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Germany and UK to recreate WWI footie truce
Alfred Anderson, last British Christmas Truce veteran, died 2005. Photo: DPA

Germany and UK to recreate WWI footie truce

Published: 10 Feb 2013 11:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Feb 2013 11:50 GMT+01:00

German children may be part of Britain's plans to recreate the 1914 Christmas truce football matches between British and German troops as part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Junior defence minister Andrew Murrison, who is in charge of overseeing the commemorations, told The Guardian newspaper that it was among the initiatives in the early stages of planning.

"Football has a particular part to play because of the totemic significance of the Christmas truce in 1914," the international security strategy minister said.

Children from Britain and Germany might be involved in a match or a tournament on the battlefields where soldiers put down their weapons to play football in the no man's land between their respective trenches.

Soldiers exchanged gifts and shook hands. They sang carols, shared cigarettes and swapped tunic buttons.

"We have been in touch with Football Association and the National Children's Football (Alliance) to see how this can be done. I know they are enthused and have already clocked the fact that other countries are thinking along similar lines."

He said staging a match in the Flanders fields of Belgium and northeast France was "a no-brainer" in terms of reaching younger people.

"It is clear the Christmas truce is going to be commemorated in a very significant way," he said. "It had no real relevance to the outcome of the war but at that deeply, intensely, personal level, it is something that people really do latch on to."

The British government has set aside €60 million for the World War I commemorations. Alfred Anderson, the last-known British veteran of the Christmas Truce, died aged 109 in November 2005.

AFP/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

22:16 February 10, 2013 by bellsucks
From what I have seen from European Football Teams, I doubt the games will de as civil as when they were arch enemies.
06:09 February 11, 2013 by RainerL
I remeber wathcing a Movie on this event. I could not help thinking. The poor Buggas!!! A moment of human intelect and decency even if only for a moment in their time. The only after that to end up having to slaughter each other. How pathetic such actions where and yet these Soldiers where expected to do so regardless of what they felt toward their fellow Human Being.
10:55 February 11, 2013 by Englishted
I can't help wondering what will be done in Germany to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of "the great war " ?.

When it falls on the 11 hour of the 11 day of the 11 month or 11o-clock on the 11th November 2018 .

Will Germany be starting it's traditional party or will they have a little respect for the millions who died in vain ?.
10:54 February 12, 2013 by Sastry.M
To commemorate the bygone soul sympathetic event of a short while, let the Germans participate in the event if invited and also be prepared to foot the bill of costs if any untoward incident mars the spirit of celebration and results in damages involving monetary loss, signing the payment possibly at the venue of Versailles.
17:54 February 15, 2013 by agbjr
Read "Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce" by Stanley Weintraub, The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, New York, 2001. This actual event has been largely ignored by history teachers, editors of history texts, and many serious historians themselves. If you are a serious student of history I urge you to research this spontaneous truce ... and prepare to be shocked by what you find.
23:13 March 3, 2013 by edrob357
"If the Germans are invited"- it'll be a bit difficult to recreate the footie match if they aren't invited. As for footing the bill for any untoward incident- it's the British supporters that start riots and wreck places, not the Germans. If you read the whole history book you'll find out that it was the Germans who initiated the Christmas truce, not the Allies and in the best recorded game, the Germans who won. A little less arrogance might be in order when making comments.
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