2014-12-22

Dec 22. The Christmas Truce seen through French eyes.

Letter from Léon Pothie, Christmas 1914
Léon Pothie served in the French army on the Western Front in the First World War. Among the many letters that his family still have is a particularly moving account of the fraternization between French and German soldiers at Christmas 1914 (the Christmas Truce). Pothie describes how the soldiers sang and exchanged cigars and sweets and he comments that: “it was Christmas for us and for them too” (C’était noël pour nous et pour eux aussi). He concludes by observing that “War is funny. In a few hours we will be shooting at each other!” (C’est drôle la guerre dans quelques heures on tirera les uns sur les autres!).
Léon Pothie ‘died for France’ on the 14th of 1916 at Tahure (Marne). His grand-daughter, Mme Marie-Thérèse Duval, shared his story and made his Christmas letter available under a CC BY-SA licence. To read the original story (in French) and see the rest of the letter, visit the Europeana 1914-1918 site.
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This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.