept of peace and tolerance through sport.

"In the current situation, I think sport can unite anew the different populations in Israel," said Mahran Radi, an Arab-Israeli who plays centerfield with Maccabi Tel Aviv. "There is no easy or correct way to do this, but soccer is the most popular thing in the world. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Soccer Tournament Emulates WWI Christmas Truce
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.