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One Hundred Years Ago – The World War I Christmas Truce

Christmas Truce 1914, as seen by the Illustrated London News.

The Illustrated London News’s illustration of the Christmas Truce: “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches”

In December 1914 conditions for soldiers on both sides of No Man’s Land in Flanders were dreadful – water logged trenches, mud, cold rain, and dead bodies in various states of decomposition lying unburied in the land between the lines. Out of this misery came the Christmas Truce, a truce that evolved from the lower ranks upward. Earlier, Pope Benedict XV had asked for a Christmas cease-fire, but both sides rejected his request.

Both the German and English troops had received Christmas packages, some from families and friends and others, official gifts from their governments. The English soldiers received “Princess Mary boxes”: metal boxes engraved with an outline of the princess, daughter of King George V. These gift containers were filled with butterscotch and chocolate, tobacco (cigarettes for the soldiers and cigars for officers), a picture of Princess Mary and a greeting from King George V, “May God protect you and bring you safely home.” Germans received their gifts from Kaiser Wilhelm II. Each soldier received a meerschaum pipe and their officers received cigars. The German troops were also given small Christmas pine trees with candles and decorations. And by Christmas Eve the rain had stopped and skies were clear.

Thus a sense of goodwill had spread through the trenches by Christmas Eve (and Weintraub, p. 3, explains, “… the ordinary British soldier had no strong feelings about fighting the Germans …”); in one area Germans sent a chocolate cake to the nearby English soldiers, accompanied by a request for a truce so that the Germans could celebrate their captain’s birthday. They planned a concert for that evening and would place candle-lighted trees on the parapets of their trenches. The English accepted the German proposal and offered tobacco as a gift. At 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve the Germans began to sing; both sides applauded each song and the English were invited to join the Germans in singing.

On Christmas Eve at Lille the British Royal Flying Corps flew over the German airfield and dropped a well-padded Christmas pudding. The following day, a German pilot bombed the English with a bottle of rum.

On Christmas day, soldiers exchanged newspapers, cigars and cigarettes; held joint religious services in No Man’s Land; buried their dead; and talked to each other in English and broken English (few English soldiers spoke German, but many of the Germans spoke at least some English, having worked in England before the war). Soldiers exchanged food, sang, took photographs of each other and played soccer. They also drained and repaired the trenches, repaired wire entanglements and brought ammunition and other supplies to their front lines.

On the day after Christmas, Boxing Day in England and St. Stephen’s Day for the Germans, some areas continued to observe a truce, but generally hostilities were reluctantly resumed. The war, which both sides had expected to be brief, continued into 1918. There were no more Christmas truces. But for one short time there was “Peace on earth and good will toward men.” Today, a wooden cross set in a concrete base surrounded by poppies that bloom in season commemorates the Christmas Truce.

On December 12, 2014, the Duke of Cambridge attended an English dedication ceremony for a monument to the Christmas Truce. The monument is located in the National Memorial Arboretum, a 150 acre site in Alrewas, Staffordshire. The memorial is funded by the Football Remembers partners; it is part of a series of events being held in December.

Dig Deeper
For a comprehensive examination of the truce see Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub.

Articles:
In December 1914, German and British Soldiers Took a Brief Christmas Holiday from World War I” by Leslie Stuart Carter.
Christmas Truce” by Peter Hart.
The Christmas Truce” by Kristof Grievas.

For general information about World War I, see any of the numerous histories in Falvey’s collections. A few are listed below.
Almanac of World War I by David F. Burg.
World War I: A History
World War I: Encyclopedia
The First World War by Ian Cawood.

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The Highlighter: Discover Falvey’s Many Study Spaces

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Need a place for individual or group study? This video shows how to discover Falvey’s many study spaces. (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.

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‘Cat in the Stacks: Stacks Aversion

CAT-STAX

I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


 

Arthur

Shortly before Thanksgiving break, I took out two books from Falvey—the first books I’ve taken out from our library all semester. I guess that’s not super scandalous; I’ve been busy reading the books I actually bought for the semester, and I’ve mostly used online databases for journal articles for all my supplementary research. Now that it’s paper-writing time, I went for a swim in the stacks.

But this is kind of scandalous: as an undergraduate English major, I never took a book out of the library.

Not once.

Seriously

If you’re cringing, I’m sorry. But if you’re embarrassed for me, don’t be. I did very well.

Still, even though I didn’t use the library in the traditional sense, every single resource I used was provided to me through the library—library subscriptions, interlibrary loans.

But I don’t advocate a life without the stacks! My stacks aversion meant I did five times more work than I actually had to by draining databases dry instead of checking out dozens of relevant books. And I missed out on so many incredible research avenues because I was too, what, lazy? Afraid of asking a librarian for help?

Why didn’t I browse the stacks? I had all sorts of excuses.

Wah, it’s outdated, wah! It’s not. I just took a book out about digital culture in World of Warcraft. This isn’t grandma’s local library.

Wah, it’s hard! It’s not. Falvey’s online catalog even has maps. The circulation desk has signs to point you where you go about checking out and returning materials and your Wildcard does the rest. I’m partially allergic to approaching Front Desks, and I survived.

Wah, I don’t want to leave my room! Well, I still don’t wanna leave my room.

But I did! just took out three awesome books on video games (and if you want them, too bad. You’ll have to wait until the end of January because I’m doing super important research. But then I promise I will stop monopolizing the video game holdings. Maybe.)

BOOKS

 


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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The Highlighter: Who is the Ultimate Fact-Checker?

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Need to check your facts before turning in that big paper? This video shows how to contact a University librarian: the ultimate fact-checker. (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.

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2015 World Meeting of Families coming to Phila.

2014-12-01 09.23.52

The confirmed announcement of the Pope’s participation in the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia has created a lot of buzz lately. What is the World Meeting of Families, who are its patron saints, and what are patron saints? News articles, even from credible sources, are usually too short to provide many details. And the Internet, unfortunately, delivers a great deal of misinformation about saints and the Catholic Church.

DSC_00031-300x245The New Catholic Encyclopedia, however, in print and as an eBook provides an excellent example of an authoritative source of information. The library’s print edition is in the Falvey West stacks (call No. BX841 .N44 2003). You can also search the online edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, because like many (but not all) reference books, its content is now electronically accessible through Falvey’s web page. Links for online version and eBooks are also embedded in the Library’s catalog record for the item. Find the holdings record by using the online search engine for discovering it in the library’s catalog.

For authoritative information on the 2015 World Meeting of Families’ two patron saints—Saint Pope John Paul II and Saint Gianna Beretta Molla—you can either rely on a credible online source, such as the Vatican Website in English for highlights, or search the Falvey Library Catalog or core databases on the Theology and Religious Studies Subject Guide for citations to published, academic sources of in-depth background information, and on their thought and writings. Searching by subject will achieve optimal results: for the first one use JOHN PAUL II, POPE, 1920-2005, and for the other use BERETTA MOLLA, GIANNA, SAINT, 1922-1962.

So, what is a patron saint? The New Catholic Encyclopedia says that “saints came to be regarded as the special advocates and intercessors.” Sacred places, solemn events, and even causes and occupations have, over the years, become associated with a particular patron or patroness. Therefore a patron saint, who is very much alive in heaven, is called upon to be an advocate and asked to pray for us here on earth, particularly on certain occasions.

 

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Saint Gianna was a twentieth-century Italian doctor and also a mother. She risked her life for the sake of her unborn child, and died in 1962, rather than terminating the pregnancy in an effort to save her own life. She is a martyr, which is a witness, to the importance of respecting life from conception to natural death. Her husband and children attended her canonization ceremony in 2004. She has become the patroness of mothers, unborn children, healthcare workers, professional women, and the pro-life movement.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 09.14.35

For more information about the World Meeting of Families 2015 in Philadelphia, visit the official website.

 

 


darren_edArticle by Darren G. Poley, Scholarly Outreach team leader and theology librarian. 

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Upcoming Chicago-Style Workshops

chicago-manual-of-stylesmallAre you confused by the different formats required by Chicago-style for footnotes and bibliographies?  Are you unsure about how and when to use “ibid.”?  –  Answers to your questions are just around the corner.

Come to Falvey Memorial Library for a quick introduction to Chicago-style rules for footnotes and bibliography.  Sessions will be held in Falvey 204 in the second-floor Learning Commons. For more information, contact history liaison librarian Jutta Seibert (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu).

Thursday, December 4:     4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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“Very Short Introductions”: Concise Information, Perfect for the Train Ride Home

GIRL TRAIN trThis time of year, every minute counts – especially with finals less than two weeks after we return from Thanksgiving holiday – hashtag: for real, dude! Fortunately, the Library has resources designed to pack a lot of information into a little bit of time. So instead of perusing Buzzfeed on the train ride home, buzz through one or two Very Short Introductions to get a head start on crunch time!

Sometimes we need background information for a speech or project. Maybe, we need to become more familiar with a subject before seeking more, in-depth, scholarly information. Sometimes, we just need a very short introduction. That’s where Oxford University Press’s “Very Short Introductions,” published since 1995, can help. Over 200 of these concise, pithy “pocket-portable introductory lectures” (Guardian Review) covering such topics as archaeology, arts & architecture, biography, business & management, economics & finance history, language & linguistics, law, literature, mathematics & sciences, medicine & health, music, sociology, philosophy, politics, psychology & neuroscience, religion & bibles and the social sciences can be found at Falvey.

merrillepost2

Noted authors in many fields have contributed to these short successful volumes about the world. This series has spawned literary events and lectures on both sides of the Atlantic. So, are you game? Just seeking leadership, or logic? Seeking the more spiritual leadership? Try short introductions to the New TestamentAugustine, or IslamKant, you say? We’ve got that too. Everything from the mystical to the mind bending, consciousness to Christian ethics, from American politics to chaos theory, from relativity to Tocqueville. And we’d bet nine of out ten of you would want to shorten statistics!

However, as a prominent reviewer described one of the series titles “The brevity of this volume is both its strength and its weakness.” Judge for yourself. Find out more about “Very Short Introductions” (VSI) at You Tube. Or learn more from one of the VSI study guides at Oxford University Press.  Better yet, check one out at Falvey.

SteinMerrill Stein is team leader of the Assessment team and liaison to the Department of Political Science.

 

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The Economics of the Great War

The economic challenges wrought by the First World War were many and wide ranging, if not structurally lasting, spanning agriculture, employment and labor, manufacturing, transportation, trade and public finance. Scholarship on these topics is robust, presented in several formats, and written from various national viewpoints and scholarly approaches.

Christy, Howard Chandler, 1873-1952. Fight or buy bonds : Third Liberty Loan.. Boston, Mass.. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc325/. Accessed November 18, 2014.

For interesting artifacts highlighting the role the liberty and victory bonds played in financing the war in the United States, see the University of Texas Digital Collection of posters or the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs. If you prefer an auditory approach, you can check out the sheet music for jingles written to encourage sales for the Library of Congress.

An example of a primary source in our collection is a book by John Maynard Keynes. Keyes is an important macroeconomic theorist who was in attendance at the Paris Peace conference, and argued against harsh reparations in the Economic Consequences of Peace, which is available as an open source ebook on Project Gutenberg or – for those who long for the tactile pleasures of the printed page – in our Special Collections.

Remember the glad of libertyLeading economic scholars are in the process of compiling a collection of essays on the economics of the Great War for its centennial. To date, the VOX:  WWI site has articles on how economic factors influenced the outcome of the war, opining that the economic policies that worked  during the war lead to later policy missteps, exploring the fallout the economic crisis of 1907 had on the initiation of hostilities in 1914 and measuring the economic cost of the war for Great  Britain. A nice succinct summary of the economic history of WWI is posted by Hugh Rockoff al leading economic historian on the Economic History Associations’s website.

Airplane, Possibly World War I Fighter Plane, 1916. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-D418-407 DLC.

For an understanding of how industry ramped up during the First World War to manufacture needed munitions, trucks, and tanks and planes for the Allied forces, turn to the War Industries Board publication, American Industry in War. Another insider perspective is provided by Grosvenor B. Clarkson, a civilian member of the Council of National Defense, in the book Industrial  America in the World War:  The Strategy Behind the Line, 1917-1918. If you prefer historical perspective, pick up Conner’s  The National War Labor Board: Stability, Social Justice and the Voluntary State in WWI or  Cuff’s The War Industries Board:  Business Government Relations During WWI.

Any examination of the role of labor in the United States has to include readings from Marxist historian Philip Foner. Volume 7 of his History of the Labor Movement in the United States covers Labor and World War I, 1914-1918. For a counterpoint read Larson’s Labor and Foreign Policy:  Gompers, the AFL and the First World War, 1914-1918  Army, Industry and Labor in Germany: 1914-1918 by Feldman provides insight into the labor and industrial policies of the enemy. For an interesting thematic discussion of the labor and home fronts around the globe see Civilians in a World at War by Proctor.

To find additional resource on economic aspects of WWI, search our catalog, Historical Abstracts, American History & Life and EconLit.


Images used in order of display:

Christy, Howard Chandler, 1873-1952. Fight or buy bonds : Third Liberty Loan.. Boston, Mass.. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc325/. Accessed November 18, 2014.

United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Publicity Bureau. Remember! the flag of liberty, support it! : buy U.S. government bonds, 3rd. Liberty Loan.. New York. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29409/. Accessed November 18, 2014.

Airplane, Possibly World War I Fighter Plane, 1916. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-D418-407 DLC.


RS4522_FML164_LindaHauck_003_EDITResources selected by Linda Hauck, subject librarian for business.

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The Highlighter: Use the Catalog’s Filters to Quickly Find Journals

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Use the catalog’s filters to quickly find every journal of a particular topic, genre or language in Falvey’s collection. This video shows how to perform this advanced searching technique.

(Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.

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Upcoming Chicago-Style Workshops

chicago-manual-of-stylesmallAre you confused by the different formats required by Chicago-style for footnotes and bibliographies? Are you unsure about how and when to use “ibid.”? – Answers to your questions are just around the corner.

Come to Falvey Memorial Library for a quick introduction to Chicago-style rules for footnotes and bibliography. Sessions will be held in Falvey 204 in the second-floor Learning Commons. For more information, contact history liaison librarian Jutta Seibert (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu).

Wednesday, Nov. 19—4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Thursday, Dec. 4—4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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Last Modified: November 17, 2014