WWI Christmas Truce musical in Chisholm Dec. 2

British and German soldiers mingle during the unofficial Christmas truce of 1914.

British and German soldiers mingle during the unofficial Christmas truce of 1914.

War is hell. But the kind of hell seen in The Great War, now known as World War I, is hard to understand today.

See, there are terrible wars in our times, but they are fought with an understanding of what modern wars are. In WWI, soldiers were sent to battlefields trained for old wars without machine guns, without aerial bombs, without poison gas or WMDs. By the tens of millions they were killed by all of those things. Armies entering the war were similar to the Union and Confederate forces in the U.S. Civil War. Armies leaving the war resembled the ones that existed at the end of the 20th Century.

Further, even more than most wars, it could be argued that the conflict was essentially an economic and political game of king of the hill. Who would rule Europe? Who would profit most from trade and colonies in the 20th Century. Except in language, soldiers fighting on either side had more in common with each other than they did with their leaders.

Where is hope in such times? One hundred years later and I can only taste a small iota of the despair of this war, and it consumes my senses if I let it. Perhaps, however, there is enduring hope in the fact that from the forge of these horrors, moments of peace did appear.

AIC-800x500On Wednesday, Dec. 2, the musical “All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914” will be performed at the Chisholm High School Auditorium on Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range.

The production is a seasonal traveling show produced by Theater Latte Da of Minneapolis, written and directed by Peter Rothstein, with musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takagh.

Tickets will be sold at the door. The cost is $7 for adults, $3 for children 12 & Under, and a maximum cost of $20 for a family.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 was remarkable for its spontaneity. Men of both sides across the eastern front decided to stop fighting on Christmas Eve. For several hours, in some (certainly not all) areas, Allied and Central Powers soldiers mingled in no-man’s land, exchanging gifts and singing Christmas songs.

It was never repeated again throughout the long war. Officers saw to that. Such behavior was far too conducive to peace.

Here is a video showing what “All is Calm” looks and sounds like:

All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 from Theater Latte Da on Vimeo.

My history-loving son and I are planning a trip to Chisholm for this. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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